Content is King in the IWB game.
In fact it's the focus of SMART's latest ed-compass newsletter boasting a partnership with Cambridge University. SMART will soon be offering a new form of educational content by selling a subscription based search engine called SMART Learning Marketplace aka Global Grid for Learning (GGfL), a learning object repository that will allow teachers to search for content such as images, video, and text to build lessons. It's powered by a tech company called Atomic Assets and funded by Cambridge University. The content is coming from a collection of publishers linked with Cambridge University Press, and SMART is the sole US Distributor.
I took the SMART Learning Marketplace for a test drive, and saw some stuff from UK Learn Online, Bridgeman Education, and Cambridge-Hitachi, a joint company bewtween Hitachi and Cambridge that makes IWB software.
Ninja's Feedback on the SMART Learning Marketplace/GGfL:
So far the SMART Learning Marketplace looks a little lack luster, more of gimmick to "ooh and ahhh" district administrators. To be straight up, it looks like you're paying for a filtered and weaker version of google, just so you can quickly find that graphic of the Louisiana Purchase you so desperately need (if they even have it: see below).
SMART's Marketplace vs. Google Images
keyword "human heart"
Results = 72 results
Quality (a lot of the content I was NOT looking for)
Cost - Paid Subscription (estimating $100+/ month)
Terms & Conditions. No copyright infringement aka you won't get sued.
Results = 3,770,000 results
Quality = (Excellent all sorts of images and diagrams)
Cost = Free
Terms & Conditions. Are you seriously worried about being busted for using an image in your lesson? don't let big brother scare you.
I think we can safely say google took that round. Save your money for professional development folks...
UK Pricing (SMART's pricing might be cheaper, but can be higher since they have to earn a profit)
This is the official GGfL site
This is SMART's Marketplace /GGFL site (same thing, just embedded)