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The DigiCULT navigator to cultural heritage for education
Experts consider education as one of the primary drivers for the future development of
the cultural heritage sector. Because knowledge becomes obsolete more quickly in the
Information Society, it is fact that learning does not end at the termination of school life
but will be a life-long experience. Life long learning has already become a reality.
Beyond the obvious economic benefits of a well-educated population, education also
plays a crucial role fostering integration and mutual understanding among citizens. A key
factor in this understanding is a knowledge of and respect for the historical traditions and
cultural expression of a European multicultural society. Digital cultural heritage may play a
key role in educational programmes, as cultural heritage institutions increasingly become
important providers for new pedagogical tools.
Cultural heritage information is high on the list of interests for individual learners.
Accordingly, when making decisions on priority areas for education, re-education and
upgrading, national governments should not neglect the importance of cultural heritage
information. Policies on digitisation of this information will be crucial in providing the
access that will be required in coming years.
This is not to say that national authorities have been negligent.The value and importance
of education is well known and many European Member States are already debating the
issue. Despite the lack of concrete policies, a body of experience exists from the projects
linking educational and cultural domains.As a result, national governments are in a strong
position to influence the market for educational material particularly in the area of cultural
heritage.
National governments and regional authorities should see educational use of
digital cultural heritage information as a key target of any national digitisation
programme.
Digitisation plans and programmes should be clear about the intentions and objectives with
regards to future use.Therefore, in drafting digitisation plans, national governments should
ensure that digitised resources can be used for multiple purposes, yet with educational use
being always on the list. In addition, national governments should encourage projects with
educational value. Such projects should actively foster the co-operation between content
providers and teachers as well as research institutions to create new educational content
based on cultural heritage resources.
The European Commission should fund a current assessment of the market for
educational use of digital cultural heritage information and best practice in the
field of educational-cultural projects.
For commercial content providers, educational exploitation is one of the more interesting
fields for cultural heritage resources. An assessment of the educational market for cultural
heritage products should go beyond the current view of market size and viability. It should
also include knowledge gained from the many projects that cross the educational-cultural
domain.
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