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Discussion Topic - What was your experience?
Teachers participating in the eQNet project have collaborated on developing 8 criteria to identify learning objects that have the potential to be re-used in multiple contexts and across national borders. In this category, we ask teachers to describe the process and challenges they encountered in developing these criteria.

Please describe the process and challenges you encountered in developing TW criteria.

What kind of expectations did you have when you first started this process?

What did you find challenging? How have your expectations been met or have you been surprised (why)?

Finally, what do you think are the most important TW criteria?

Please answer as fully as possible these questions.

A minimum of 3 sentences per post but more is always welcome!
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RE: Discussion Topic
eqnet travel well creative commons criteria
06/07/11 13:46 as a reply to Elena Shulman.
Hi everybody

The first thing I did in the development of travel well criteria was to find resources that had a strong interactive dimension. This was because I work with young children, and for these children, those activities are more stimulating and motivating. The fact that the resource had a small amount of text was also very very important, because this is the best way for teachers colaborate and share resources with colleagues from other countries and at the same time, allows pupils to work in the classroom without the teacher permanently monitoring their work. Of course the fact that the resource is free is also a condition to be a travel well resource.

When I started this process I was expecting to find a large number of resources to use in the classroom with my pupils, and at the same time, to share with others some resources I normally use, and discuss with other teachers the good things and bad things about some resources and how we can use them in our teaching.

The most difficult thing to do was to find resources that meet an important criteria which is the Term of Use of some resource. It wasnt easy to find resources under a Creative Commons License and so, it's always difficult to use those resources in our classroom.

For me, as a teacher I want resources that bring innovation to my classroom, so children can be more motivated to learn. They are young kids so giving them the opportunity to use visual and interactive resources is the best way of maintaining their motivation. However, I understand that the legal issues are essential to have a regulated system, so of course the License Status is something we need to remember when we share digital resources.

Best regards,
Rui Lima e Silva
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RE: Discussion Topic
06/07/11 17:11 as a reply to Elena Shulman.
I tried to find material which is suitable for me and I can use it in the classroom. It should be easy to use, has simple instructions and must attract students so this project of searching TW criteria was very useful for me and I did what I usually do when looking for inspiration what to use in the classroom
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RE: Discussion Topic
06/07/11 19:11 as a reply to Elena Shulman.
Choosing a travel well it’s hard work. Fist, it must be a digital learning recourse, so the focus must be on learning. The first question in my mind when I choose a travel well is:

Does this resource promote a motivating learning experience?

If the answer is yes, then the a next question arrives:

Can it be use by any student in Europe?

This question drives me to analyze some characteristics of the resource; the most important one is the language barrier: written or spoken.

In this matter one of the following criteria must be met:
- There are versions of the same resource in various languages.
- The resource has little or no language use.

Sometimes, the visual quality of a resource and the non verbal communication used in that resource is so good that even in the presence of some use of written or spoken language, everyone can understand the resource.

A third question arrives, that is linked to the first one:

Does the resource promote interaction and feedback?

This is a way to promote to the students an engaging experience that can help them engage in the learning process.
The next question:

Is the resource free and as a clear license agreement? Those it have a creative commons license?

A “no” to any of these four questions, and the resource would fail my travel well criteria.

Sometimes it was hard to see that a so nice resource, had failed one of those criteria (it was a almost travel well), and this was hard to accept.

When I started this process I was hoping to learn about digital learning resources and share and receive knowledge of interesting resources, this goal was clearly achieved.

My surprise wasn´t the quality of the word wide available resources nor the many available for free and with creative commons license. My greatest surprise it was to find that there are many travel well resources but there are so much more, very good resources, that can´t met the travel well criteria.

The most important travel well criteria are those 4.

If I had to chose only one, I would use Rui Lima’s words: “resources that bring innovation to my classroom, so children can be more motivated to learn.” If a resource meets this specification without doubt it’s a travel well.
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RE: Discussion Topic
07/07/11 09:49 as a reply to Elena Shulman.
The hardest thing for me in choosing TW resources is trying to imagine how they can be integrated in different educational contexts. For I think the most important is not the resource in itself but the ways it can be used in the classroom. And the classroom practices, even in the same scientific area, can be quite different from country to country.
Of course the TW criteria are all very important but maybe the “Intuitive and easy to use” is the better synthesis for them all. If a resource is intuitive it must be easy to use by others, even without to much text and the methodology should be self evident, at least for teachers of the subject area.
For these collections I tried to analyze TW criteria one by one and see how they work. I think collections are more difficult to select because they are often organized has a set of lesson plan more based in text.
I’m used to analyze the quality of educational resources, using quality criteria grids, but it’s a new challenge to add to this the TW criteria.
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RE: Discussion Topic
28/07/11 13:43 as a reply to Elena Shulman.
The task has been very challenging but at the same time very rewarding.
When I started this process I have to admit I thought that it is quite easy to find the resources,
that would fulfill TW criterias, but that certainly was not the case.

I had been using a lot of internet in my teaching before I started this task and I have to say that this process has changed a lot of my attitude toward the resources of the internet. By time being I have learned to read in whole new way those resources at the internet. At the moment, when I use the digital resources , I think a lot of TW criteria. It is very rewarding to find a good resource and to use it in my teaching . The pupils are motivated and excited to use TW-resources. I had always thought that the language would be a problem with my younger students, but that is not the case.

