Do you need an interactive touch screen? (part 1)

This chap is confident that teaching from the front is a jolly good thing….

I work for a company that manufactures touchscreens. It’s an amazing company and it makes extremely cool technology and I love my job.  It’s a bit of sales, a bit of training, a bit of business development, a bit of technical support and other bits besides.

So why write a blog with a title like this? Because if you ask a school the big existential question: ‘Do you need an interactive touch screen?’ and they say “no”, then that is pretty much the end of the conversation, particularly if they have some good reasons to back this up.  Doesn’t matter how cool your swag is, if a school doesn’t want it, then you’re out of the game.

So why complicate things with this question; surely all schools and all classrooms need interactive touch screens?

The reason for posing the question is twofold.

Firstly quite a few of my formative years were spent doing research into ed-tech and one thing you learn doing research is to question everything. So asking big questions like ‘do you really need an interactive touch screen?’ is a powerful thing to ask in the edtech research space, because it challenges orthodox thinking and forces you to think again about the fundamentals of what ed-tech is meant to achieve. If the answer is ‘we need interactive touch screens because our interactive whiteboards are all old and breaking down’ then more thought is probably needed.

Secondly, on occasions a prospective school or college will ask the question of themselves:  ‘Do we actually need interactive touch screens’.  They do represent a cost, and like any cost it needs justifying. A budget will always outstrip the amount of things it could be spent on, so every purchase is competing with every other, tough decision need to be made.

Answering the question

My instinct when faced with a big question like: ‘Do you need interactive touch screens?’ is to interrogate the teaching strategy of the school or college. What kinds of teaching do you want to see happening? How are teachers to spend the precious time they have with students and which kind of behaviours and practices do you want to promote and which ones do you want to discourage or even proscribe? Once you have an answer for that you can get closer to an honest answer to the question. Now the question of the teachingf strategy is one for Senior Leadership Team (SLT), or at least it should be.  The SLT should work to set the teaching strategy of the school and then put in place the correct support so teaching staff can implement this strategy. An SLT which does not spend a good proportion of its time thinking about teaching and learning and how to improve it, is not doing its job.

Does your teaching strategy include talking to the whole group?

I think it would be very rare for any school or college to have a teaching strategy which did not involve the teacher talking to the whole group, for at least some part of a lesson1.  This is so basic an assertion that I doubt it gets explicitly covered in teaching strategies, it’s simply a given that the teacher will stand at the front and talk to the class as a whole, at the start of the lesson and once again at the end. So once thjis decision has been made you can ask the question: ‘When the teacher is doing that, how do you want to support them?’ Of course, ut is possible to talk to a group without any audio visual aids. a lot of the most popular TED talks happen on a blank stage with nothing but the speaker and a spotlight. But often teachers need something on the screen, it may be they are setting up group work and need the instructions, or are explaining a concept and need the formulae up  there, or teaching a historical idea and have images and illustration which help.

Once you have decided that it is desirable for a teacher to spend at least some of the lesson addressing the entire class it becomes a necessity to have a screen to display a computer image at a size that all of the participants can see.

So we have got some of the way there.You have at least decided that to support your pedagogic strategy you need a display screen.

In the next blog post, we’ll take a look at whether it needs to be interactive or not.


1: It is very easy to imagine a situation where a teacher did not ever address all of the class together. If the classroom is a ‘flipped one’, then the whole class instruction would be created by the teacher and then delivered to the students to access outside of lesson time. So the teacher could make a 10 minute video on the structure of the periodic table, and use a learning environment to deliver this to the students who all watch it individually in their own time.  The classroom time is then devoted to them working through a group or individual activity the teacher sets with the teacher visiting each group or individual and supporting them according to their need. I know of no school where this happens though.


Making Sense of Touch Screens

In November I found a new position working at Prowise. Prowise is a manufacturer of interactive touch screens and my job is to help spread the word about just how good Prowise Touch Screens are and the possibilities they create.

When I joined Prowise in many ways I felt like I was coming home; a strange emotion for someone starting at a company but I’d spent so long in the IWB industry that I realised that this is where I do my best work and am happiest. I’d first got up close and personal to an IWB when I won a research contract to evaluate the Whiteboard rollout at St Thomas Aquins School in Edinburgh. A few years later I was tempted into a commercial role and left the hallowed halls of academia.  Joining Prowise and starting at a company that innovates ruthlessly and won’t take second-best in any circumstance is very exhilarating – and just a bit scary.

