Will Ellis Head of Digital Learning ResourcesDrivers and blockers to teachers accessing, repurposing and sharing digital resources.
Learning Platform Service FrameworkLaunched December 2006
Aims to provide
value for moneytechnical standards and interoperabilitysimplify aggregated procurement
Consequences regarding educational content and resource discovery
Profile of technical standards raisedPlatforms for content search, management and delivery
Technical standards for learning contentTools for content development
A better understanding of content conformance to standards
Guidance on creating standards conformance content - SCORM application profiles
An abundance of tools both commercial and non-commercial for SCORM and QTI
Very poor conformance to standards (packaging, metadata, runtime, sequencing, XML)
SCORM Vs Core SCORM Vs Common Cartridge Vs Assets
Technical standards for resource discoveryBecta has been involved in work in the UK to identify and encourage the adoption of standards for enabling resource discovery:
Shibboleth and the UK Access Management FederationOIA-PMH for metadata harvestingATOM for content syndication SRU, SRW for searching
Some areas still require significantly more work
Metadata profile for educational content including vocabulary managementPersistent Identity
Despite this research there is not yet a cohesive national strategy for ensuring the adoption of standards and linking repositories to users.
Study Into drivers and blockers for sharing and reuseBecta commissioned a study in 2007 drawing information from:
A range of relevant journal articles and previous reports from agencies such as BectaConsultation with academics and researchers working in the relevant areasEvidence gathered directly from teachers via online discussion forums and email listsLevel 1 (L1) - TechnicalLevel 2 (L2) - Organisational,relating to the school, LEA, or GovernmentLevel 3 (L3) - Teacher-process, impacting upon the process by which teachers workLevel 4 (L4) - Teacher-emotional, caused by teacher feelings and emotions
Study Into drivers and Blockers for sharing and reuseTechnological (L1) drivers
Availability of Intranets, VLEs and other shared spaceAvailability of IntranetsAvailability of email, broadband access etcAvailability of and access to online discussion groups and email listsAvailability of software that promotes grouping of images, video clips etcAvailability of repositories populated by teachersThe online availability of complete schemes of workHuge quantity of freely available resources onlineEase in which some resources can be linkedEasier to locate software that allows repurposingDLRs are often more up-to-date than text booksNew technologies act as an affordance for sharingIncreasingly easy to share and upload
Technological (L1) blockers
Lack of learning design tools for non-traditional pedagogies of learningNeed more effective search engine ranking mechanismsToo many repositories where to start?Good content is not visible enoughDifficult to repurpose many resourcesOften difficult to tell whether the resource is currentMany resources are too large: should be smaller than a lessonRepositories are too difficult to usePoor resource quality and relevanceAbove school-level technological constraintsPoor learning platform design
Study Into drivers and Blockers for sharing and reuseOrganisational (L2) drivers
Potential to reduce costsSchools promoting an environment of innovationIncreases school efficiencyAvailability of support servicesFinancial incentive might promote sharingPromotes sharing and collaboration between schoolsSaves paperInformation is available from schools who have already trialled learning platformsOrganisational (L2) blockers
Few pro-active IT support mechanismsTraining focuses on how to use IT, not how to make good learning with itInsufficient or inadequate teacher trainingLittle year-group specific adviceFinding resources may be left to support staffPerceived competition with other local schoolsTeachers prevented by school or LALack of a widespread sharing cultureNo training regarding how to harness use of social recommendations and community taggingTraining occurs in isolation, with no follow-up to promote integration into teaching practicesToo few support staff to assist with creation and sharingManagers unsure how to deal with inappropriate useLack of training can lead to ineffective use of platformsSharing as a culture is less well developed than is taking as a culture
Study Into drivers and Blockers for sharing and reuseTeacher-process level (L3) drivers
Teachers want access to useful datasetsSpecial needs teachers have the mindset to alter and adapt from the normTeachers acknowledge that ICT can have a positive influence on studentsSaves teachers timeImproves quality of teachingTeachers like to incorporate e-assessments and quizzesTeachers increasingly influenced by studentsFurthers personal knowledge and employabilityCan reduce time and increase productivityAllows teachers to personalise learningSaves teacher timeTeachers can see how students work outside of schoolTeacher-process level (L3) blockers
Takes time to create materials relevant to a range of abilitiesRequires technical skills beyond teacher competenceIt can take more time to repurpose than createMany teachers prefer to create their own than re-purposeTeachers lack technical knowledgeLack of an extensive culture of re-purposingTeachers dont want to spend time repurposing, and at most will only make minor editsTeachers unsure how to search for and manage so much informationLow teacher and student technical abilityConfusion as to whether teacher owns the copyrightTeachers feel their resources are only relevant to their specific class contextFew teachers use learning platforms
Study Into drivers and Blockers for sharing and reuseTeacher-emotional level (L4) drivers
Teachers often curious to view other teachers workThe importance of a sense of ownershipTeacher-emotional level (L4) blockers
Lack of a sense of masterySharing is an informal, human action and should be recognised as suchTeachers need a sense of ownership over resourcesTeachers are very picky about resources that arent their ownTeachers unsure whether to trust anothers workValid concern that work will be stolen by othersFear of looking stupid in a very public forum
Quality of learning resourcesQuality Principles
Developed through extensive research and lessons learned from COL and NLN material developmentGuidance and advice documents produced for practitioners
Annual awards as part of the BETT show in LondonBecta creates the evaluation criteria and organizes the judging Lessons show that it is difficult to identify good content out of context
Content repositories in the UKCurriculum Online
Started Jan 2005 - UK Gov initiative involving ring fenced funding (eLCs) of 50 million (62.5 million euros)An online catologe of content (metadata registry) with tagging tool and vocabularies for providersLessons learned = poor metadata, no quality control
Other national/regional initiatives
National Grid for Learning site providing links to online contentNGfl Cymru and NWLGGlow - a central content repository for all Scottish schoolsJorum and FENC for FE
Content Repositories (commercial, charitable and state funded)Users of learning content
Content Repositories (commercial, charitable and state funded)Learning PlatformsUsers of learning contentStandards!
