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Re: [school-discuss] [Fwd: Which way to go?]

On Sun, Feb 17, 2002 at 08:06:42AM -0600, Joshua Walton wrote:

> 1. a repository for open source applications useful to education

there are some; see http://www.seul.org/edu/links.html for a serious list of
such repositories

> 2. open content learning objects available to the general public

in a sense, a search engine like "google" can loosely be considered an open
repository of learning objects... and boy do I make use of that in my
courses... but the usage is usually limited to making external links (and
essentially sending students away from the school's web environment ...
hoping they return eventually.  The only integration aside from links is 
in the form of cut and paste which is unsatisfactory because it is hard to
verify intellectual property permissions and because the pasted material
becomes static (and few things stay static these days)

Some of us here are considering what format such an open repository should
take so that we can more than make links and/or cut and paste.  I think
there is a concensus for using an XML format.  We are now about to vote (in
a participatory democratic style) on which existing XML format to base our
work on.  see http://knowplace.ca/schoolforge for a working discussion; and
exercise 5 for the list of proposed XML schemas to choose from.

A repository could be central like "google" (who can afford to do that?) or
decentralized like "napster" ... in either case, all learning objects should
be in the same XML schema.  The commercial world has just begun to do some
work in this direction using the IMS schemas or some slight variant of that.
There are no W3C approved XML for education schemas as of now ... although
we know they tend to approve schemas that are most widely accepted "by the
industry".  In our "industry", I suspect that would be IMS, but others have
said it felt more like SIF (in the USA anyways)

> 3. a community of like minded individuals (which i seem to have found at 
> least in part !)

indeed :-)

> For the projects that I work on now I am trying to stick to making them 
> open source / content. Since accepting my position in a K-12 school 
> district I have seen that an open nature to projects has an unexpected 
> benefit which is to foster teacher and parent communication in positive 
> ways. With open content parents are allowed more access to what their 
> children are learning. Parents have learned of specific projects and 
> contributed materials, time, and criticism. Also, past students who are 
> learning web technologies in college come back (virtually) to assist in 
> open projects / content.

That is a very interesting and uplifting anecdote!  Thanks.

> I am very pleased to have found this group and I read each posting 
> eagerly.

I am energized by your enthusiasm :-)