One of the tasks I set myself over the break, was some in-depth research on the touch screen market, and all the other companies who make touch screens and market them to education.  I’m stupidly nosey which means I love to know what products and services the competition are offering.

This research took quite a chunk of the Christmas break, and I approached it by visiting the websites of all of the main players in the market and really spending time getting to know their solutions and what they thought was good about their kit.  I also spent some time pretending to be a teacher, member of SLT or IT Manager who was trying to make sense of the touch screen market.

  1. Would the websites help me make decision?
  2. Would I be faced with endless technical jargon and other rubbish?
  3. Would I know what to buy and why to buy it?

I knew what I would find before I even started the task; and the results surprised me not one bit.

So here are my conclusions:

1: The market is complicated and opaque.  Making sense of each company’s offering is difficult.  It is easy to get bamboozled by technical jargon, and if that isn’t bad enough, you have to also wade through endless marketing guff distilled into trite phrases such as: ‘breaking down the barriers to communication‘; ‘setting the classroom free‘; ‘touching your better self‘ and so on.  (These are all invented examples of course, but you get the idea!)

2: Most manufacturers have too many product lines which confuses people even more.  Choice is having meaningful decisions to make, rather than being faced with a huge list of “blah, blah blah”.  Often touch screens are divided into ‘corporate’ and ‘education’ models.  Too many times this is the identical touch screen, just bundled with different software. Often you pay more for the corporate model which means you are shelling out hard-earned cash for some second rate software which in other circumstances the manufacturer couldn’t give away for free. I’m no business guru, but my feeling is that post-2008 companies are equally as careful with how they spend their money as schools, so why rip them off? Some manufacturer’s models differ by just a single number e.g. EF-455B and EF455B2 but are quite different (HD versus 4K for instance).

3: Software is a huge problem.  Software is needed to get the most out of any touch screen solution, I knew that even as a young and foolish researcher in a windswept Edinburgh in 2003, but so many manufacturers do not let you trial their software, so you have to wait until you are a customer or get a demo. This is not good; if the software is as good as you think it is, then let people try it out for themselves. If you are going to charge extra for software then this is a perfectly logical business model, but you need to let people browsing your website know this sooner rather than later. They will be putting together a budget for the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for this stuff!!

4:  People will easily get confused about whether the boards come with a mainboard or not. The trend is for manufacturers to add a basic Android computer or similar mini-PC-thingy to a screen so that you can switch it on and get access to features such as whiteboarding or even browsing without the need to connect a PC. Whether the screen had a mainboard or not and what it could do was clear on only a handful of manufacturer’s websites.  This is not a minor thing, being able to use the screen without a PC could be crucial for what you need the screen for.

I ended up with a 35 page document of my findings.  But the 4 points above are a fair distillation of what I found.  Maybe I approached the exercise in too cynical a frame of mind? Perhaps I’m just an old ed-tech lag hankering after days of simplicity which are long gone?

And Prowise? Where does Prowise fit into this….

Let’s look back at the 4 points:

1: Complex and Opaque
Prowise put the most important information on a single web page so you can compare the boards easily.  If you want more technical information to feed your inner geek we can give that to you until your eyes roll back in your head, but when you are looking for the salient points you get them. Simple

2: Complex Product Lines
Prowise have just 2 product lines, EntryLine and Proline+
The product line names explain what the products are. All screens are 4k. EntryLine screen sizes are:  65, 75, 86, Proline+  are: 65 and 75. Simple.

3: Inacccessible software
Prowise boards come with Prowise Presenter software.  This is cloud-based whiteboarding software and we offer a free account to everyone, whether the school has a Prowise Screen or not.  You can click the button at the top right of the site to create your free account. This is full access to all features of Presenter, nothing locked or disabled.  So you can try our software out to see if it works for you on any screen. Simple.

4. Mainboard or not?
Prowise boards (EntryLine and Proline+) come with Prowise Central pre-loaded, this is a mainboard running Android. This means you can start the screen with no PC and get whiteboarding.  Want to save your stuff?  Save it to the mainboard memory or take a snapshot of a QR code with your phone and it transfer there immediately.  Need to check something out online? A browser is included.  Want to change source because you finally decided to plug your laptop in? Just select the source from the OnScreen menu and off you go.  Launch Prowise Central by placing your 5 fingers on the screen. Do what you need to do, then dismiss it. Simple.

