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Educational Website Idea


Guest Jon Byron
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Guest Jon Byron

Dear all,

I am a teacher and an asp.net website programmer.

I have developed an idea that I use with my students and am looking for someone who may be interested in developing/marketing it.

Please take a look at http://www.webs4schools.net/

It is far from complete but you should get some of the possibilities.

kind regards,

jack

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Guest Jon Byron

Hi,

I should have added...

If you register then you can make your own webpage and weblog instantly.

If you login with teacher/teacher you will see the functionality that a teacher could have.

They are able to add to the help and tutorial sections in real time.

The idea is collaborative.

Thanks

Jack

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This looks an interesting project. You say:

We are looking for possible collaboration with technically minded and up to date schools, college, universities companies or individuals.

The site could either be a commercial venture or offered free as a learning tool to all. This would require backing.

It seems you have yet to develop an economic model for your venture. This has been a problem for all those teachers who have created websites (mine started in September, 1997). I have managed to make it pay but that is mainly because I started so early. I think you will have difficulty starting in 2004. The problem is that most of what you appear to be offering is available for free on the web. It is difficult to persuade people to pay for these services.

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It seems you have yet to develop an economic model for your venture. This has been a problem for all those teachers who have created websites (mine started in September, 1997). I have managed to make it pay but that is mainly because I started so early. I think you will have difficulty starting in 2004. The problem is that most of what you appear to be offering is available for free on the web. It is difficult to persuade people to pay for these services.

Heh! Do you mean you actually earn MONEY from your educational website? Sounds like a novel idea! The ICT4LT website that I maintain gets 600-700 hits per day, but it doesn't make any money. The main problem with ICT resources on the Web is that everyone expects them to be free. I'm thinking of giving up website maintenance and becoming a plumber instead - have you ever heard of a plumber doing anything for free?

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Heh! Do you mean you actually earn MONEY from your educational website? Sounds like a novel idea! The ICT4LT website that I maintain gets 600-700 hits per day, but it doesn't make any money. The main problem with ICT resources on the Web is that everyone expects them to be free. I'm thinking of giving up website maintenance and becoming a plumber instead - have you ever heard of a plumber doing anything for free?

Resources for any purpose you imagine (and several you can't!) are out there on the web somewhere, I think most resources on the net are free or advertising-supported (free as speech is free or free as beer is free!)

If I produce a worksheet for my class it is freely available for anyone who wants to use it.

I don't know if knowledge could survive if "intellectual property rights" became the be-all and end-all although of course I sympathise with anyone who is trying to make a living out of something as harmless (?) as disseminating knowledge.

Copyright died the day html was invented. (That's deep that is, I'll send it in to the Readers' Digest!)

Derek McMillan

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Jack

I believe there is a market for programmers in asp or php who can construct useful templates for teachers who are non ICT specialists to upload, share files, create pages, write quizzes etc, and there have been a numbers of such ventures which have been quite successful. I may be able to put you in touch with a businessman/teacher who may be interested in developing your idea - pm me and I'll send details.

I think this is quite different from making money out of an educational web site or have I got the wrong end of the stick?

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Derek wrote:

Copyright died the day html was invented.

There's a thriving new profession emerging, namely the "copyright bounty hunter". MediaForce is a typical example of of copyright bounty hunting business.

Breaches of copyright on the Web are easy to track down. I've found dozens of such breaches at schools' websites and LEA resources sites - quite by chance, not by actively seeking them. Fortunately, however, I'm a nice guy and I write to the webmasters advising them to remove copyright material before they get caught by the copyright owner. But some people are not in it for the money. I found this at a website in the US:

"I've always had people come up to me with examples of friends or neighbors who have been turned in for using Walt Disney graphics and were fined three to five thousand dollars. Many teachers feel they don't have to bother with the copyright law because the "copyright police" aren't going into their classroom to check on them. However, the most common way that teachers end up in court over copyright violation is when a disgruntled employee turns in the teacher down the hall. The "copyright bounty-hunters" are out in force--and, yes, they may very well be in your school." http://lserver.aea14.k12.ia.us/TechStaffDev/copyright.html

I can cite a real case involving my own business, whereby a copyright bounty hunter (probably a parent) reported my local school to the Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) for distributing software produced by my business to pupils at the school. What the bounty hunter did not know, however, was that my business had an agreement with the school, subject to a licence fee, whereby the school was allowed to distribute the software to pupils. I had to write to FAST explaining the situation.

When the money ceases to roll in from the software that I write I know that I can always find an alternative source of income...

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Guest Jon Byron

Thanks for these replies.

If it could be commercially viable then why not.

I do think it is unique in so much as its interactivity.

Other sites do offer similar but always come with advertising, templates or such.

The future use of the internet in education is undoubted and I am trying to ascertain what and how to provide for this.

