Intelligent Automation, Inc., Rockville, MD
firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
This short paper describes our approach toward building user-centric education applications using metadata. We first offer a brief description of our own metadata dictionary and its relation to those described above, followed by a description of our current application areas.
We first developed our dictionary in late 1995, independently of the metadata work in digital cataloguing (Dublin Core) and online clearinghouses (GEM/ERIC). Yet, as one might suspect, there are many similarities. The elements of the Dublin Core map directly to elements in CDL. The CDL can be used to describe resources that serve as part of a lesson plan (e.g., a Web page which presents activities for learning about solar energy, appropriate for students in 5th grade), similar to GEM. Finally, and in relation to LOMG/IMS, the CDL provides support for building sophisticated knowledge applications (beyond searching and indexing) by identifying those resources that can most appropriately match the needs of an individual student in a given learning context.
The CDL was developed as one part of a formal and implementational approach to automating individualized lesson plan generation. The primary goal of our work has been to address the individual needs of students, including the special needs of students with disabilities. The CDL is firmly grounded in current theories of learning, educational psychology, curriculum and instruction, and teacher decision-making.
User-centric navigation with COOL links: Since early 1996, we have been working on a multi-ended and computed link type, termed a COOL link (or Collection Of Objects Link). A COOL Link is associated with a collection of component resources, via their metadata characterizations. (See  in these proceedings for more information.)
User-centric searching with SeekEZ: Our most recent efforts have been devoted to improving the search process by providing personalized resultant sets. Similar to the metadata search engines that are being built today, our notion of search would likewise key on specific, standardized metadata tags. The difference is the amount of allowable personalization. As with all of our work to date, we assume that a user profile exists and is rather comprehensive in nature, particularly relating to the domains in which the individual typically searches and browses. Our search facility has a taxonomy of resources, similar to what might be found with other search engines such as Yahoo!. Yet, our taxonomy is specifically geared toward K-12 education, and each branch is a COOL link. Therefore, as the learner selects a node in the tree, the remaining taxonomy is dynamically constructed by comparing the metadata of the sub-branches an leaves with the learner's profile. COOL links, in effect, are dynamically pruning the search tree as the user directs the query.
We believe that the continued success of the Web is contingent upon automated tools that efficiently guide the information gatherer toward relevant and appropriate material. In this paper, we have described our use of educational metadata in building applications for personalized navigation and search in the context of learning. Ultimately, we believe that the Web will be a viable environment for providing individualized instruction applications for parents, teachers, and learners.
This research and development was supported (in part) by DARPA contract #N66001-95-C-8626, and US Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) contract #N66001-97-M-C528.
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|Courseware Description Language (CDL):||http://www.i-a-i.com/services/cdl/|
|Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC):||http://www.aspensys.com/eric/|
|Gateway to Educational Materials (GEM):||http://geminfo.org/|
|Instructional Management System (IMS) project:||http://www.imsproject.org/|
|NIST Learning Objects Metadata Group (LOMG):||http://jetta.ncsl.nist.gov/metadata/|