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IET Coffee Morning session on iSpot

1 June 2010
Jennie Lee Building Main Ambient Lab Ground Floor

IET Technology Coffee Morning

Cloudscape created by:

Lynda Davies
14 April 2010

Abstract: iSpot ( is an exciting new website to help people learn about nature, and particularly how to identify wildlife. Users share their observations and get help with identifying what they've seen, building up reputation as they make good identifications. An enthusiastic collection of experts from various natural history societies and organisations are helping people turn a casual interest  ("I like watching David Attenborough") in to the beginnings of a learning journey.

The website itself is part of a carefully constructed network of offerings: there are partnerships with broadcast television and radio, region-based mentors reaching out to traditionally-excluded, links to existing biological recording and natural history organisations, and – of course – a short OU course for learners to pursue their nascent interests through formal, accredited learning.

This talk will explain how the iSpot ecosystem is working so far, and set out the exciting vision it offers for an OU future using technology to enable learning across the formal and informal divide.

iSpot is part of a large partnership initiative called OPAL (Open Air Laboratories,, funded by the Big Lottery Fund and celebrating biodiversity, environmental quality and people's engagement with nature.

Presenter: Doug Clow is an academic in IET, and has been leading the software development of iSpot, as part of a large and friendly iSpot team.

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