It. Is. That. Simple.

If want to see what Prowise can do for your school then we’ll come and do a demo for you.
Just don’t expect us to ‘touch your better self’ 😉




Getting the best out of BETT…

These chumps have got BETT all wrong. Firstly they are not wearing clothes, and secondly they’ve gone on the train, not a in time machine…

Woohoo; BETT 2015 is well underway.  But the question on every teacher’s lips is ‘how do we get the best out of BETT?’

In order to answer that question I interviewed Professor Carry Luban, who is Professor of Futurology at Chorley University. Professor Luban has been going to BETT since its beginnings in 1972 where it was just 3 blokes in corduroy sat around a table waiting for someone to invent a computer which was cheap enough to use in schools.  Years on, Carry will be sharing her knowledge and expertise to help you get the most out of of BETT.

Travelling to BETT

MJP: So Professor Carry, let’s start with the basics, how would you advise teachers to get to the BETT show?

Professor Carry: Well most people will go on the docklands light railway from London out to the Excel centre, but this is the first mistake they will make.  The journey from central London to the exhibition centre takes around 9 hours, with 227 stops en route, many of them at stations invented just to hold the train up, such as ‘Gorblimey Parade’ and ‘Citytwat Plaza’.  The journey is so long that the train drivers all died of boredom and had to be replaced by souped-up Raspberry Pi’s.

A far better way of getting to BETT is via a time-travel enabled vehicle such as a modified De Lorean or one of the steampunk mash up things you get in a Jules Verne film.  If you travel to BETT in a time machine, you won’t make the basic error of going to the 2015 show, instead you can go to the 2020 show, or even the 2030 one.  Then you can be sure that you’ll be right on the (b)leading edge. You can return to school and wow them with tales of computers no larger than a button which project the screen direct into your brain and you control them by thought, with software so adaptive that it knows what you want to learn before you even know yourself and has taught you it as well, and even a Smartphone which can last all day without needing to be recharged.

Truly a vision of the classroom of tomorrow. Just remember to take £475 with you, in case you need to buy a sandwich.

What to wear at BETT

MJP: Many teachers will be scouring blogs like this for advice on what to wear whilst at the BETT show, what is your advice?

Professor Carry: My advice is to wear clothes.  And if you can, wear your own clothes.  Other people’s clothes may not fit; they may be too tight and chafe as you go round the show. Going naked to the BETT show is not a good idea as this means you won’t have any pockets to put your free pens in, you’ll get cold waiting for the train, and of course you will violate universally accepted human behaviour codes which state roughly that you shouldn’t go out in public in the nack.

MJP: So not a case of emperor’s new clothes then?

Professor Carry: I think we can leave the emperor’s new clothes meme for the stands…

MJP: And what should you wear on your feet?

Professor Carry: Shoes, definitely shoes. I once went to BETT wearing scooped out avocado shells on my feet and it just didn’t work.  I was only just past the part where a surly blokes zaps your badge and they fell apart. On the plus side my feet were beautifully moisturised that year.

Get a GamePlan

MJP: So now to the most important part of the interview. The teachers have managed to find their way to BETT and are wearing clothes and shoes… what should they do next?

Professor Carry: The vital thing about BETT is to always have a gameplan. Just don’t go meandering around the hall expecting to get what you want, instead be ruthless and plan a strategy in advance. Remember if you are teacher then your aim is to collect as much free stuff as possible. Concentrate on pens. Get as many free pens as you can, remember it’ll be a year before you’re back, so stock up, go crazy.  Fill your boots, or even your avocado shells.  And once you have pens covered, concentrate on bags.  Get as many bags as you can. If you go batshit crazy collecting bags then you’ll end up with so many you won’t be able to carry them. You’ll need to get a bag just to carry your bags, and then a bag to carry that bag..

MJP: What kinds of conversations should teachers have with people on the stands?

Professor Carry: What kind of idiot question is that? Carry’s first rule of BETT is never to speak to the stand staff. If you have to approach a stand for the purposes of swagging free stuff, then sidle up sideways like a teenager buying his first pack of condoms from the village barbers. Never make eye contact with the staff, and hide your badge inside your jacket.  If an earnest young man with floppy hair wearing a printed T-shirt called Sebastian does manage to ask you a question, then just mumble something about ‘having no budget’ or if that fails speak in a Scandinavian accent and explain you have lost touch with your travelling companions from Helsinki.  Remember stand staff are not there to explain the product to you, they are just a human barrier between you and the free stuff on the stands.  If stuff gets too confusing then just head to an enormous stand for a company with a household name like Microsoft and hang about on that.  After 15 minutes or so you may have no idea what Microsoft have to do with educational technology. But don’t worry about that, none of the stand staff do either.

