Making connections in the Storyverse

We think that our projects are about making connections. Connecting children with books, connecting people with communities, making information freely available on-line for those communities of interest…revealing new things in new ways.

We do use technology, we love the web for its endless potential to reveal and strive to make access to that information and the connections as simple, yet as meaningful as possible.

We recently came across the Small Demons web site. This makes connections from within books, to all the elements of a story that you might think are important.

Small Demons sets out to index the content of books, but to also allow you to cross reference that content with other books, allowing you to build your own Storyboard. This short film gives you a flavour of the intellectual possibilities for your Storyboard…



As you would expect, the site is fully integrated with all the social media connections you will need to share your Storyboard. (If you have added a book, the site offers viewers the opportunity to buy it too, of course).

You can see a quickly created example of a Storyboard, using some of our interests with the keyword ‘community’ here.

Small Demons is a new way to explore texts, but it definitely captured our imagination.

You can see our books and making connections projects here…

Books go Walkabout        City Stories           Thirdsectorweb

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Learning a language…learning lots more too!

platoImageWe have always liked the Open Culture web site, which is probably the very best of free learning and education media resources on the internet.

We are particularly keen to embed translation into the web sites we build at Thirdsectorweb for clients, for example. So having a language learning resource that is free and readily available on the internet is a great thing…we think.

The Open Culture learn a language pages are here. However, they include much more than just the language per se. You can also dip into cultural aspects of your target language, the majority available on iTunes or as direct downloads from the relevant web site.

What better way to bridge a cultural and geographic gap, than to learn some key phrases in another language? Find our more here.

Just a single click away and just as importantly, freely available in the same formats, are over 400 courses from major learning institutions.

Whether your interest is law, the classics, history, journalism or philosophy – there is a wealth of knowledge and research experience freely available to you here.

Explore your mind…in the company of others, at no cost.

What the internet was really built for…probably.

(Image: Plato - Creative Commons/Public Domain)

The web and education – how we think about information

Michael Wesch of Kansas State University produces a continuous stream of films and concept refreshing ideas about information, education and the cultural power of the web.

The short film below offers the viewer some interesting insights into the way the web has changed how we will think about education, schools and universities in the future.

The Canadian media thinker Marshall McLuhan in the sixties saw that ‘…the school is the custodian of print culture’. Now, Wesch argues, the game has changed for institutions. People can read, wrie and publish their own reflections on the internet.

The Wesch argument is based upon the insight that ‘…the public now lives and breathes in a much larger sphere of information and knowledge’. He argues that education’s interface with technology should allow individuals to pivot their life course decisions by “…5 degrees”, in a way to release potential that would have been unimaginable before the advent of WWW.

The Wesch film also has a piercing shard of insight into the potential collapse of hierarchies. The abandonment of which schools and universities will probably find the hardest thing to achieve.

Wikipedia, populated with volunteered knowledge, is larger than the Encyclopedia Britannica. The web means, for Tim Berners-Lee, that ‘…the link is enough’. With enough hyper links the bookshelf, the hierarchy of knowledge becomes less important.

Not irrelevant, but in a way that allows the knowledge researcher to follow the nodes and synapses of a thought or idea – in a way which would be impossible in a traditional print library.

You can find Michael Wesch’s YouTube channel here, to see more of his film work around ‘digital ethnography’.

You can also find the Thirdsectorweb home page here. Our partnership service for schools and Children’s Centres. which helps to publish their information, knowledge and culture on the web.

Social Enterprise Management
A featured title

Doherty, Foster, Mason et al have produced a great primer for the person intent on mastering the management of social enterprise.

Published in 2009 the book Management for Social Enterprise contains a wide ranging and detailed analysis of many aspects of successful social enterprise management.

It combines not only operational advice, but also gives pointers across some of the ethical issues, corprorate tensions and community reactions that an emergent social enterprise can deliver.

There is also a strong section on financial management of social enterprises, which although created by academics scores well in terms of readability for the lay person. We recommend it.

You can find other books on social business on our SmithMartin ethical business book page…read more here.

By Mr Bob Doherty, George Foster, Chris Mason, Mr John Meehan, Mrs Karon Meehan, Mr Neil Rotheroe, Ms Maureen Royce – published by Sage Publications Ltd., March 2009. (Available from around £20).

Primary School Library Charter

slaI wonder which book it was for you that made sure you were a reader for life?

Schools have always been places where, at the very least there were shelves of books and special places just for reading. Or maybe, like me, the best place for reading was perched in a tree, far away from anyone, with time and space just to read.

If schools are lucky they will already have a designated library or reading space. And now that the curriculum is a little freer there is time to re-find space and commitment to libraries in schools.

Primary schools are the first places for children to get into books and explore a world beyond their home and classrooms. The new Primary School Library Charter is a fantastic resource for developing that library. It is packed with good ideas, practical solutions and resources for making sure that the library will succeed.

The SmithMartin Partnership is committed to the future of reading and exploration, education and IT to enhance creativity and a better start in life. At the Dolphin Bookbox website you can find some of the projects and resources we have about libraries. For the very small groups we can offer a package for a Book Corner.

Visit the School Library Association website for a copy of the Primary School Library charter.