One of the most significant developments on the Internet of late has been the step change in quality of web-based video. You don't have to be a geek to appreciate the joy of using the BBC iPlayer - or Channel 4's 4oD - to catch up on a missed episode of your favourite TV series. Add to this the increasing affordability and ease of use of digital video cameras and we have the current situation where even small non-profit organisations can tap into the power of new media. The Film Exchange on Alcohol and Drugs (FEAD) is an excellent illustration of a website designed to harness Internet video for social and educational purposes.
Established by the Lifeline Project - a UK drug and alcohol charity - FEAD aims to highlight current debates in the drug and alcohol field and to provide open access to video clips as discussion material for training and development.
At the moment it includes over 80 video clips organized into 12 topic areas including: criminal justice, recovery, harm reduction, policy strategy and research, and others. The clips consist of interviews with practitioners, policy makers, researchers, and academics such as: Dr David Best (Senior Lecturer in Addictions, University of Birmingham) discussing drug use and a whole systems approach; Rowdy Yates (Senior Research Fellow, University of Stirling) talking about the development of Lifeline's Needle Exchange; and Martin Routledge (Care Services Improvement Partnership) reflecting on the possibilities of the personalization agenda.
These are substantial and often controversial contributions that will make excellent triggers for professional debate and discussion at pre or post qualifying level. Many of the clips are accompanied with references to additional online resources and there is also a facility allowing users to comment on each clip (although when last visited no-one seemed to have yet made a comment). The site is attractively designed and easy navigate, although users need to be able to stream the video live from the Internet and use a browser with the Adobe Flash player installed. This will present a problem for users inside agencies where firewalls restrict access to streaming video. It's a shame the project has decided not to include the option of video downloads for offline viewing...perhaps we should ask them?
Visit the site: Film Exchange on Alcohol and Drugs