If anyone knows of a school who would and could test this site please let me know.

Many thanks.

Jack

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I was being contentious when I said "Copyright died the day HTML was invented" and Graham replied to me thrice. Exhortations to pupils to turn in teachers for copyright theft have been made by FAST. Personally I have lost interest in copying Micros*** when the Open Source alternatives are so much better ;)

I continue to believe that copyright has become problematical.

I wonder for example what Disney do with the publicity fallout from millionaires prosecuting kids who want to put Winnie the Pooh on their websites. I notice btw that all of the merchandise at the shop at Pooh corner (which is in Hartfield within walking distance of Pooh bridge) is copyright to the Disney corporation - globalisation with a vengeance! It makes you wonder whether playing poohsticks is legal without paying a fee to Disney ;)

These bloodsucking global corporations are only going to get themselves a bad reputation! And bounty hunters....did they learn nothing from the fate of Boba Fett

;)

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Derek writes:

I continue to believe that copyright has become problematical.

That's an understatement! ;)

There's a difference, however, between a major corporation such as Disney and free-lance authors (often former teachers) trying to make an honest living from writing coursebooks or developing websites.

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There's a difference, however, between a major corporation such as Disney and free-lance authors (often former teachers) trying to make an honest living from writing coursebooks or developing websites.

Yes.

However for some mysterious reason the court system seems to favour the million dollar lawyers employed by the corporations. Laws which are sold as protecting writers and artists end up protecting people who are not short of a bob or two.

A good example of this of course is Microsoft which defends its own intellectual property rights to the last ditch and hires expensive legal teams whenever it is alleged they have infringed somebody else's.

Have a nice day.

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Derek writes:

However for some mysterious reason the court system seems to favour the million dollar lawyers employed by the corporations. Laws which are sold as protecting writers and artists end up protecting people who are not short of a bob or two.

This is the problem with copyright law. Back in the 1980s I was the victim of a blatant breach of copyright. I had written a program for the BBC microcomputer and subsequently adapted it for the PC. I was approached by an LEA microcomputer centre that wanted a version of the program for the Archimedes – because the LEA had decided to support only Archimedes computers. I contacted the centre to say that I did not have the resources to reversion the program for the Archimedes but I would be prepared to negotiate with anyone who could take on the job, e.g. I would be happy to receive a royalty from sales of an Archimedes version produced by a third party. This appeared to be the end of the story. I heard nothing further from the microcomputer centre.

Some months later, a friend sent me an Archimedes version of my program, complete with a teacher’s handbook and professionally produced packaging. The producer was the LEA microcomputer centre! However, the name of my program had been changed, and the names of the seven different sections within the program had also been renamed – although they appeared in exactly the same order as the original seven sections. One additional section had been added. The handbook consisted of adaptations of the text that I had written for the original handbook. I immediately contacted several different people at the LEA, who closed ranks, defending the actions of the microcomputer centre. They argued, for example, that I could not copyright an idea and that the microcomputer centre had merely adapted an idea that was well established in the language teaching world. I then contacted FAST, who were completely unhelpful. They said they had no resources to check the code of an Archimedes program for breach of copyright and that I would in any case have to employ a lawyer if I wanted to take legal action against the LEA.

A friend who owned a computer business offered to have a close look at the Archimedes version of the program and concluded that I had a watertight case against the LEA. The program was indeed a blatant rip-off – one of my fudges in the original BBC micro code was still there! I then contacted our family lawyer. He pointed out that, even if I had a watertight case, legal action could be expensive and there was always a risk that I would lose the case, faced by the LEA’s legal heavyweights. So I asked him what I could do. His advice was that I should contact other LEAs, government agencies (e.g. BECTA and CILT), professional associations, friends and software houses, informing them about the LEA’s behaviour and asking them to spread the word. I took his advice. Within a matter of months the LEA’s name was mud and they were ostracised from presenting the program at national conferences and workshops. They found it very difficult finding anyone willing to publicise their version of my program.

The rip-off version of my program quickly disappeared into oblivion. The latest upgrade of my own version is still doing very well...

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  • 3 months later...
Thanks for these replies.

If it could be commercially viable then why not.

I do think it is unique in so much as its interactivity.

Other sites do offer similar but always come with advertising, templates or such.

The future use of the internet in education is undoubted and I am trying to ascertain what and how to provide for this.

If anyone knows of a school who would and could test this site please let me know.

Many thanks.

Jack

Dear Jon,

I think the battleground is not on the technical ability to create web based resources or even to develop portfolios, but to have a model that links this activity to sustainably improving learning standards in an individual school.

I've justed posted on the IT section a longer reply that might be of interest to you.

I think John has a valid point in trying to make it pay.

You are wellcome to post your appeal online at:

www.educationalists.co.uk

Best wishes with this.

David

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