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					Digital content initiatives in the
        United Kingdom

                   Barry Kruger
           Head of Content Management
     British Educational Communications and
                Technology Agency



EMINENT 18-19 Nov. 2004
                      Background
Becta is the lead UK agency for ICT in education and
operates strategically within a canon of statutory and
non-statutory bodies:

- DfES, LSC (funding bodies)
- QCA/TTA/NCSL (partner agencies)
- Cabinet Office (e-Government policy)
- JISC/CETIS (strategic bodies for HE)

Since April 2004, Becta has a strategic remit for schools
and FE sectors.


EMINENT 18-19 Nov. 2004
                          Drivers
DfES 5 year strategy

  - Greater personalisation and choice
  - Opening up services to new and different providers
  and ways of delivering services.
  - Freedom and independence for frontline head
  teachers, governors and managers
  - A major commitment to staff development
  - Partnerships with parents, employers, volunteers
  and voluntary organisations



EMINENT 18-19 Nov. 2004
ICT procurement 4 layer conceptual architecture
Data services layer
Providing both a central data warehouse capability and a range of data
mining tools


Learning services layer
Improving the management of learning and the availability of content


Connectivity layer
Connecting schools to other levels of the architecture, to each other, to the
wider educational community and the Internet


School infrastructure layer
Providing system supply, support and integration services to schools



EMINENT 18-19 Nov. 2004
EMINENT 18-19 Nov. 2004
Improve quality of                                             Influence the
  content and                                                development and
    software                                                 maintenance of a
                             Realisation:                   coherent and well
                             adoption and                   balanced provision
                                                             of content that is
                              embedding                       easy to access
                             Content
                            Influencing and
                               improving
                                 content
                                provision,
                               quality and        Technical
       Definition of            selection
       quality                                    architecture
       (What you want)                            (Making it
                                                  available)

                              Lead the coordination,
                           development and adoption of
EMINENT 18-19 Nov. 2004   robust systems, standards and
                                   specifications
 Developing content strategy
Underpinning values:

- Quality
- Accessibility
- Interoperability

…through common standards

Vision – working towards „learner centred‟ or
personalised learning (14-19 green paper)

EMINENT 18-19 Nov. 2004
           Strategic objective 1
Improve the quality of content and software
Establish, maintain and apply a content quality
framework that will drive up all aspects of
content development and increase the provision
of high-quality resources.




EMINENT 18-19 Nov. 2004
           Strategic objective 2
 Influence the development and maintenance of a
 coherent and well balanced provision of content
 that is easy to access


 Plan and lead on the implementation of an
 efficient and effective web-based solution
 (drawing on the best of existing services) for
 learners to locate, procure where necessary, and
 access good quality content.



EMINENT 18-19 Nov. 2004
           Strategic objective 3
Lead the coordination, development and adoption of
robust systems, standards and specifications

Work with government, appropriate agencies,
standards bodies and developers to agree, develop
and adopt common standards and specifications
which support the personalised learning agenda, e.g
in resource discovery, accessibility, interoperability
and digital rights management.




EMINENT 18-19 Nov. 2004
               Current activities
  • National Learning Network content
  procurement programme: Round 4
  • Curriculum Online
  • Content Advisory Board
  • Standards coordination




EMINENT 18-19 Nov. 2004
What is Curriculum Online?
“Curriculum Online will help to drive up standards in schools and
reduce teacher workload by offering teachers easy and effective
access to a wide range of digital learning resources across the
curriculum.”

The programme comprises:

• A national portal
• Funding to schools
• System of quality assurance for online digital resources
• Technical standards programme



EMINENT 18-19 Nov. 2004
              Current position
Activities are currently focussed on four fronts:

• distribution of funding to schools
• accreditation of suppliers
• maintaining and developing Portal
• development and implementation of interoperability standards




EMINENT 18-19 Nov. 2004
       Distribution of funding
Funding to schools comes in the form of E-Learning Credits
(ELCs), being made available through a ring-fenced Standards
Fund grant.

The allocation for 2002-2005 is £300 million.
The funding is for the pre-school-16 sector in England only.




 EMINENT 18-19 Nov. 2004
            Quality assurance
 ELCs can only be spent on Curriculum Online accredited suppliers
 who have completed the registration process and received the
 COL badge.

 Becta is running the registration process for commercial suppliers,
 which involves:
 • technical checks
 • qualitative checks
 • financial checks
 Groundrules can be found at:
 http://register.curriculumonline.gov.uk/

 Non-commercial, teacher/school created resources are processed
 through the Teacher Resource Exchange.
EMINENT 18-19 Nov. 2004
  Approaches to data handling
Curriculum Online:                Teacher Resource Exchange:

• catalogue of metadata records   • repository of teacher-generated digital
• LOM-based application profile   resources
• no hosted content               • objects described by structured metadata
• links to external objects       • LOM-based application profile

Enables
                                  Enables
• specific search and browse
mechanisms output of XML          • varied and specific search and browse
instances                         mechanisms
                                  • output of XML instances




 EMINENT 18-19 Nov. 2004
 Partnerships and interoperability
Although slightly different systems, the use of LOM as a base
schema enables interoperability between the COL and domains
such as TRE.

