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DigiCULT
C
ultural heritage institutions are a repos-
itory for objects that could be used as
learning objects.To turn the material in
museums and libraries into something that can be
used for education it has to be structured in a certain
way. I think we need very skilled persons to do that
in such a way that teachers can use the learning
objects to develop their own lessons and courses', says
Miguel Rodriguez Artacho. He is assistant professor
at UNED, the Universidad Nacional de Educación a
Distancia (University for Distance Learning) and does
research on learning material specifications to model
individual and collaborative learning processes,
resources and tools.
`A figure that is often overlooked in e-learning
and distance learning is the teacher.When developing
learning material you should not only think of the
end-user, the student, but also of the teacher.
Learning is a process between teacher and students,
and teachers tend to have their own view of learning
and the way they use learning materials in class. I
think it is important that the learning materials give
teachers the opportunity to use their pedagogical
skills instead of prescribing to them how to use
the material.You should not provide them with
predefined courses, because they probably will
not use them.'
On the other hand, the content of cultural
heritage institutions is not readily accessible for
teachers. Artacho: `They can of course look at a
painting or go through a catalogue, but even if you
have the necessary background it takes a lot of effort
to structure these objects as building blocks for a
lesson or a course. A painting for instance carries the
weight of its own history and that of the period in
which it has been painted.Then there is the relation
of the painting with other paintings done in the same
period or before or after. For example, on Rem-
brandt's Night Watch a lot of books have been written
from different perspectives. For a teacher it is scarcely
possible to translate these mountains of information
into a 50-minute lesson.'
To be able to use and re-use the information
it has to be structured in such a way that teachers
can access it in different ways and with different
(learning) motives of their students in mind. By
`structuring' Artacho means that historical facts
and objects are linked together and placed in their
context. `A kind of ontology, a story or a concept,
which explains the how and why of the relations
between the objects and/or facts.These ontologies,
which link different objects and concepts, should be
made by experts to help teachers navigate through
the content.'
In order to help educators to re-use learning
objects in different frameworks and scenarios,
Artacho has been involved in the development of
the educational modelling language PALO. For this
language, he prepared a set of levels, which looks a
bit like the OSI seven-layer model for telecom-
munications (see diagram). `At the bottom level we
find elements and objects as they are catalogued by
B
RIDGING THE
G
AP BETWEEN
C
ATALOGUE
AND
C
OURSE
A
N
I
NTERVIEW WITH
M
IGUEL
R
ODRIGUEZ
A
RTACHO
,
U
NIVERSIDAD
N
ACIONAL DE
E
DUCACIÓN
A
D
ISTANCIA
(UNED), S
PAIN
By Joost van Kasteren
Digicult_THI4_backup_13_10_03 24.10.2003 11:54 Uhr Seite 12