Experiences with the Learning Resource Exchange for schools in Europe
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This paper reports on the experiences of the first large scale effort to share educational resources for schools in Europe. As such it does not address authoring or the use of learning resources, but provides experiences of interest to any organisation wishing to act as an educational content broker, matching supply with demand.
Even though there are many educational resource repositories, they are many times inaccessible to teachers due to a number of reasons, such as not knowing about their existence, the different ways of describing the content, language barriers, etc. In order to overcome these difficulties, the Learning Resource Exchange (LRE) brings together educational content from trusted providers from all over Europe and makes it available again to interested parties. This requires the implementation of a number of technical solutions, including a so-called “federation of repositories” with a common application profile for the metadata standard used and its accompanying validation services.
Concerning educational content, this paper reports on the use of open content licenses and the difficulties of implementing them; the indexing of content by experienced professionals and by casual users; automatic translation and automatic metadata generation, and perceived pedagogical benefits of the resources provided.
By implementing and using a portal for the LRE, European teachers have obtained deeper insights in searching and browsing, finding the offered learning resources useful for the classroom and appreciating the cross-linguistic and cross-border use of content. The concept of an international portal was also considered as an important opportunity for cultural exchange and a way to broaden horizons in terms of getting new ideas for teaching from other countries.