Becta has instigated a quality assessment process to take the best
teacher-generated content from the TRE and make it available
through Curriculum Online.

The process:
Content uploaded to TRE – Moderated – Live – Quality assessed
against COL eligibility guidelines – output to COL




 EMINENT 18-19 Nov. 2004
       Interoperability in action
                                                             Partner site
                                                  XML feed


                                                             Partner site


    Content                                       XML dump

     object                                                  Partner site
                    TRE content
    Content         manageme       TRE XML
     object          nt system    database
                                                             User query

    Content
     object                                       Dynamic
                                                 templates   User query



                    Moderators                               User query




No metadata       Tagged –        Structured   Structured
– context free    context added   storage      output



 EMINENT 18-19 Nov. 2004
Moving towards content packaging

Next step is to integrate content packaging data into a
system which has only been designed for resource
discovery.

Schools sector is young for these technologies, and
we‟ve found that there are a variety of different
technologies being sold under the banner „VLE‟.

LP conformance regime, and CP best practice
guidelines – both designed to aid teachers.



EMINENT 18-19 Nov. 2004
         National Learning Network

We also have the benefit of experience with the
NLN materials programme: a large procurement
programme for Scorm compliant learning
materials, available disaggregated or online via
the CAT.

£7 million investment for Round 4.

http://www.nln.ac.uk/materials/


EMINENT 18-19 Nov. 2004
  Where does that leave us?
With some BIG questions!

- We are asking a lot from industry/content
providers
- LOM does not equate to true interoperability,
although sets us up for it
- Digital Rights Management: rights tracking
- Nations: sharing, embedding across UK
borders


EMINENT 18-19 Nov. 2004
Making it easier for content providers
Becta tagging tool enables generation of XML instances
without technical knowledge

- intuitive user interface
- step-by-step approach to tagging
- file and folder management
- multiple file upload
- can import and display any DC or LOM instance
- integrated help facility
- automatic validation
- integral SOAP and FTP interfaces
- displays from base schema configuration




EMINENT 18-19 Nov. 2004
               Existing
                record          • file management
                                system



 Supplier
                              Tagging                                       Curriculum
 product                        tool                   Metadata               Online
                                                        record
            • intuitive GUI                                                   portal
                                     Metadata                                database
                                      record        • integral SOAP
                                                    • integral validation

                                Local
                              directory




EMINENT 18-19 Nov. 2004
Making it easier for content providers
It would be better not to have to tag at all!

Becta is conducting research into semi -autonomous/ intelligent
agents

- Proof of concept with Autonomy: uses base algorithms to deduce
meaning from bodies of text
- Can be „trained‟ on exemplar materials
- Uses „catalogue servers‟ to store profiles and metadata
- Can input and output XML

Some issues:
- initial training is resource intensive
- works better with defined „ontologies‟ or concept systems

EMINENT 18-19 Nov. 2004
Working towards true interoperability

 - UK LOM core - metadata spine
 - JISC schemas registry
 - Vocabulary repository
 - investigating federated repository
 architectures




EMINENT 18-19 Nov. 2004
Central vocabulary repository
A vocabulary management application to provide enterprise level
management and integration within and between different
controlled vocabularies and thesauri.

The key requirements :
- To map between equivalent terms in different vocabularies
- To identify terms from different end points within a single
hierarchical taxonomy as having an equivalent meaning and then
representing that within the classification scheme. The ultimate aim
would be to provide a tag once, classify many times approach
- To communicate via web services or another open protocol with
other applications such as front end end portals or back end
tagging applications.
- To support an evolving taxonomy and be capable of integrating
new taxonomies with minimum effort.

EMINENT 18-19 Nov. 2004
Central vocabulary repository
         Programm         Schemes
         e of Study       of Work




  GCSE                              National
                                    Strategies



                                                    Program           Schemes
                                                    me of             of Work
                                                    Study


                                                 GCSE          Core             National
                                                              terms             Strategies




EMINENT 18-19 Nov. 2004
                     Digital rights
The one issue holding up content sharing and
repurposing: suppliers are worried about losing control
of their intellectual property.

Becta is investigating ways of persistently identifying
content and looking at registry systems

Again there is the issue of conflicting solutions
(DOI:Purl?)

However, TSO has set up a UK DOI handle server and
is running POCs which Becta will participate in.
EMINENT 18-19 Nov. 2004
Digital content initiatives in the
        United Kingdom
                      Barry Kruger
              Head of Content Management
                         Becta

                 barry.kruger@becta.org.uk



EMINENT 18-19 Nov. 2004

				
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