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Educational Software Thread, Crystal ICT Channel in Technical; One of my schools have ditched their Espresso subscription and gone for this instead. They are not really the same ...
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    conehead's Avatar
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    Crystal ICT Channel

    One of my schools have ditched their Espresso subscription and gone for this instead. They are not really the same kind of product, but they are both sort of subscription based on-line content, so there's a kind of logic to the ICT Co-Ord's spending the money on something different that may bring something new.

    I'm not sure about the licence issues regarding the Espresso content that is still accessable on the (but presumably no longer updated) cachepilot box.

    Any thoughts?


    Sherston.com

    The Sherston site looks very useful if you like the titles like Crystal Rainforest and don't currently have a good range of software like this, but I am a bit wary of the model where schools pay hundreds of pounds each year subscription, it may be cheaper then site licencing at first but you have no control of the pricing , and in the long term (good Curriculum software gets used forever ) is likely to be more expensive.
    Last edited by conehead; 10th May 2008 at 10:43 AM.

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    We had a demonstration of Espresso a couple of weeks ago, and I was given the clear impression that copyright in all the material was ours, and we could do with it as we pleased; cut and paste it in to our VLE, Powerpoints etc. Whether this extends to using the stuff once your lease has expired is a different matter.
    We are buying into a package whereby they provide us with Linux server (which is ours to keep) which serves the content to desktop and VLE. I think the order was sent off this week so I'll try and check the small print when I've time.

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    contink's Avatar
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    Between three of my schools there's a mix of:
    - Education City in all
    - Espresso in one
    - Crystal ICT Channel in two


    The Crystal ICT channel saved me some headaches when Mission Control and slew of other Sherston programs suddenly stopped working (I'm presuming a winupdate broke something) so in that sense because I'm bought in, the school has saved money rather than having me spend 3 days trying to figure it out. It's OK but unless they really start pushing more content into the system I know my schools are likely to walk away when it comes to renewal time.

    Education City is well discussed so I'll leave that one there.

    As for Espresso, frankly it's a great system but it really works best if the teachers take the time to learn how to use it to full effect and actually plan out the content. That said the kids do enjoy it and I'd say there was a 40% Espresso following within the kids while the others would rather play on Education city if they have some 5 - 10 minutes free time in the ICT lab.

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    conehead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by contink View Post
    B


    The Crystal ICT channel saved me some headaches when Mission Control and slew of other Sherston programs suddenly stopped working (I'm presuming a winupdate broke something) so in that sense because I'm bought in, the school has saved money rather than having me spend 3 days trying to figure it out. It's OK but unless they really start pushing more content into the system I know my schools are likely to walk away when it comes to renewal time.
    I usually use the sherston network install utility on all sherston stuff, but install locally which seems the most bomb proof method ( no cd's or extra network traffic) I

    haven't had problems with Sherston's breaking recently.

    In fact we have been testing the old favourites like Tizzy's Toxbox on Vista and surprisingly all goes pretty smoothly. One of my workmates has knocked up a nice screen re-sizer that is great for these older titles that need a resize to run then don't automatically go back to settings on closing the program.

    I'm not sure how schools are going to be able to walk away once teachers start to use stuff, in my experience once it clicks on how to use something, they like to do the "tricky stuff" like Logo, branching databases and control with the same software year after year.

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    conehead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beeswax View Post
    We had a demonstration of Espresso a couple of weeks ago, and I was given the clear impression that copyright in all the material was ours,
    I'm tempted just to disable the external network address that Espresso use to update the cachebox, so the content on there doesn't "disappear" while I find out the proper position.

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    Quote Originally Posted by conehead View Post
    Any thoughts?
    I'm still waiting for Ode to get out of beta:

    ODE: Little Bits of Learning

    --
    David Hicks

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    contink's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by conehead View Post
    I usually use the sherston network install utility on all sherston stuff, but install locally which seems the most bomb proof method ( no cd's or extra network traffic) I

    haven't had problems with Sherston's breaking recently.
    Well, I haven't a clue what I did or didn't do but Mission Control and a couple of others were network installed and suddenly they are locking up and refusing to work.

    It could be a problem with flash or shockwave (not sure which is which) but I do know that the same issue affected three of my schools and nobody had noticed because they hadn't used it in ages so I couldn't tie down, what or when. I do know it used to work fine...

