Thursday, December 13, 2012

EdReNe 9th Thematic Seminar

I only recently found out about the existence of the EdReNe (Educational Repositories Network) Thematic Network, which looked really close to what we (as Agro-Know) are involved with in the context of our EU-funded projects like Organic.Lingua, VOA3R and agINFRA, as well as with the Organic.Edunet network. The aim of the EdReNe network is to bring together these web-based repositories of learning resources with content owners and other stakeholders within education in order to share, develop and document strategies, experiences, practices, solutions, advice, procedures etc. on the organisation, structuring and functionality of repositories. The overall goal is to improve the provision of and access to learning resources.

The 9th EdReNe Seminar took place in the Hague, Netherlands, between 10 & 11 of December 2012, hosted by the Open University. The Seminar was themed "Digitisation of the curriculum" and included a number of presentations plus 2 keynote speeches related to various aspects of digital collections and repositories, both from a user and a technical point of view. The Seminar was attended by almost 50 participants from 11 countries, all of them involved in the context of educational repositories such as project and content managers, teachers, technology experts, curriculum and content developers etc. The full version of the agenda of the seminar is available here.

I participated in the Seminar as a member of the Organic.Lingua project and made a presentation titled: "Developing a network of content providers: The case of Organic.Edunet". The presentation provided information on the Organic.Edunet network, the tools and workflows used within the network and focused on the multilinguality aspects provided by the Organic.Lingua project. The presentation included information about the current content providers of the network, the Organic.Edunet IEEE LOM metadata application profile and OA-AE ontology, as well as the Organic.Edunet Web portal. The presentation was well-accepted and there were some questions about e.g. the lack of the Dutch localization and resources, as well as the factors of the success of this portal (presenting the analytics of the portal always draws the attention of the audience - I have noticed that quite a few times in the past!). It was only the second thematic network presented in the Seminar, as the rest of the presentations were more general, discussing tools and applications for a wider audience. You can find almost all the presentations delivered during the Seminar here.

I had a really good time meeting various people who are working on more or less the same area as we do, exchange ideas and find common ground for potential collaboration in the future. Even though I liked most of the presentations of the seminar, I especially liked the following ones:
  • EUscreen, by Erwin Verbruggen, which described an EU project that had to do with large collections of audiovisual material. In fact, one of the tools used for the metadata curation was the one that we also try these days, called MINT. In addition, the EUscreen project made an excellent use of Web 2.0 tools, which I really liked.
  • Connecting the dots: the pieces we need to digitalize the curriculum, by Dr. Fredrik Paulsson, as he detailed the use of the educational metadata, other than the IEEE LOM ones, which I found really interesting.
  • Elevplan in Denmark : 10 years use of digitized curriculum in vocational education, by Folmer Kjær, which described a web-based educational documentation and planning tool for VET, in which we are also interested due to our involvement in EU projects that develop training curricula (in the agricultural context).
  • I also liked a presentation by Wim Muskee, who presented an automated way to create metadata records for Wikipedia articles, based on the classification already existing in Wikipedia and enriched with algorithms that provided keywords and other information, based on the frequency of specific terms in the text. It provided almost the same results as the crawler that we started using for the same purpose (creating metadata records for resources that are not described with metadata but are available online) but following a different approach.
Unfortunately I missed the majority of the presentations made on the second day of the seminar, as I had to rush to the airport in order to catch my flight back to Athens. I hope that the presentations will soon be available online, through the EdReNe website. After this short experience, I have to admit that I am already looking forward to the next EdReNe seminar!