Fasttrack DVD Production Completed and Distributed Nationally

The Fasttrack Community was one of several developed for the National College for School Leadership by Ultralab and originally used the software, later to become ‘Talk2Learn’. The Department for Education and Skills (DfES), who were the ‘owners’ of the Fasttrack project, requested a training DVD to help users learn about how the community software worked. The project was funded by NCSL.
We discussed how this project might work and decided with the DfES that it would be far better if the people engaged in the Fasttrack process were the ones who explained how the community software worked, and described how it helps them (or not) with the things that they do.
Consequently, Matthew Eaves and I found ourselves filming in different parts of the country interviewing ‘Fasttrackers’ and finding out what they did when they went on line. We went from Canterbury to Reading to Skipton to Cambridge – a real ‘points of the compass’ kind of project.
It was important to aim the content of this disc at the intended audience and so a deliberate approach was taken to show the Fasttrack people in their own environment at work and reflect realistically how they used the online community throughout the day. We could have simply run a number of ‘talking head’ kind of shots, but the result would have been too ‘dry’ and wouldn’t have captured the spirit of the users adequately.
We focussed on their schools and their way of working and tried to show that each user was unique and had different needs. Some fast cuts in the editing ensured it remained upbeat and ‘young’, combined with wider shots of the schools and footage of the legs of the children in school (we didn’t want to capture too many individuals as it would have been a permission nightmare!) moving back and forth between lessons.The resulting footage was compressed to MPEG2, and audio converted to Dolby Digital (AC3) format and the material put on to a DVD which was distributed to all Fasttrackers entering the programme. It therefore had a nationwide distribution and we are pleased that we still get comments from Fasttrackers today asking about the community software.EDIT: Since filming and producing this disc, the NCSL took over the communities and changed the software to be ‘Talk2Learn’ in January 2004.
Click ‘Play Now’ (below) to watch one of the films included on the DVD.
Fasttrack Teaching DVD Film: Play NowPlay in Popup

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