CALIBRATE project Final Report published
The Final Report of the 30-month CALIBRATE project has now been published. Led by EUN and supported by the European Commission’s Information Society Technologies (IST) Programme, CALIBRATE ended in March 2008. Its key aims were:
- to support greater collaboration between Ministries of Education related to the exchange and reuse of learning content in schools;
- to develop strategies and tools to support collaborative learning based on this content.
CALIBRATE involved research activities related to brokerage system architectures for learning content repositories, collaborative learning environments and semantic interoperability of content.
Far from coming to a full stop in March, CALIBRATE was also a service-oriented project designed to add value to the ongoing services provided by national educational content portals. Along with the MELT project and new ASPECT project, CALIBRATE has also helped European Schoolnet to implement its strategy for a new Learning Resource Exchange (LRE) service for schools that will be launched later in 2008.
CALIBRATE carried out a two-stage evaluation, using a hypothesis-based approach, of how teachers worked with the CALIBRATE LRE portal and LeMill, a web community for authoring and sharing learning resources that was developed in the project. The general conclusion from the available evidence was that; teachers’ were willing and, given support, had the ability to use the LRE; and could collaborate successfully in LeMill.
European Added Value
Extensive information exchange and knowledge building took place between project partners in both old and new member states as well as important new research activities. The project evaluation concludes that the CALIBRATE LRE and LeMill were especially important for Eastern European countries, successfully catalysed modernisation processes in these countries and stimulated high quality use of digital resources in education.
Learning Resources that travelled well
CALIBRATE teachers appeared motivated to use resources from other countries and in other languages. An important finding was that 93% of respondents surveyed in the project said that would be interested in having access to digital learning resources from other countries, even if they are not in their own language. One of the most important issues of the pilot was to identify learning resources that teachers could use in all or most of the piloting countries – that is, resources that had the potential to ‘travel well’.
CALIBRATE has been a pivotal project in enabling EUN and its supporting Ministries to develop the strategic vision for a European Learning Resource Exchange that was first outlined in the CELEBRATE demonstration project. By working with Ministries in both old and new member states, it has been possible to “strengthen the integration of the ICT research effort in an enlarged Europe” via increased information exchange, collaborative knowledge building and new research. At the same time, CALIBRATE has enabled EUN to begin to put into place some of the key components that will enable it to launch a publicly available LRE service for schools at the end of 2008.
In addition, the LeMill learning toolbox developed in CALIBRATE has: produced distributable open source software and an attractive user-friendly learning platform; established a stable user base in both Estonia and Georgia; and built up an active global community of LeMill users.
Important new research in the project has also advanced the state-of-the-art related to semantic interoperability of curricula descriptions of learning resources and new personalised search approaches based on agent technology.
The setting up of a new LRE Working Group by EUN Ministries of Education in April 2008 confirms that work carried out in CALIBRATE remains of strategic importance and will be taken forward and led by Ministries themselves. This new body will be key to: defining criteria and mechanisms to improve the quality of LRE content; developing an operational plan for running a sustainable, publicly available LRE service; and determining how the LRE can relate to and work with providers of commercial content.
Download the CALIBRATE Final Report