background image
18
DigiCULT
sources.The public is no longer satisfied just to see
the items stored and shown in exhibits.'
So, how were they to get users interested? What
were the risks and opportunities?
F
INDING
E-
LEARNING
E
XCITEMENT
U
K consultant Jim Ayre could see a hazard in the
constant technology talk. `It is going to be very
difficult to excite small content developers about
learning objects while the discussion is just on appli-
cation profiles, metadata and interoperability, and
teachers and pupils,' he said. `Publishers that we are
working with on the CELEBRATE project are very
experienced in the learning field. But new ones are
not terribly excited about learning objects, yet. I
wonder why and I think it is because a lot of the
discussion is still on the standards and technologies,
not on what it is you actually get from the learning
experience.We need to get a feel for what teachers
and educators really want from this... what they get
excited about.'
Lorna Campbell had a neat way of putting it:
`They do not need to know what metadata is
running under the bonnet. It's our job to make it
work.'
Ian Huckvale
, an analyst in e-government and e-
learning at Simulacra Media, had one way around it.
He had the `unenviable task' of explaining
technologies to educational publishers. He told the
Forum: `One of the analogies that we came up with
was describing content packaging, sequencing,
aggregation and dis-aggregation as being the virtual
equivalent of using scissors, glue and a photocopier to
put worksheets together.That was something they
seemed to be able to grasp.'
It took a teacher to put it into the pedagogic
nutshell. Miguel Rodriguez Artacho is an assistant
professor and Director of Information System
Planning in the Vice-rectorate of New Technologies
in Madrid's UNED (Universidad Nacional de Educación
a Distancia).
26
He put it this way:
`Teachers are people who like to do things by
themselves, they like to change everything that comes
to them.They want to rearrange and reshape. So if
we provide learning objects as a black box they will
not use them.You need to give the teacher the
freedom to build personalised learning environments.'
The Hague's long, sinuous tramcars looped quietly
by outside the conference room windows on their
elevated tracks as the DigiCULT 14 talked of digital
rights, costings, quality assurance, semantics, legacy
data, fitness for purpose, qualitative metadata, slippage
of meaning, and life-long learning.
Forum Moderator Bruce Royan, a visiting
professor of Edinburgh's Napier University
27
and for
six years the man in charge of SCRAN (Scottish
Cultural Resources Access Network),
28
had set these
topics out as challenges for Forum focus.
R
EMEMBERING
M
ETADATA
R
IGHTS
A
t this point, Mike Collett, chairman of Europe's
CEN/ISSS
29
(Comité Européen de Normali-
sation Information Society Standardisation System)
Learning Technology Group and the UK represen-
tative on the ISO/IEC learning technology sub-
committee, SC36, set another bunch of targets:
`Persistence, relationships management (I think
this is one of the biggest challenges), multi-linguality,
multi-culturality and special needs.' He was also
concerned over metadata rights. He explained:
`A use case is: SCRAN has some photos on the
Web for which they have created some metadata.The
French want to translate it because it is also relevant
to their history and their slant on why such and such
a castle was there. But, their concept of victory or
loss in a battle could be very different... So, the
French want to translate that metadata, translate it
literally. But they want to create their own metadata
too ­ publish it and point it to the SCRAN material.
Understanding the rights of metadata tends to be
forgotten because we talk about the rights of the
object.'
The Forum had not thus far heard much from Mr
Collett. He had, perhaps, been saving himself for the
grand finale. As the discussion later eased down to its
5.30pm conclusion, the British expert was to present
a succinct, off-the-cuff précis of cultural heritage
issues for `everyone to follow'. His summation
encapsulated the Forum's thoughts neatly and is
reproduced on pages 20-21 of this Thematic Issue.
Meanwhile, Forum members identified further
challenges for the sector. Patrick Towell highlighted
the `lack of leadership and vision by EU member
26
UNED, http://www.uned.es
27
Napier University,
http://www.napier.ac.uk
28
SCRAN,
http://www.scran.ac.uk
29
CEN/ISSS,
http://www.cenorm.be/isss
Digicult_THI4_backup_13_10_03 24.10.2003 11:54 Uhr Seite 18