MJP: But if teachers don’t talk to people on the stands, how will they share their insights back in school and make recommendations to SMT about where to spend the ICT budget?

Professor Carry: That’s easy, when you get back to school, spend a few minutes on Google looking up the products you were sent to BETT to find out about. All of the details will be on the website and you can request demos very easily. It’s almost like the BETT show wasn’t really needed in the first place.

MJP: What should headteachers and budget holders do at BETT?

Professor Carry: They should remember Carry’s first rule of BETT: ‘you are here to buy technology you don’t understand, at a price you can’t afford, to solve a problem your school does not have, and which your teachers will probably never use’.  If you stick to this rule you can’t go far wrong.

MJP: I thought Carry’s first rule of BETT was never to speak to stand staff?

Professor Carry: whatever…

BETT trends this year

MJP: So what trends have you noticed at this year’s BETT show?

Professor Carry: good question, when I visited the 2015 show, 5 years ago I noticed a few important new trends. The first one was bags; bags are always big news at BETT, but this year there’s even more bags than usual. So bag yourself your bag, and then another one to put that bag in and so on.  The second one is the concept of ‘device agnoticism’

MJP: ‘Device Agnosticism’ sounds very complicated, can you explain it in layman’s terms?

Professor Carry. Of course. Well being ‘agnostic’ is not really believing properly in something. Lots of technologies are only built for one particular platform or hardware.  The technologies probably won’t work, but they only don’t work on a single platform. When a technology is ‘device agnostic’ that means you don’t believe it will work on any platform at all. This is obviously much better, instead of a technology not working on one thing, it doesn’t work on anything at all, and that must be progress,

MJP: Thank you Professor Carry for those wise words.

Professor Carry: no, thank you…  by the way that pen you’re using, can I have it. It would fit just nicely in this bag.

Teachmeets… NOT FOR SALE!


Osiris Educational  is now offering a ‘free directory of TeachMeets’ and also enhanced paid-for packages to help TeachMeet organisers promote their event. Osiris Educational are a for-profit company providing CPD and training to schools and teachers.

This is simply a terrible idea. Read on for just some of the reasons why it’s so wrong.

Firstly, TeachMeets are a bottom-up grass roots movement. Formed spontaneously on the fringe of a commercial event (the Scottish Learning Festival), the idea quickly spread and TeachMeets are now held just about every evening of the week. The idea of teachers coming together to share best practice and ideas (and just have some quality time away from the pressures of the classroom) was compelling because opportunities for sharing before this were limited, and those teachers stuck in a staffroom with few other innovative practitioners could often feel a need to tell others of their work, and get some ideas from other innovative teachers.  TeachMeets are free to teachers to attend, although there are often costs associated with setting them up, so limited commercial sponsorship deals have been struck.  These work best when both parties (the company, and the Teachmeet organisers), understand the delicate dynamic balance between the company getting something back for its sponsorship money whilst not stomping all over the non-commerical ecology of the TeachMeet with size 9 stiletto marketing heels.  Some TeachMeets run with no Sponsorship at all. The events at Heathfield CPS in Bolton (organised by @deputymitchell) have no sponsors, but teachers pay a couple of quid for a pasty and pea supper at half time. Teachmeets are not commercial, they are not a chance for companies to get lots of free advertising, sell directly to teachers or somehow muscle in.

Osiris’s move is egregious in so many ways. Firstly the ‘free service’ does nothing other than promote the event.  This sounds very kind and all of that, but there is already a perfectly good way of publicising Teachmeets. There is a TM wiki at where all teachmeets can be listed. And of course there is the younger brother of the Teachmeet phenomenon, that is Twitter to help spread the word virally.  Some teachmeets sell out (the BETT one for instance), some are very well attended (50+), I have been to a few where numbers are below 20 and one with just 9 of us.  The one with 9 sounds like it may have been a bit of a damp squib, but it wasn’t as there was easily enough expertise and enthusiasm in the room for us all to take something away from it.  So the kind offer of a ‘free service’ to promote a TeachMeet is not a kind offer, it’s reinventing a wheel that is already invented, is not broken, and belongs (crucially) to the people in the cart.  Why on earth would TeachMeet organisers systematically hand over information on their events to a commercial company, I can see no reason for them to do this.  And Osiris have ‘terms and conditions’ for using the site.  Here is an excerpt:

Any behaviour that is deemed unsuitable or unfit to Osiris Educational’s efforts to provide quality, fair and unbiased CPD training will not be tolerated and may result in the removal of Osiris Educational’s support and sponsorship (as outlined above, but not limited to).

