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Just as the "National Grid for Learning" is a simple phrase that is straightforward to latch onto, so a "GridClub" is a simple concept that is easily understood.

However, just as with the NGfL, "GridClub" embraces many possibilities and this short research project seeks to explore some of them in the context of what is practical, safe, achievable, manageable, educationally desirable and (crucially) both effective and engaging.

There is so much that a GridClub could be - below are some examples that illustrate the breadth of the continuum of possibilities (but constitute by no means an exhaustive list). We will return to these alternatives in our conclusions, in the light of our findings.

A publish and disseminate only site: which would be given a unique identity and audience by branding through the 'look and feel' and through carefully targeted content - material added daily / weekly / monthly. This would not be innovative and there are plenty of examples of such sites (eg New Horizons for Learning - see research database on-line).

A limited contribution site:
commissioning contributions to give limited ownership of the site's content to its users, or their mediators. The site would also retain a publish and disseminate function. Many such sites already exist with prototype or custom written software (eg MERLIN - see research database on-line)

A post moderated site: offering an open door policy to contributions but only after they have been through a moderation / approval process. The site could also retain a publish and disseminate function. This model is used by many LEA sites for teachers.

A tool based open contribution site: which would be given a unique identity and audience by branding through the tools available (which could be as constrained as limited templates / forms for contributions or completely open ended). There may or may not be post moderation. This model has been around for some years (for example School OnLine from 1995) but is certainly not a dominant form yet.

A badging of other existing sites: making the pre-requisite for "badging" the site's ability to offer a superset of functionality (which might include audits of contributor identities, minimal functions of contribution tool sets and rules on advertising, etc). With an imaginative superset of functionality this could be highly significant in making change happen (for example raising an entitlement of contribution).

In other words the GridClub could embrace a wide range of possibilities within which the vector of central control might be anything from a slight tangent to a primarily defining characteristic. Hopefully, the research conclusions below will help inform the necessary political decision that would select a position on the continuum of choice illustrated by the examples above.

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