Sunday, February 10, 2008

On MyCBBC and Social Networking

A blog that is well worth worth reading is the BBCs Internet Blog, which has risen to the top of my must read regularly list.

The BBC works hard to provide it's users, readers, watchers, listeners, consumers of all ages and nationalities with access to a vast range of material of the highest quality.

iPlayer has transformed the way I watch television. I'm watching more, now that the unmissable is really unmissable.
Right now I'm glad that downloads aren't supported on my mac, for there are only so many hours in the day that one can access media. I know the iPlayer experience isn't perfect, sometimes it's a bit clunky but it's a new technology and can only get better.

Consider this post by Richard Deverell, in which he describes clearly the BBC's plans for MyCBBC and replies to recent press and political speculation.

Children will be assisted in the creation of "a personalised space on the CBBC web site."

How brilliant is that?
What are we in academia spending our time considering?
Finding ways of assisting our students, pupils, business partners and colleagues in the creation of useful personalised spaces.

Read on
"These pages will take the form of a child's den in which they can aggregate their favourite content from BBC sites and from approved external websites. They can choose posters, furniture and gadgets to personalise their den. Each gadget will provide a useful function: the PC stores their favourite website links; the plasma screen plays video clips; the calendar gives the dates and times of favourite shows and their own personal dates such as family and friends' birthdays.

There is also a "treasure chest" in which they can store any content they have created on the CBBC site - for example, a link to their Roar park or latest message board conversations. And Newsround feeds, based on topics such as sport or current affairs, are given an engaging wrapper using the metaphor of virtual magazines.

Children can further personalise their dens by displaying their interests and hobbies by selecting the relevant "stickers" from a pre-determined list of symbols. They can design virtual versions of themselves - avatars - with different looks and clothes. They can also choose from a range of moods each day, represented by a weather system around the avatar's head."
Compare the BBC's plans with this "angry" press report, read the observations of politicians, look at the comments at the bottom of the page; and then read the last paragraph of Deverell's post and note how he highlights the need for our young people to be educated in using the web safely. It is obvious that MyCBBC is not going to be a social networking site per se, but it has enormous potential to be the place where children will learn and acquire the new skills they will need when they join their older siblings and parents in real social networking sites.

Additionally MyCBBC might be the place for them to develop their media literacy skills which will help them to distinguish fact from fiction as they watch television, listen to the radio or read our national press.

You can read more here, here and here!


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