So Osiris have taken it upon themselves to police what goes on a TeachMeet webpage?  I guess they had to do this in case clearly unacceptable material was posted (they would be liable as they host the service), but how far will they go in deciding what is ‘unsuitable behaviour’? What if a Teachmeet was organised which was expounding teaching ideas which contradicted one of the paid for courses which Osiris run? Would there be a temptation for them to remove this teachmeet, or put pressure on the organisers to modify the focus of the TeachMeet so it did not disrupt the commercial interests of Osiris? I think the answer is ‘possibly’, and whilst there is any possibility of this happening, I think a move to a commercial company hosting TeachMeet information is to be strongly resisted.  And are Osiris planning to become the ‘ticketing agency’ for Teachmeets. Most events are ticketed just using the wiki; you add your name and you’re on the list, if you want to sign up to do a presentation, put your name on that list and so on.  Larger events (like the BETT teachmeet can be ticketed using EventBrite which is free to use if you are not charging for your event).  The wiki for all but the largest teachmeets is simple, is democratic, and it just works. What if Osiris decide you have to register to attend a TeachMeet on their site.  Which means teachers adding in their information to be stored in the database of a company selling things to (wait for it) teachers.  I’ll not even waste keyboard taps pointing out how problematic that idea is.

If you are prepared to pay Osiris money, they can upgrade their support for your TeachMeet.

When I started writing this blog at about 9am March 20th, I had loaded a page tweeted by @david_obst which had details of the Gold and Silver packages which Osiris were offering. Just now (having closed that page), I decided to reload it, and found that it had been modified and the details on the packages had disappeared. I can only conjecture that concerns being expressed on Twitter had Osiris to rethink their business model and landgrab of TeachMeet territory and they had retreated in order to consider their options. If this is the case then I welcome it.  Before the page was taken down I had read that if you went for the Gold Package, Osiris would send a host to your TeachMeet to run the event for you.  What a great service that would have been. The last event I went to was joint hosted by @dughall and @deputymitchell, who did a great job of drawing out the professional strands of learning from the presentations, keeping the audience enthused and generally entertaining us.  They also did it for free (not even expenses) as all TeachMeets hosts do.  And if one or both of these had been ill, I counted at least 20 other people in the room who could have got up on the spot and MCed the event.  It may be stating the bloody obvious, but standing up in front of people and engaging them is a skill which teachers already have.  It’s not something they lack, it’s one of their CORE skills, for crying out loud. The idea that we would need to pay a company to provide a host for a TeachMeet is bizarre in the extreme.

The message here is simple. Hands off TeachMeets, they are not for sale.

The future of Glow

This week I attended the Scottish Learning Festival, and went to the TeachMeet to hear a little more about what is going on in Scottish education.  In between the usual teach-mmet presentations and nano-presentations was a 30 minute slot to get into groups and discuss some pre-prepared topics of interest.  I joined a session about Glow, the Scottish National Intranet. The session was titled Do we need a national intranet in the classroom? Future directions and lessons from the past.

I felt a bit of an interloper, as clearly the ‘we’ in the title referred to Scottish educators, and I’m not Scottish and not even sure if I’m an educator anymore.  But I took part in the discussion and listened intently to the range of opinions in the group.

Glow is, as far as I know, the only National Education intranet in the world. Scottish policy on Learning Platforms (or intranets, or MLEs or VLEs, or whatever else term you want to use), diverged from the English one quite dramatically. In England BECTa (the technology agency tasked with guiding ICT policy in English Schools), having taken the guidance from the government that all schools should put a learning platform into place, put together a list of preferred suppliers and let English schools choose from these.