Content Repositories (commercial, charitable and state funded)Learning PlatformsUsers of learning contentResource discovery serviceStandardsCompeting resource discovery service?Quality
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T+44 (0)24 7641 6994F+44 (0)24 7641 1418Ebecta@becta.org.ukwww.becta.org.uk
Title slide of presentation.Aim of this reviewTo discover the key drivers and blockers to teachers using digital learning resources (DLRs) created by others when lesson planning and teaching. This information will then be packaged and disseminated to key audiences in the hope of increasing teacher use of pre-existing DLRs rather than creating their own.Sources of informationThis review directly quotes evidence dated from 2004 onwards from the following sources:Peer-reviewed journal articles covering a wide breadth of international education settings, from primary and secondary to FE and HEDocuments and articles from various UK education agencies (e.g. Becta)Comments from academics and researchers working in relevant fieldsAnecdotal evidence collected from UK primary, secondary and FE teachers via online discussion forums and email lists
The Quality PrinciplesWork on this was completed in March 2006 building on existing knowledge of quality standards such as those applied to Curriculum Online, NGfL, and NLN. The principles were developed through research and consultation with partners such as QCA, TTA, NCSL, JISC, Futurelab as well as with commercial companies and groups and individuals representative of the projects audiences. Within the aims of this work were the development of sample toolkits for practitioners and advice documents for schools and post-16 providers. Case studies were commissioned based the BETT Award winners 2008, again with the aim of being able to promote the principles and encourage adoption. The Team have repurposed the Quality Principles guidance for teacher trainers as part of the 2007/8 IA05 project work, together with exemplification of how they can be used in reviewing and choosing quality digital learning resources for the learner and the benefits of choosing resources using the criteria. This information is published on the NEN, Teachernet and Becta Websites. The principles were not developed with the intention of enabling a content or provider quality accreditation system but provide information and experience that could support such a process.The BETT Awards The BETT Awards were started in the late 1990s by BESA and Emap with Becta providing support from 2002 onwards. Funding has previously been provided by the DfES and is now given directly by Becta. Bectas role has been to ensure that the testing and judging processes are robust and meet the needs of the e-Strategy. Becta has used the awards as a way of helping practitioners identify ICT products suited to their needs and promoting innovation and creativity. Categories have evolved over the years but normally include digital learning resources and ICT technology used to deliver learning experiences in the classroom or support leadership and management. The awards have faced the ongoing challenge of having to ensure that they deliver value for money by supporting improvements in the education system as the demand for resources changes. Recently it has been acknowledged that the awards should be less product focused and take effective use into greater consideration. Another challenge has been the requirement to identify resources that meet standards of quality whilst at the same time identifying and promoting innovation. The providers of resources generally support the awards however a range of views are apparent and consideration of the need for improvements is required. The work of the awards team has been supported by expertise from across Becta, in particular technical testing and the content directorate who have been instrumental in developing the evaluation criteria and most recently ensuring consistency with the quality principles.Becta is currently reviewing the Awards for the coming year with an interest in ensuring that the appropriate messages are given that keep pace with our strategic objectives. A rationalisation and reconsideration of the evaluation criteria is being considered, again in line with work Becta is involved in to help identify quality in the complex market.
