Digestible BBC Bitesize on the go

Monday 19 August 2013, 14:55

John Millner John Millner Executive Producer, BBC Knowledge & Learning

Space Science National 5 BBC Bitesize School students in Scotland returned from their summer holidays this week. We've marked the occasion by launching the first new Bitesize content in the BBC's Knowledge and Learning Beta online product, which brings together factual and learning content from over 100 existing BBC websites. 

The new interactive programmes of study, 18 in English and six in Gaelic, will support students through the National 4 and 5 Level courses introduced this year for all Scottish 14-16 year olds. 

This was a big delivery - almost 5,000 pages, over 7,000 information-rich graphics, 2,000 photos and more than 500 new tests - representing many months of work by technical, design and editorial teams collaborating closely across three different BBC bases in Glasgow, Salford and Cardiff.

It's just the start of the even bigger task of integrating all our formal education content into the Knowledge and Learning product: the rest of our secondary Bitesize content covering Highers, GCSE, TGAU and Key Stage 3; our Schools content for the primary classroom; and the adult skills support currently delivered by Skillswise.

Over the next 18 months all of these will be republished into the new website, which will be designed to support UK teachers and learners whichever UK nation they live in, whichever UK language they use, and whichever curriculum they follow.

But this first delivery carries symbolic weight, because it's a decisive step toward integrating all the BBC's factual and learning content into a single, dynamic website, responding to the learning needs of every one of our users, whether student, browser, self-improver or lifelong learner.

Two innovations in particular will help us achieve this.

Firstly, we've developed a controlled vocabulary or ontology - a framework of interlinked concepts and topics allowing every piece of content to be mapped to every related piece, so that it can be easily navigated to, quickly found using any relevant search term, and shown in context with other similar content.  For now this only covers formal education, but eventually it will expand, via BBC Online’s linked data platform, to include the rest of the BBC's factual domain. The aim is to make the Knowledge and Learning Online feel like a single, unified place where users can learn more about science, nature, history, religion, arts and more.

(If you’re interested in the product's underlying information architecture, we have documented and published our education ontology. You can find out more about its development in this blog post.)

Secondly, we used a web design technique called responsive web design, a way of enabling new content to adapt instantly to whatever device type or screen size it's being displayed on, smoothly reconfiguring and slimming itself down so it works optimally on tablets and mobiles as well as PCs. Two years ago BBC Online committed itself to making its content available on whichever ‘piece of glass’ users happen to be using. It’s something that's particularly relevant to UK teenagers such as those who we hope will use the new Bitesize to support their school work: it is these people for whom smartphones are fast becoming the device of choice for accessing the internet.

So from now on, every new piece of Knowledge and Learning content will work just as brilliantly on every device, without us having to make different versions for different platforms. See for yourself by pointing your mobile or tablet browser at the new bbc.co.uk/education address.

Innovations like these are the reason why the new Knowledge and Learning website represents a giant leap forward in the BBC's capacity to inspire and support learning.  We all instinctively know that learning is not something that happens in one time or place only, sitting quietly at a desk or a PC. Most learning happens in the midst of life, as you react to its demands and interact with other people, and in response to your ever-changing needs for new understanding of the world.

Beginning with the classroom resources and Bitesize study guides we're launching this week, the Knowledge and Learning website will enable learning to break out across all the BBC's portfolio of factual content, linking it all together from a single area.

And its responsive design will enable learning to accompany you as you move through your life, from place to place and context to context - at school or home or work, while you're on the move, while you communicate, or while you wait for something else to happen. In the process, learning will become more independent, more relevant, more personal and more fun. 

John Millner, Executive Producer, BBC Knowledge & Learning

Comments

Jump to comments pagination
 
  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 2.

    John, I've been working on a study linking public media and formal education in South Africa and came across this post in my research. I think the work being done by the BBC team on Bitesize and other K&L products is phenomenal. In contrast, the SABC in South Africa seems light years behind and the local education department appears to be battling to get the basics right - http://www.wonkie.com/2013/01/08/education-department/ let alone supporting any collaboration with the public broadcaster.

    I'm curious to know what the relationship is between the BBC K&L product team and the UK education department. Given the emerging product set, I imagine there is a close tie-up between the two? I've also been through the education ontology post you mentioned and I'm interested to know if the K&L team focus exclusively on the school curriculum, or is there some work being done in the adult education space too? (This is a significant issue in South Africa in particular, given the country's history).

