Teacher’s TV is returning in to new robes, one will be a Ten Alps spin off called Schoolsworld (sounds suspiciously like Spiceworld) and the other will be a new entity called Teachersmedia. Both companies plan to provide free access to the archive of Teacher’s TV with their income coming from ‘additional services’ with some new content.
Teachersmedias’s website is registered at an address in Canada which is also the office of Teacher’s TV Canada, whose website was registered back in March 2010. Anyway of the eight staff listed as working for Teachersmedia, seven were previously employed at Teacher’s TV inc. Former CEO Andrew Bethell, Creative Director David Libbert, Head of Video Kevin Morris, Director of Digital Services Tom Gordon, Director of Marketing and Communications Anna Pedroza, Head of Web development Jason Newington and Marketing and Communications Executive Pat Fawdry.
It’s an interesting move and apparently Andrew Bethall (who is listed as the International Development Consultant) is developing a US version of Teacher’s TV and in May met Peter Sjoquist whose company have run the pilot of Teacher’s TV in Australia. So far this has been self-funded by Sjoquist’s company The Australian Channel Pty Ltd, (inc. 10 hrs of new local content) as to date they have not been able to raise any funding from Australian federal and state governments nor any other local education body. This is odd given as Sjoquist’s impressive track record with properties like The Global Rock Challenge and SkillsOne (now run by another organisation).
The claim on the Teachersmedia website that, ‘they have over 30 years experience in operating Teachers TV’. This may be true in aggregate, but it’s a bit of a disingenuous claim given that Teacher’s TV ran for just a bit over 5 years before Michael Gove took the axe to it.
While it is widely agreed that much of content was very good Teacher’s TV (like the BBC) seemed to have an inherent Labour bias which may not have been a very smart strategic idea. While Labour were in power there were appearances by Estelle Morris, David Blunkett, Clare Short, Tony Benn, Roy Hattersley, David Miliband, Jacqui Smith, Cherie Booth, Guardian columnist and Labour education activist Fiona Millar and many other overt Labour supporters. The only look in for the rest of the UK political class were appearances by Boris Johnson, David Willets and Nick Gibb (Conservatives) Simon Hughes (Lib Dems ) and finally George Galloway (Respect). While it’s tempting to laugh at this, on a more serious level, it does provide an interesting lesson for any new iterations of Teacher’s TV (in the UK or elsewhere). The lesson is that had Teacher’s TV and it’s partners been a bit more politically neutral, i.e. if they had interviewed Nick Clegg, Michael Gove and David Cameron, then they might still be broadcasting online today!
Watch out for TSL who are set to announce a new initiative I expect will integrate Teacher’s TV 3500 videos into TES Connect. This looks like it will be another smart move by Louise Rogers and her team who seem to be everywhere – I ran into a TES person in India last week, who was looking at whether they could adapt some of their content for that market.
From all this activity, it looks like the DNA of Teacher’s TV will be around in the UK and elsewhere for sometime yet.