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Iowa Schools To Tap Digital Resources from Statewide Repository

Iowa schools will shortly be able to access digital materials for use in classes from a statewide digital repository. Iowa's nine Area Education Agencies and seven community school districts are creating the central database using Pearson Education's Equella, a digital repository specifically for educational environments.

Schools will be able to use "e-curriculum" from the repository, named "reSOURCE IOWA," for free or for a discount. Expected to be online in summer 2011, the repository is also going to be used to help deliver online education in collaboration with Iowa Learning Online, a state project to help local schools expand student opportunities through online courses.

The service will allow teachers to search for materials to use in their lessons by grade level, curriculum area, keyword or topic, resource type, or essential skill as tied to Iowa education standards.

The database will contain videos, custom e-books, presentations, lecture captures, and other resources. The repository places no restriction on the media type or file size, and all of the materials are protected using the repository's permissions, digital rights management, and copyright functionality. Teachers can also contribute their own materials or reuse content from shared repositories from elsewhere in the world, such as those made available through the National Repository of Online Courses.

"Iowa's goal in creating a digital repository is to provide equity and diversity of curriculum for all of our students statewide--rural and urban," said Nancy Movall, ARRA ed tech grant specialist and project manager. "Through Equella, we will be able to provide our teachers and students with access to [educational material], be it courses, units, lessons, activities, or resources, and weave them together for a powerful learning experience so that all of our students benefit from engaging digital content."

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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