    In fact we have been testing the old favourites like Tizzy's Toxbox on Vista and surprisingly all goes pretty smoothly. One of my workmates has knocked up a nice screen re-sizer that is great for these older titles that need a resize to run then don't automatically go back to settings on closing the program.
    Now that would be useful

    I'm not sure how schools are going to be able to walk away once teachers start to use stuff, in my experience once it clicks on how to use something, they like to do the "tricky stuff" like Logo, branching databases and control with the same software year after year.
    In fairness all my schools are talking about belt tightening and in amongst that is going to be a hard look at what is and isn't actually being used. I could identify at least 10 pieces of edusoft stuff that simply isn't being used at all and should never have been paid for.

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    Quote Originally Posted by beeswax View Post
    We had a demonstration of Espresso a couple of weeks ago, and I was given the clear impression that copyright in all the material was ours, and we could do with it as we pleased; cut and paste it in to our VLE, Powerpoints etc.
    You are correct to say that Espresso allows you to take its content and use it in school by pasting into Powerpoint, Word, Movie Maker or any program that accepts cut and paste.
    However, that is only an entitlement to use the content. It does not mean that you have copyright (how could you have the copyright?). While you may use the content within your school as you wish, giving the content to another school that does not subscribe is not permitted neither is selling any of the content in any way.
    As for the VLE, you are entitled to use the content in any non-public areas of the VLE.
    I do not really understand why anyone would want to stop their subscription to Espresso. The content appears to be first rate, more content is being developed all the time and the school benefits from fresh up to date material broadcast each week. The company has recently bought out Channel 4 Learning and so now has access to a wealth of new content to re-purpose for educational use in primary and secondary schools. (End of advert!)

  9. 2 Thanks to deerwood:

    contink (11th May 2008), GrumbleDook (11th May 2008)

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    beeswax's Avatar
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    You're right deerwood. I shouldn't have said that we have the copyright (put it down to the strange weather we've been having lately, or pressure of work). My apologies for that mistake.

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    Quote Originally Posted by deerwood View Post
    The company has recently bought out Channel 4 Learning and so now has access to a wealth of new content to re-purpose for educational use in primary and secondary schools. (End of advert!)
    That's worth knowing... Thanks for that nugget.

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    @deerwood

    Thanks for letting us know that Doug, I have to admit a heap of frustration with Channel 4 Learning and their licence models ... the lack of site licences for some products, no MSIs for others ... and a sales team that just don't care as long as they get some money (4 phone calls all resulting in being brushed off with 'if you don't like it then feel free to go elsewhere, but we are sure that teachers like our stuff' attitudes from each sales drone!).

    Strange that we don't buy a lot from them :-D

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    conehead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deerwood View Post
    I do not really understand why anyone would want to stop their subscription to Espresso. The content appears to be first rate, more content is being developed all the time and the school benefits from fresh up to date material broadcast each week. The company has recently bought out Channel 4 Learning and so now has access to a wealth of new content to re-purpose for educational use in primary and secondary schools. (End of advert!)
    Hey don't shoot the messenger I actually agree Espresso is good value for money, I think some schools just don't get enough out of it, once they have subscribed to it. The real technical pain I come across is the old Flash problem where the navagation area on the intro page doesn't always work.

    Are there plans afoot to start offering Espresso built in to Netmedia's VLE now the companies have come together I wonder?

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    conehead's Avatar
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    I think this is the source for the resolution changer I mentioned, resswitch.exe

    ResSwitch & ResCopy v1.24

    In essence, if you knock up a short batch file something like this to change the screen, then launch the application and reset resolution after.

    @Echo Off

    "C:\yourlocation\resswitch.exe 800 600 8 0"

    "C:\Sherston Software\Tizzy's Toybox\tizzy.exe"

    "C:\yourlocation\resswitch.exe 1280 1024 32 0"

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    Re Sherston ICT Channel – sorry if this sounds like a free plug. As a teacher, I am rather impressed with the Sherston site.

    Currently the annual cost of the Sherston ICT channel works out around the same price as a site licence for something like Mission Control or one of their other popular software titles. Admittedly our school did not have any of the software on the channel when we took the subscription.

    From a teaching perspective, I think at the price represents great value considering the number of games and activities you get. Not just Mission Control, but it also includes full versions of Flowbot, Charlie Chimp, Crystal Rainforest, Gomez Returns and the Model Shop to name but a few. It covers a significant chunk of the ICT curriculum for KS1 and KS2.


    We have been using the crystal ICT channel in our school quite heavily since Christmas. Kids use it in their spare time at home and break times too. It has worked seamlessly - I have used it in lessons with classes of 20 and over. We have tried it in Opera, IE and Firefox with no problems whatsoever. Using the Opera browser has proved particularly good as it provides graphical bookmarks for the younger children All the technician had to do was install the latest version of flash.

    Ideally I would like a full online version of the email detectives game and a better branching database. So long as they keep updating the site, we will carry on using it.

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