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 FAQ 

1. Why was the project called CALIBRATE?
2. How long was the project and what were its main phases?
3. Was CALIBRATE mainly a Research and Development project?
4. What is the difference between the CALIBRATE learning toolbox and a VLE?
5. How was the evaluation with schools organised?
6. What is the connection to the MELT project?

1. Why was the project called CALIBRATE?

All European IST Commission projects have an acronym. CALIBRATE (IST project 28025) stands for CALIBRATING eLearning in Schools. We chose this title for the project because we wanted to emphasise that it is building on existing advances that have already been made in three previous projects (CELEBRATE, ITCOLE, VALNET). In CALIBRATE we intended to both integrate and make adjustments to (or 'calibrate') the results of these projects in order to develop a user-friendly service for teachers who are interested in finding and using learning resources.
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2. How long was the project and what were its main phases?

CALIBRATE was a 30-month project running from October 2005 to March 2008. The CALIBRATE system was developed in three phases, with major features and new enhancements becoming fully available in September 2006, March 2007 and September 2007. Some 'expert' teachers were involved from the start of the project as co-developers of the CELEBRATE system and the first validation activity with up to 100 schools started in September 2006.
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3. Was CALIBRATE mainly a Research and Development project?

While the project carried out a number of research and development tasks (see CALIBRATE research objectives) the key aim was to provide a service to teachers who wanted to find learning resources/assets produced in several countries and to offer tools and support that would help teachers and pupils to use this content for collaborative learning.
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4. What is the difference between the LeMill learning toolbox in CALIBRATE and a VLE?

A Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) provides a way for teachers and learners to participate in and manage an online teaching and learning experience. There are various definitions of what constitutes a VLE but usually these online learning environments include some or all of the following features: communication and collaboration tools; tools to create online content and courses; online assessment and marking; integration with school management information systems. Depending on the features being offered, some developers of these systems prefer to call them Learning Management Systems (LMS), Learning Content Management Systems (LCMS) or Managed Learning Environments (MLEs) but these distinctions are not that important for most teachers.

The problem with many current VLEs is that they are often good at managing and organising resources but are limited when it comes to providing knowledge building activities and support for collaborative learning. The LeMill "learning toolbox"  in CALIBRATE is designed so that it provides both an environment for group-centred work and knowledge building activities but also provides the sort of course building tools found in more conventional VLEs or LCMSs.
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5. How was the evaluation with schools pilots organised?

The project evaluated the use of the CALIBRATE system, content and learning toolbox with representative schools in seven countries (Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Slovenia). Partners in CALIBRATE were identified and invited up to 100 schools in seven countries to participate in the project validation. They then worked with a smaller group of expert schools and a core group of advanced teachers who became co-developers of the CALIBRATE system and tools.
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6. What is the connection to the MELT project?

Like CALIBRATE, the MELT project is helping Ministries of Education and other partners to link learning content repositories in order  to make learning resources and assets more widely available to schools. The two projects were designed to work closely together so that a critical mass of learning resources/assets from both CALIBRATE and MELT could be made publicly available to schools via a new Learning Resource Exchange (LRE) service for schools that European Schoolnet and its partners will launch at the end of 2008. Approximately 40,000 learning resources and over 100,000 learning assets will then be available. Additional resources from LRE Associate Partners in both Europe and the USA will also be included in the LRE and the amount of content that schools can access will grow rapidly.
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