Curriculum Online The Curriculum Online website and catalogue has been managed by Becta since January 2005. Curriculum Online was part of the UK Government's drive to transform teaching and learning in schools by improving access to ICT and multimedia resources for all pupils. To help bring about this aim, the Government set aside substantial funds for schools in the form of electronic learning credits (eLCs). The Curriculum Online website provided an online catalogue of digital learning resources approved for purchase with eLCs. It allowed teachers to search throughthousands ofresource records according to curriculum subject. The COL portal provided information on resources that could be bought directly from the content provider with eLCs, as well as identifying resources that are free. In order to be approved for inclusion in Curriculum Online the content provider had to undergo a series of checks including technical quality, relationship with the national curriculum and checks in relation to the providers financial status.Curriculum Online has always registered content providers on an inclusive basis and has not operated any quality control other than minimal eligibility described above. During its lifetime Curriculum Online approved nearly 5,000 content providers. In the final year there were around 10,000 products in the online catalogue. Consistently 95% of the recorded eLC spend has been with just 50 content providers.The final year's 50 million allocation of eLCs brought the overall total of funding to over 500 million since the Curriculum Online Project started. The funding of eLCs will cease at the end of August 2008 at which point the Curriculum Online service will come to a close. The closure of the COL service is in keeping with Bectas role as a strategic body and not a service provider. Feedback on the closure of the service was invited from industry by directly contacting the top 50 suppliers using the service and through the COL site. No response was given to this invitation.Prior to closure consideration was given to the potential of the COL metadata registry being used to enable the development of a commercial service to support resource discovery. It was determined that this would not be an appropriate cause of action as the COL name could not be transferred to the potential service provider, and that reuse of the COL metadata would need to be negotiated between the new service providers and the originators of that data. It is also considered that re-evaluation of this metadata should be advisable, along with further development of the tagging tool and metadata profile.The impact and opinion of Curriculum Online has been well evaluated. A number of research papers were summarised in the final report of 2006.
Over recent years Becta has participated in a number of activities concerning efforts to improve users access to digital learning resources. The National Grid for Learning (NGfL) portal provided a gateway to a network of selected links to websites that offer educational content and information. The NGfL portal was launched in November 1998, as part of the Government's National Grid for Learning strategy to help learners and educators in the UK benefit from information and communications technology (ICT). It was funded by the Department for Education and Skills and managed by Becta. The NGfL closed in April 2006 as part of an effort to rationalise a number of different services provided for schools at the time. To some extent the service provided by the NGfL is now provided regionally through RBCs and the NGfL Cymru is still operational and in use.The North West Grid for Learning is one example that has developed. It has a membership of 18 Local Authorities which have set up a site containing content predominantly produced through public funding and is therefore IPR free and available to all schools under a Creative Commons licence.The NWGL is also seeking similar content on from other LAs on the basis that each contributing member would receive, upon making their own IPR free content available, the sum of the other participants. They are also talking to LSCs, Museums and Galleries and others. The activity involves the tagging, QA and 'SCORMing of content so that it can be downloaded and used in learning platforms.Collectively the RBCs have developed the National Educational Network website. The site is more than just a content repository and is optimised for data-intensive applications (including video conferencing). Becta supported the development of this site with technical guidance and funding during 2007. A further activity previously managed by Becta with the aim of supporting teachers access to digital content was the Teachers Resource Exchange (TRE). This site was established as a moderated database of resources and activities created by teachers. All resources on the TRE were checked by subject specialists to evaluate suitability and quality.Within the UK several other high profile activities have developed with less involvement from Becta. These activities should however enter into consideration when planning a national resource discovery strategy:www.glowscotland.org.uk Scotland have implemented a centralised repository called Glow with one vocabulary and all schools are connected.www.intute.ac.uk Intute is a free online service for higher and further education providing access to resources for educational research. All material is evaluated and selected by a network of subject specialists to create the Intute database.www.fenc.org.uk FENC is a charitable organisation supplying online materials and applications designed to help colleges, schools,universities and training organisations provide better results in a virtual learning environment and the wider blended learning space. It is also an online community of educational professionals encouraging sharing of resources for others to build on and tailor to their specific requirements. http://www.jorum.ac.uk/ Jorum is a free online repository service for teaching and support staff in UK Further and Higher Education Institutions, helping to build a community for the sharing, reuse and repurposing of learning and teaching materials.www.tes.co.uk/resources/home.aspx The TES resource bank allows teachers to share resources with other teachers, recommend their favourites and rate and review other teachers' contributions and recommendations. They can upload and download files, or simply point people to web pages theyve found useful.http://excellence.qia.org.uk The Excellence Gateway is an online portal for staff in the further education and skills sector with resources to support teaching and learning and leadership and management, examples of effective practice and self-improvement, teaching and learning materials, and suppliers of improvement services. Many of the resources come from previously existing repositories including the FERL site previously provided by Becta and aimed at post 16.