I have spent a lot of my time trying to find finnish resources , that would fulfill the TW- criterias , but that has not been easy. Finnish resources are usually language dependant.

When I use the resources in my teaching I want to get the up to date information and to get more information than what the textbooks can give and that those resources would motivate and inspire my students . It is important that the resource is easy to use and it is the language independent.
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RE: Discussion Topic - What was your experience?
02/09/11 16:49 as a reply to Elena Shulman.
This task was very challenging but also quite hard for me because, while doing my research, I had the strong feeling that learning objects depend a lot on the culture of the country in which they have been developed. Most of the good LOS produced in the South part of Europe are as a matter of facts completely useless out of the National borders because they have too much text. That’s why I decided to carry on my research only looking for resources which ought to be visual, intuitive, better if with no text at all, creative, stimulating and free, of course.
It was not easy to find resources without any text, but I thought that nowadays English could be used as a “lingua franca”, so I preferred those resources who had few text in English if it was not possible to eliminate the written parts at all.
Anyway, visual resources with no text at all would be highly preferred .
The possibility to translate the language parts would increase the number of good resources available for teachers especially in those countries where foreign languages are not well known.
About the kind of resources found…Well, I must admit that I am strongly influenced by the fact of using an interactive whiteboard in my lessons, so I would prefer open resources which can be manipulated and embedded by the teacher into the lesson depending of the children needs more than closed Los which give an immediate feedback to children.
As other EQnet teachers, I have encountered problems with the Terms of Use of the resources. Few resources are under a Creative Commons License: legal issues are important, I know, but most of the teachers are more interested to the educational value of the resource more than legal issues, as they think that there would be no problems if the resource is being used only within the School.

Best regards.

Francesca Panzica, Italy
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RE: Discussion Topic - What was your experience?
08/09/11 11:43 as a reply to Elena Shulman.
Since I’ve been working for many years with Länkskafferiet (a referatory for educational use and is meant to be a pedagogical aid for Swedish pupils, 5 to 18 years of age, in their search for useful information on the Internet) my focus in the process has been to find usable resources on learning and that the resource can be easily used in the classroom. It should also inspire and motivate the students to explore and learn. I think it is important that the resource should be interactive since it is the best way to stimulate young students.

From the start with this process in the eQNet project I expected to find a lot of resources which are easily used in the classroom to share with other teachers in the EU. I knew it would be hard to find these resources according to the TW criteria, but it was even harder than I had foreseen. It was very difficult to find resources that included all the TW criteria. It turned out that it was a lot easier to find resources that have two-three of the TW criteria.
For instance resources
• that can be used in any environment and runs on multiple platforms
• can be easily used without any guidance
• easy to use and intuitive and also interact.

It is hard to find resources according to the clear license status especially under a Creative Common License. It is also hard to find resources that are language independent.

I think the most important TW criteria is if it is intuitive and easy to use. This makes it easy to use in the classroom, and it will also inspire and stimulate the students, especially the young students. It is important that there are not a lot of instructions to read instead it should have a user-friendly and intuitive interface so the students can easily start and practise.
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RE: Discussion Topic - What was your experience?
20/09/11 20:26 as a reply to Elena Shulman.
There are in my country very good LO's for physics, but they have inside a lot of text. It was a big problem to find the LO's without text. And I have thought – is this LO interesting for teachers and students in other countries or only in my own country? I think the most important Travel Well criteria is a small amount of text.
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RE: Discussion Topic - What was your experience?
28/09/11 15:44 as a reply to Virginija Bireniene.
Before eQnet project I have used interned resources only time to time in my classroom. During my work in this project I found lots of very useful resources what improved my lessons and they brought higher motivation for my students.
But it is not very easy to find resources with all TW criterias.
I had problem especially with LANGUAGE. Many interesting resources are in national language and text in these cases is necessary.
I tried to found resources based on visual topics or with short English text.
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RE: Discussion Topic - What was your experience?
03/10/11 08:35 as a reply to Elena Shulman.
After work on one from previous projects that was aimed also on digital learning resources – Calibrate – I found that it is very important to have something like common consensus what is for all of us – European teachers from different countries – interesting and what is not interesting. In other words what is and is not travel well. In Calibrate we were looking for resources that could be used in more than one educational system, we were improving searching tools etc. but we did not follow any special criteria, we just relied on our intuition. So, it was very interesting to take part in the process of developing exact criteria of TW feature.

The process of creating and improving of TW criteria from beginning (we started once more with subjective view on this topic / feature in the first year of the project) to the situation when we have now collection of real TW criteria is corresponding to my expectations. I see the most of difficulties in crossing the barrier between subjective and objective perception of what is TW and what is not TW (own subjective feeling of what is or is not travel well X objective TW criteria).

I thing that first, before we start with evaluation of TW feature, it is important to think about the resource itself – what is digital learning resource and what is not. From this point of view, I do not prefer TW criteria like “interactivity” and “intuitive and easy to use”, because for me are these criteria not criteria of TW but criteria of digital learning resource – digital learning resources in my opinion must be always interactive and use of them intuitive. My candidates for most important TW criteria are “Trans-national topics” and “language independence”.
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