UK Agency Funds New Approach to Use of Digital Media

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A UK government and corporate consortium has announced a project to develop the next generation of digital learning software for schools. The £1.9 million R&D initiative, titled Project SILVER, will research the visualization of knowledge in the collaborative e-learning environment and develop a toolkit for educational use. The software platform will be independent of any specific subject domain and will allow teachers to add their own content.

The project will also develop a set of preloaded content relating to learning outcomes set out in the UK's National Curriculum. Teachers will be able to work with the predefined content bundles without modification or use them as a basis for developing lessons. A key part of the project will be to investigate new ways of delivering and content on newer hardware, including whiteboards and mobile devices.

With the software, users will be able to select multimedia assets related to a theme, visualize conceptual relationships associated with those assets and assemble them in different ways reflecting alternative perspectives. For example, a history teacher can assemble multimedia assets related to changing perspectives on the right to vote since the nineteenth century (such as photos, written testaments or modern-day videos).

This project, said Lady Bridgeman of the Bridgeman Art Library, "will help teachers and trainers to find, organize, model, link, comment on, annotate and augment any given subject matter."

The public-private effort involves five entities, the public Technology Strategy Board, which has provided £784,000 in funding; Lexera, which produces learning products and semantic content management technology; consulting and research firm Knowledge Media Institute; Bridgeman Education, an online museum resource for tutors and students; and the Bridgeman Art Library, an online source for images.

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About the author: Dian Schaffhauser covers high tech, business and higher education for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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