Tuesday, 20 March 2007

BBC Jam educational website suspended

It’s 20 March 2007. Today is the day on which the BBC suspends its Web-based package of learning materials for schools, which was released under the name "BBC Jam". BBC Jam has been the subject of controversy ever since it was announced that the BBC would be allowed to spend £150 million pounds worth of public funding, namely TV licence payers’ money, developing the so-called Digital Curriculum, later to be renamed BBC Jam. You can read more about it here:

The Reckon (Regulation and Competition Economics) website:


The Guardian newspaper, 14 March 2007

The decision to suspend BBC Jam is mainly the result of pressure from publishers’ associations and commercial online companies who complained that BBC Jam has had a negative impact on their businesses. This raises a number of important issues, for example the morality of allocating such a large sum of money to a public organisation, thereby distorting market forces, and to what extent the BBC’s move towards the production of Web-based educational materials rather than educational TV broadcasts was desirable. Bear in mind that the unit that produced the excellent series of TV broadcasts for adult learners of foreign languages has now been closed down.

BBC Jam aimed to cover most of the secondary school curriculum. Some materials for learners of modern foreign languages have been produced, but reactions to them have been mixed. Many teachers welcomed them for their refreshing and lively approach, but they have also been criticised for their confusing interface, linearity and lack of interaction, e,g. Donald Clark’s blog:


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