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@ David…

Apart from Facebook, which I refuse to rejoin for reasons which need not concern us here, please point out a system which I can explore that allows the kind of ‘reply by email’ to which you allude. We did spend some real money on trying to implement this for TP. It turned out to be not so easy – the mailhandler has quite a lot of work to do….So if there really are systems off the shelf that’ll let us do this (group/ topic / tag – I think we could leave out attachments – although that would be nice!). So true, jsutified belief, exmplified, please.


@ Stuart.. At least the design things…

So your aspiration for TP is a one-line summary of the aims – but I’m not sure I can write that kind of things with my IoP hat on.

OK.. The hub. If you have groups, and a much more fractured and diverse community than PTNC (which I don’t think would scale to the 4.5 k members of TP…) then you have three issues….


1) Where can I get started – where do I post my equiry… [paralysis of too much choice]

2) Why has no-one replied [I posted an equiry in my blog – within TP]

3) Nothing is happening [ the groups I happen to belong to are not active]


The Hub was an attempt to approach these… And to provide a kind of core – if you are a teacher of physics then you ought to be interested in these, or a subset of them (so maybe not 16-19). 


1) You only have four choices of where to put something… Ought not to be too hard (but it seems to be – we regularly have teaching enquiries on N&C – is it news? Is it comment? If not, then don’t post it here. But this appears tricksy for some graduates)


2) We’ll ensure that anything here gets interacted with – so avoiding the feeling of being ignored.


3) Provides a nucleation site…you’ll see that ocassionally I’ve suggested that things are spun out of the hub. Yet there are enough posters to get a feeling of activity.


The IoP resource groups are there simpoly because they’re not a ‘group like any other’. They’re supported by IoP. So, as a user you’d expect to guaranteed interaction and support there. Plus there is 




Most of the other stuff you suggest is peripheral, kind of is, but provides room for community style growth. So beyond just a set of ‘super-PTNC’ email lists. 


And yes, I am deeply frustrated by the inability to easily:

-tag things

-view a tag cloud for the week / month / year – or potentially other filters…

– Set up an rss feed for all of user XX’s bookmarks

– find all the people who belong to a set of groups – so hunt for peopl by tags

– maintain a contact list of people who I’ve worked with

– develop a set of toosl that enhance reputation in such a way that people are drawn in…

Etc, etc.


The good news is that we’re on an open platform, so getting the data out and re-engineering is possible and thinkable. SO next time, I’d suggest less customisation, and more plugin architecture.


The most interesting question, however, is the social. Will enough teachers engage enough to make it all worhtwhile.

This is not, primarily, a question of technical facility, or ease of use, or where the menus are blue / black or whatever.

It’s a question of investment vs payoff.

For the prosecution…

EXHIBIT A: Lots of colleagues use Word to draw diagrams in – even the head of one large and successful multimedia company. If you think it does what you want, you’ll use it. 


And even a view of professionalism — so a view of just what the job of teaching is about.

But what do teachers want? And what should they want?

The aims — and particulary the beacon aspect — were an attempt to articulate what such a community might stand for.



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