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European electronic collaborative learning resource launched

To support the growing interest in the Communication bit of ICT in education, the EU funded ITCOLE (Innovative Technologies for Collaborative Learning and Knowledge Building) project opened a site that agregates practice, resources, ideas and discussion about on-line collaborative learning. Not surprisingly, they want you to chip in.

The ITCOLE project has been around for a while, and has been mostly active in the elaboration of pedagogical models, design principles and technology for collaborative knowledge building. On the technology side, that has already led to further development of the Zope based Flex3 VLE, a range of synchronous tools like collobarative concept mapping from the Ants group at Murcia and a web based collaboration tool from the Fraunhofer institute.

Tools are all very well, of course, but only one facet of what the new site sets out to achieve. More widely, the idea is to kick start a community of practice that goes beyond a particular set of technologies, or even the limits of the ITCOLE project.

To do that, a firm commitment is made to let the users be the authors. Not without limits, mind, as all submissions for the news and idea bank will be vetted by "editors selected from the people actively participating in web site."

Judging by what's there at the moment, it seems to be working. This is no mean achievement, but perhaps to be expected from such a field. For anyone interested in using CSCL in their teaching practice, the idea bank is a particularly good resource, and bodes well for the sustainability of the site.

Apart from integrating practice in the field from across Europe (though there is a refreshingly Finnish flavour to proceedings at the moment- check out the mobile phone stuff), the site also raises the question whether that community could benefit from engaging with the IMS Learning Design crowd. Both are absolutely focussed on colloborative elearning, after all. Moreover, where the CSCL people have lots of the right tools, but no interoperability standard, the Learning Design community have the right standard, but not enough tools.

The Euro-CSCL website is where the goodies are, and more information on ITCOLE can be found on the ITCOLE website.

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