 
 

This entry is now closed for comments

Share this page

More Posts

Previous
Embarking on an epic global journey

Friday 16 August 2013, 18:27

Next
Edinburgh TV Festival 2013: Introduction

Thursday 22 August 2013, 08:30

About this Blog

This blog explains what the BBC does and how it works. We link to some other blogs and online spaces inside and outside the corporation. The blog is edited by Jon Jacob.

Follow About the BBC on Twitter

Blog Updates

Stay updated with the latest posts from the blog.

Subscribe using:

What are feeds?

External links about the BBC

Red Bee creates on-screen 50th birthday party for BBC2 (Design Week)

BBC3 controller Zai Bennett to head Sky Atlantic (Guardian) 

JK Rowling to become Woman's Hour first guest editor for 60 years (Guardian)

Kim Shillinglaw: what you need to know (Broadcast)
"a near-BBC lifer, is known to be a straight-talking, confident operator with a penchant for the odd expletive, which one source described as “quite refreshing

How to tame the BBC behemoth (Daily Telegraph)
"Transferring non-news radio and TV production to the independent sector would save the BBC millions and possibly even the BBC itself"

Cancer specialist and anti-FGM activists named in Radio 4's most powerful woman list (Asian Image)

Marc Warren joins The Musketeers series 2 (Den of Geek)

BBC Radio 1 to count down top 100 downloads of all time (Digital Spy)
"After a decade of legal downloading in the UK, it's time for Radio 1 to celebrate with a countdown revealing the nation's top 100"

BBC charter a key issue for new culture secretary (Broadcast)

Festival to bring UK closer to Middle East (Ariel)
"BBC Arabic is giving Arab cinema, documentaries and journalism a UK showcase."

Sherlock's Benedict Cumberbatch to play Richard III for BBC (Independent)

'I believe it is now the right time to step down': Sir Bruce Forsyth quits Strictly Come Dancing after fronting show for a decade (Mail)

BBC Worldwide CEO re-joins BBC executive board (Digital TV Europe)
"Davie will replace BBC HR director Lucy Adams"

James Corden backs BBC Three online move: 'It is the best place for it' (Digital Spy)

Sandi Toksvig criticises BBC ban on all-male panel shows (Telegraph)
"recruiting more female hosts would be a more desirable way of correcting the imbalance"

BBC's Peter Horrocks: 'It's not that easy to get advertising in Somalia' (Guardian)
"World Service boss on financial pressure, selling ads, transmitting news via brainwaves, and Newsnight's 'brio'"

BBC Radio 2 Eurovision Pop-up station (Matt Deegan Writes)
"I think this is a great idea and something the BBC should do more of ... it makes use of existing technology ... It’s also a technology that nearly half of UK households have, so lots of people can access it."

BBC iPlayer hits record 10.7m daily requests (Mobile Entertainment)

The Village series 2 begins shooting, adds new cast members (Digital Spy)

BBC Radio 1Xtra Live heads to Birmingham (Birmingham Post)
"It’s our aspiration at BBC Birmingham to host more of these big events over the coming years.”

BBC axes The Review Show after 20 years (The Stage)

Roger Wright to leave BBC after 15 years as Radio 3 controller (Guardian)
"Director of the BBC Proms exits corporation to become chief executive of Aldeburgh music festival"

American superstar Pharrell and The 1975 join the line-up for BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend 2014 in Glasgow (Scottish Daily Record) 

BBC boss Tony Hall could be in line for cameo in W1A mockumentary (Guardian)
"Second series role rumoured for director general after BBC2 premiere of first episode pulled in 1.6 million viewers"

BBC Three announces new shows and recommissions (British Comedy Guide)
"a timely reminder that we're still very much open for comedy business"

Does Mary Berry Cooks mark a breakthrough for older women on TV?Does Mary Berry Cooks mark a breakthrough for older women on TV? (Guardian)"What results is an unapologetically old-fashioned TV show with a presenter who makes no attempt to disguise when she was born"

Last updated Thursday 17 April 2014

Blogs from across the BBC

Selected by the About the BBC Blog team.

Jamaica Inn: Seeing sense in Aunt Patience's madness [TV]
How to be a good support act: Part 1 - Getting a gig and preparing for the show [BBC Introducing]
The BBC Online @20 [Internet]
Another Great Escape for BBC Introducing [BBC Introducing]
The 2014 BBC Performing Arts Fellowship Scheme [Performing Arts Fund]

Connected Red Button: a first look at the new service on Smart TVs [Internet]