The Scots decided on a centralised service, something made easier no doubt by the relative size of Scotland to England (32 local authorities rather than 433), but influenced too by a genuine desire to get the very best for Scottish schools and to develop useful online tools which schools could use. The English model of procurement created a gold rush to sell VLEs to schools, in much the same way as BECTa had created an earlier gold rush around Interactive whiteboard installations, but even with an original list of 10 providers, many schools were confused what to buy, what they were getting, and in some cases why they even needed to buy a learning platform at all.

The challenge which Glow had, and still has, is offering a suitably flexible platform to satisfy such a massive user base.  It’s a truism, but teachers are at all different levels of using technology in their teaching from cutting edge experts to those who are unwilling or unable to try anything new. Keeping this wide spectrum happy is no doubt difficult.

And online tools are evolving very quickly. Nobody 5 years ago would have predicted how massive twitter would be as a professional development tool, blogs written by teachers for teachers were still rare (they’re not now) and nobody would have a clue what Pinterest was or how to use it.*

Any national learning platform risks being outflanked by the sheer weight and originality of the commercial web companies, who are constantly vying to create new offerings and have massive resources to invest. But of course these companies are not charities, they are looking to make money and their interests will probably not align with the educational aims of teachers and schools.  From a compliance perspective, Glow is a massive win, as Scottish schools get a ready-made platform which they know is secure and safe for children and teachers to use.

The conclusion of this blog is, unfortunately, not really a conclusion at all. I still don’t know whether *a* national intranet is a good idea or not (and I don’t admittedly have sufficient real experience of Glow to comment in detail). Those of us south of the border will await developments in Scotland with keen interest.

Image is creative commons, Available on Flickr at used by kind permission of DaveMichuda.

* re Pinterest the same is of course true today 🙂


This weekend was CampEd12, a learning festival held, for the first time, near Oxenhope in Yorkshire.  The event was conceived after Tim Rylands commented that learning conferences were often too expensive and disappointing and he could run a better one from his shed.  The idea went viral on twitter amongst UK twitterers involved in education and the concept of ShedFest was borne, with a seamless change of name to avoid the conflict with a wine festival which had already ‘bagsied’ the ShedFest name.  Camped12 shares much of its DNA with ‘Learning on the Beach’ events (organised by John Davitt), and with the ‘unconference’ concept where the top down organisation and control of the conventional conference is rejected in favour of a looser structure, a more democratic mode of participation and a more affordable price tag to boot.

Thanks to the hard work and dedication of Dughall McCormick (@dughall), Bill Lord (@joga5) and Helen Daykin (@helendaykin); what started as a tiny little riff on twitter – 140 characters of aspiration with nothing solid behind it; turned into reality as a full education festival emerged complete with a tea urn, portaloos and people travelling from all over England to take part.  I was lucky enough to attend, and had a brilliant time, meeting new people, meeting people I had only before known from Twitter, and renewing acquaintances with people I know both in real space and on twitter.

Sat down on the final evening, chatting about CampEd12, @Dughall and I had a brief conversation about the event and the great opportunities it presented for both the children who came (there were lots, CampEd12 was a real family event), and the parents.  The kids got to do some really cool things such as: geocaching (using GPS to find hidden goodies on the site), den building, practical science, arts and crafts, astronomy and a game of perpetual football on the top field which would still be going on now if the parents had not hidden the ball. We then got to talking about how ‘middle class’ the event was. We weren’t completely consumed with guilt (I don’t think), that the event *was* middle class, but there was also a realisation that the children who could gain the most from #CampEd12, and see learning in a new light, set in the context of engagement with the outdoors and practical activities were also those least likely to ever have a chance to experience it.  Children trapped in urban poverty in Northern Cities just 30 minutes travel from the CampEd12 site, children whose parents for whatever reason, don’t have the social capital and networks to connect them into events like this or the required knowledge and confidence to take part.

I think that many (perhaps even ‘most’) teachers believe that educational opportunities should be available to all (regardless of background or economic circumstances), and therefore educators have a moral and ethical obligation to find ways of spreading opportunities to as many as possible.   So this lays down a challenge to CampEd.  What could be done to enable participation in this event for those least likely to ever come to it? Is that possible, and if possibile, is the desire there to make this happen? Is the CampEd ethos and methodology one which could somehow be tweaked to give the event a social impact far beyond its original ambitions?

The left hand image is of the campsite for CampEd12, the right hand side is a derelict community building in Bradford. The Bradford image is creative commons licenced and provided by kind permission of Tim Green on Flickr and is available at