CALIBRATE formed a part of a group of IST projects supported by the European Commission's 6th Framework Programme to help strengthen the integration of the ICT research effort in an enlarged Europe. It built on the results of three successful IST projects under the European Commission's 5th Framework Programme (CELEBRATE, ITCOLE and VALNET).
The CELEBRATE project provided a demonstration of a European Learning Object Brokerage System for schools. 319 schools in six countries participated in the CELEBRATE pilots and had access to approximately 1400 standards’ compliant Learning Objects (LOs) developed in the project and over 2400 learning assets provided by both MoEs and commercial developers. At the end of the project in November 2004, interviews with Ministries and commercial providers highlighted that there was considerable interest in further developing the CELEBRATE brokerage system architecture as the basis for a European Learning Resource Exchange.
In the CALIBRATE project, the aim was to make it easier for repositories to join a federation; essentially the aim was to make this possible by making the CELEBRATE brokerage system available as independent services that could be used alone or in any combination. In addition, CALIBRATE also explored how agent-based approaches to resource discovery could be used to facilitate faster searches of the complete collections available in the federation.
The ITCOLE project showed how social constructivist ideas can lead to the development of innovative types of open source learning environments (Fle3) that support collaborative learning and knowledge building rather than the simple delivery of pre-packaged learning resources. However, the development of these sorts of environments is still at a very early stage. A key problem is that Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) are often designed to support collaborative learning or have been developed primarily to allow teachers and pupils to follow what are seen as more directed forms of ‘instruction’ based upon the use of SCORM compliant Learning Objects.
The goal in CALIBRATE was to advance the state-of-the art concerning learning platform development by integrating what are usually two quite distinct development methodologies - the first coming from a background in social constructivist pedagogies and collaborative knowledge building and the second coming from a background in SCORM and Learning Content Management Systems (LCMSs). By drawing on both these approaches, CALIBRATE developed a new open source toolbox (building on Fle3 and Plone/Zope) that could offer a much richer feature set and one which was developed in concert with practicing teachers. In support of this work, the project also carried out an empirical study of IMS Learning Design in order to determine to what extent it could successfully model “multi-learner” activities in a way that teachers can understand and find useful.
The EUN VALNET project was an accompanying measure funded by the IST programme to facilitate building knowledge about innovation in schools and help create the conditions for creating schools of tomorrow. It ran for 41 months (ending in August 2004) and was probably the largest project validation in schools ever undertaken in Europe.
The project improved our understanding of the effects and issues related to the introduction of innovative technological tools in schools, in particular the effect of the strong internal cultures in schools. It also led to a deeper understanding of the nature of validation and innovation in schools and identified a mismatch between an innovative tool and innovative practice
The CALIBRATE project used the VALNET methodology to train, support and work with a set of up to 100 schools in seven countries in order to involve teachers as ‘co-developers’ of the CALIBRATE system and evaluate the use of CALIBRATE resources and tools in real learning contexts. /multilanguage object