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Josie Fraser :: Blog :: Elgg a finalist in the New Media Education Award!

July 07, 2007

When I was scoping tools for our teams bid for (what became) JISC’s Emerge project, it was pretty clear that we’d have to go with Elgg for a central platform. As well as all the advantages of open source, Elgg was the by far and away the best candidate to support the vision of a platform which would:

•    Act as a conduit and pathway for the range of locations inhabited by all participants.
•    Channel and enhance the reach of content from existing community members, whether working in single or multiple locations
•    Scaffold the online practice, work and communication of the Community 100 group
•    Organise, store and aggregate the project documentation, map development
•    Host support materials created by project staff and community members designed for Community 100 members

As I noted in our bid, “Elgg is currently the most application-neutral tool available – utilising RSS and tagging in order to both import and export content, with minimum resort to technical assistance or significant redevelopment. The Elgg instillation will allow the project team to support participants to create overlapping individual and group personalised web 2.0 environments that most suit their needs and preferences. The emphasis will be on the circulation and identification of distributed content, allowing participants to work and to have a presence across multiple sites, and dialogue across locations.”

In plain language? We needed a site that could act as a home and base for some members, and as a point of contact for others who were already at home in their own online communities, sites and activities.

I was delighted to nominate Elgg for the New Statesman New Media Awards 2007:

“Elgg represents a critical development in educational software. Originally designed to support learner-centered e-portfolio's, Elgg has functioned as the only working prototype of a Personal Learning Environment - an important conceptual development in supporting learners, which the platform has enabled the practical development of.  The team have also been involved in supporting the use of Open ID and Elgg is just about the only software which recognises and works with learners distributed learning practices and identities.”

To my mind the Elgg OS project was a perfect candidate. Judges are looking for  “evidence of creative implementation of technology; a willingness to exploit the potential of new media; and an effort in making content as widely accessible as possible. The intention is to focus on those who have achieved something of benefit to others.” Elgg not ticks those boxes but the impact of their software has been huge in terms of paradigm shifting and providing leverage for web 2.0 processes & practices within education.

I’m really happy for Dave Tosh, Ben Werdmuller and the Elgg development team and community, and for Elgg users everywhere, that Elgg made it to the final short list, along with formidable nominees  Create-a-scape from Futurelab and Openlearn from the OU. Can’t wait to see who wins!

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Posted by Josie Fraser


  1. I do agree 130%. The added 30%  is due to the conceptual ideas behind the code.

    I have been diving inside the ELGG code recognizing structural concepts, and it is amazing how in 2004 they (ELGG Team) were able to envisage future tendencies of web technology.

    The 'Facebook' concept is there and is applied towards an ePortfolio.

     My respects.

    Joe RosaJoe Rosa on Saturday, 07 July 2007, 22:21 BST # |

  2. I find that elgg is very flexible technology that can be shaped by service provider and user - that is a bit of a challenge to Web 2.0 newbie users but if the social activity happens, the network/community grows.

    Frances BellFrances Bell on Sunday, 08 July 2007, 09:03 BST # |

  3. I agree, but I think our enthusiasm needs tempering, I think Elgg still needs work in key areas, especially usability. In 2 / 3 years I think it may be a fantastic product but I'd like to see a lot more development.

    Lawrie PhippsLawrie Phipps on Monday, 09 July 2007, 13:39 BST # |

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