Kaleidoscope has not only gathered and partially generated a large and important collection of
research publications but also a number of other results, henceforth called “research objects”, materialised as software tools or packages as well as methodological tools (e.g., in the form of guidelines). Typically, these research objects have the potential to be applied and used in
innovative educational practices.
The idea of this initiative is to create an inventory of research objects (IRO) with adequate descriptions which covers a significant share of relevant examples from Kaleidoscope. The result of this initiative will not yet be a service to the outside world but a service to the Kaleidoscope community. However, some research objects from outside the network,
particularly from international initiatives related to or associated with Kaleidoscope, will possibly be included in this inventory.
The IRO will not include collections of (empirical) research data, since there is another parallel initiative for this purpose. However, it will be reasonable to exchange ideas between the two tasks and potentially coordinate their practical implementation.
The IRO should make use of a basic domain ontology (of TEL) to provide thematic search facilities and to derive similarity relations between the items. It pursues some of the original idea of a “Shared Virtual Laboratory” (SVL) but, given the limited resources, it will not be
possible to address interoperability requirements and to support cooperative development processes. For some of the objects, the authors may provide downloadable and executable versions, for others just documentations may be available. Other resources, in turn, may be available on-line, using web technologies. In this case, the IRO would of course provide the corresponding links. The IRO will however not only include descriptions of results, but also profiles of the providers/authors of these results.
Although the setting up of this inventory requires scientific background, it is meta-level task from a scientific point if view. The initiative supports the advancement of research and of scientifically grounded practice in TEL by facilitating and improving the access to and the re-use of existing research results.
The inclusion of external work can only be selective. The selection will be based on existing international collaborations, such as the G1:1 initiative around the theme of personal and especially mobile devices for learning or the NetCoil project in the area of inquiry learning.
The IRO will be available as an evolving component (in terms of content) of the CCI infrastructure. It will contain and represent a relevant collection of research objects from KAL members and some selective examples from outside. It will be possible to express thematic interests using a visual interface to the ontology and find
relations with research objects and providers. The presentation and demo will illustrate how this can be used to envisage new research collaborations, e.g. in the formation of future projects.
The initiative will proceed along the following line of activities:
To identify and collect research objects from within Kaleidoscope that can be shared and transferred within and beyond the KAL community.
The responsible team will not only send out a corresponding call to KAL but also actively and directly contact possible providers. Particularly external providers will be involved through direct, active contacting. The collection will be successively increased.
To develop a description scheme (metadata format) for exchangeable research objects.
To develop a description scheme (metadata format) for producers of research objects.
To develop an ontology of TEL research objects sufficient to characterise the envisaged results. This work cannot be exhaustive; the idea is to build on existing ontologies.
To collect research objects and producers from outside but related or relevant to Kaleidoscope and describe these.
To create the technical conditions for making the collection of research objects and their descriptions accessible within the KAL-CCI.
If this initiative were to be continued, it would have a great potential for incorporating European TEL research results on a broader scale.