Travel well resources

What makes some educational resources more useful for different cultural and linguistic contexts? This is a difficult question to answer. However, in a number of its projects, European Schoolnet has found that some resources in the LRE “travel well” and have the potential to be used in different countries and educational contexts. European Schoolnet is continuing work to define “travel well” quality criteria so that Ministries of Education and other LRE content partners can more easily identify those resources that can be shared and reused by teachers and learners across Europe.

Coordinated by European Schoolnet, the 3-year Comenius Multilateral Network called “eQNet ” is investigating this “travel well” idea and developing quality criteria for educational resources in the LRE and national repositories.

Criteria for Travel Well and Digital Learning Object Quality

Criteria and examples of resources that 'Travel Well'

1. Trans-national topics - MUST BE PRESENT

The resource addresses curriculum topics that could be considered trans-national. For example, teaching multiplication and division is usually covered in every national curriculum, but teaching the folklore of a very specific region is not. It can also be a resource well suited for use in multi-disciplinary or cross-curricular contexts.

  • Example: Pony Division: This resource from Arcademic Skill Builders is a division game for primary school students.

2. Knowledge of a specific language is not needed (language independence) - MUST BE PRESENT

The resource can be used without having to translate accompanying text and/or the resource is available in at least 3 European languages. For example, this might be a video where the narrative can be turned off, or it employs icons, images, animations, maps, etc. making its contents understandable for everyone.

  • Example: Tangram Puzzles: This resource from NLVM is available in three European languages (English, Spanish, French) as well as Chinese.

3. Stored as a file type that is usable with generally available software

The resource can be used in any environment (online and off-line) and runs on multiple platforms (also hand-held, IWB).

  • Example: Ape Clarification: This resource from the Khan Academy plays in any environment.

4. Methodological support for teachers is not needed

Subject teachers can easily recognize how this resource meets their curriculum requirements or how this resource could be used in a teaching scenario without further instructions. This criterion should not be used to evaluate the usability (technical qualities) of a resource.

  • Example: Tepla Fronta: This resource from Animovana Fyzika clearly relates to a curriculum with topics on atmospheric phenomenon.

Criteria for Digital Learning Object Quality

5. Intuitive and easy to use

The resource is intuitive to use in the sense that it has a user-friendly interface and is easy to navigate for both teachers and students without having to read or translate complex operating instructions.

  • Example: ChemSoc Timeline: This resource from the Royal Society of Chemistry presents a timeline users can browse with simple point and click commands.

6. Interactivity with no possibility of feedback

This kind of resource invites or requires a significant degree of user input or engagement, other than just reading something on a page and responding to it in an online or offline environment.   Forms of feedback can be simple or complex. Simple forms can be feedback on correct or incorrect answers in a drill/practice scenario. Complex forms can be lab activities that produce different results depending on user actions or hints to help learners complete tasks successfully. An example would be a geometric 3D shape that can be moved and turned.  Example of non-interactive resources are a worksheet you print out to hand out to students or a Power Point presentation used in a lecture but the presentation does not respond to student input.

  • Example: How Many Ducks: This resource from A+ Math is a simple interactive form providing feedback on correct or incorrect answers in a drill/practice scenario.

7. Clear license status

The user can easily find information about the license/rights (sometimes called Terms of Use or Copyright) this resource. These statements explain if users or educators are allowed to make copies, or remix or redistribute a resource, or use images from the site in a blog without contacting the photographer, or if they can put this resource in a Moodle, etc.  This license/rights information should be understandable for a typical user.

  • Example: Diffusion: This resource from the University of Alberta provides a Terms of Use/Copyright statement specifying how the resource can be used by educators and what may be considered a copyright infringement.