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Published September 10, 2007 | Multidisciplinary

Taming the Wild Frontier of Digital Educational Resources

Did you know that because of international standards, the electric lightbulb that is bought at your local hardware store can be used anywhere in the world? The same situation applies for typewriter keyboards in English and for thousands of other items that once standardized can be traded worldwide. Let's take a look at what is happening in the realm of education!

The development of standards for IT learning, education and training have served principally the interests of large commercial enterprises or armies, such as the U.S. Army, permitting a more effective use of resources.

As for public education, particularly at the collegial level, the need for the same standardization is evident. Teacher-developped resources as well as those financed by the public purse (ex. CCDMDCégep à distance, etc.) are regularly and wastefully duplicated. One can only imagine the savings in time and money if such resources could be identified and publicized to permit their effective use among all concerned parties.

Academic documentation in the form of exposés, exercises, questionnaires, and tutorials using electronic slideshows, spreadsheets, webpages, Flash animation, video and audio recordings among others could be filed in an electronic catalogue. For such a catalogue to be effective, material would have to be classified using standards in the same manner that the Dewey Decimal System organizes volumes in a library. In the collegial network, a project is underway to develop such a catalogue for digitized e-learning resources which is called the LRR (Learning Resource Repository).We at Profwebare using this catalogue to classify entries in our Resources section.

In order to meet this need, MELS (Ministère de l'Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport) has supported the Groupe québécois de travail sur les normes (GTN-Québec) which works in tandem with similar organizations in other Canadian provinces as well as the e-Learning Standards Advisory Council of Canada (eLSACC).

Among eLSACC's objectives are the following goals:

  • Promote the creation of a shared educational heritage of sustainable and reusable learning resources and
  • Maximize the benefits from the use of information technologies in learning, education and training.

The recent meeting of eLSACC in Victoria, B.C. on August 29 and 30 made progress towards reaching these goals by working on documents for wide public distribution dealing with the issue of standardization.

Also, the presentation of various case studies from British Columbia integrating content with the LR catalogue demonstrated the advantages of Quebec and British Columbia making common cause. Effective standards permit important producers to make informed decisions about participation.

Do you use digital resources in your teaching? Have you tried to share resources with your colleagues? Would you be interested in sharing with others if you were asked? Use our response feature below to answer these questions and to let us know what factors would be necessary to encourage you to contribute to a catalogue of educational resources such as the LR ?

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