Friday, June 15, 2007

Meta data for education

Wikipedia has proven itself to be really valuable for educational purposes. This is best illustrated by the support the Wikimedia Foundation gets from Kennisnet. When other countries would follow the example of the Netherlands, the WMF would not have a cash crunch.

Given that Wikipedia is particularly used by students, it makes sense to provide a better service to the educational process. The IEEE-LOM is a standard way of describing learning object meta data. Meta data can be associated with many of the resources that exists in the many projects of the WMF. There are two issues to consider; the data is relational in nature and the data has to be made available.

At the Holland Open Software Conference I met Erik Duval who is a professor from Leuven and who has a wealth of expertise on the IEEE LOM. He astounded me when he said that people should not enter the IEEE LOM data, automated processes should. Given that Erik is in the organisation behind the IEEE LOM standard, it means that for some of the dialects of this standard such processes must exist.

The data is relational. With the functionality that we created for OmegaWiki, we can have relational data natively in a MediaWiki environment. It is just a matter of associating this data with the articles that need tagging. This is not rocket science but the application of parts that already exist.

For the Wikimedia Foundation supporting educational meta data is a great method of making its content more relevant. The use that it will generate in education will provide a powerful argument why providing sustainability and investment in its organisation is in the interest of the national educational systems.

I invite the Wikimedia Foundation to consider this, not only as a method of raising funds, but first and foremost as a way to make good on its aim; to provide information to the world.

Post a Comment