Content + methods + tools = learning pattern: the ToolBox is in production

This week we – our research group – were hosting a workshop with our partners from Estonia, Hungary and Norway(*. The developer workshop was organized to start a new software project. The software is called ToolBox. We have been working on it for some months already, but now it was time to get our hands dirty with the code(**. The development takes place online at:

It is a free/open source project. So, if you are interested in, please, get involved in it.

The ToolBox is a code name. We should come up with something better. But the idea is simple. We want to build server software that can be used by teachers – or in practice anyone interested in – to collaboratively author, edit, review and publish:

(1) Learning content,
(2) Learning methods, and
(3) Learning tools.

All three things will be loosely connected (permalinks) to each other. Users may approach the ToolBox from any angle and find connections between the three things. Then they may use them in their own teaching practice. When the user has a combination of contents, methods and tools that are somehow linked together she has designed a “learning pattern”.

The fourth dimension of the ToolBox is the community. People will get together to the ToolBox server to work with and to develop further all three things. To make it simple the server software will support collaborative construction and use of learning content, methods and tools.

All the ToolBox servers will replicate its data with other ToolBox servers around the world. Also content from other services, such as Our Media, SoundClick and Open Access will be available in the ToolBox’s interface. And of course WikiPedia, too. One may also use different kind of learning tools with the ToolBox. This is why we call it “Toolbox”. The tools accessible from the ToolBox can be things like Fle3 knowledge building tool, discussion forum, chat, file sharing, Voice over IP etc.

ToolBox is not a LMS, neither CSCL tool nor a “personal learning environment” or “Future VLE”. The idea is simply to pull teachers to use ICT in more exciting way. To empower teacher by offering them tools to use and share content, methods and tools to implement meaningful learning patterns, on- and offline, with ICT and without.

*) The work is carried out in the CALIBRATE project supported by the European Commission’s 6th Framework Programme, Information Society Technologies (IST).

**) To be honest my role in the software development is something in the crossing point of “designer”, “interaction logic designer”, “patron” and “wise fool”.

8 thoughts on “Content + methods + tools = learning pattern: the ToolBox is in production

  1. very wonderful. While I can't think too much about it at the present months, I do hope that during next summer 'vacation' (june-aug) I could collaborate in some useful manner. Will you have a blog dedicated to this effort where I could follow some currents, dipping in my intellectual finger, occasionally?Thanks, David


  2. If you define a blog as time-stamped entries, then yes, there's a blog: the timeline view of the project shows everything that has happened:…But probably a more summarised view is here in Flosse posse, at least until we get a dedicated site built for the product (which isn't a priority at this point, since there's not much of a product just yet).


  3. Thank you Timo,"Cosa Le" sounds nice – or could it be "Le Cosa", or just simply "Le Sampo" = Learning Sampo?Differences of Toolbox and Wiki?I hope Toolbox will be a little more framed and structured – or should I say designed – than what Wikis are. Toolbox is targeted for users that have a specific tasks to carry out. We hope that in this specific task it will be easier to use than Wikis.


  4. Fair enough. While a good wiki can do a lot, we have also found that the degree of geekiness of the user is proportional to how well they can make use of it.So I hope that you will put great attention to UI design and usability, doing interviews of the target groups and whatever kind of thing the professionals do 😉


  5. Yes – I consider us pretty professional in these things and we do this kind of things in several countries and before that we write these and then make out of them this kind of things and then have these things for software development. For me your professionals look rather engineer minded, that is good when everybody anyway know pretty well what they want. However, we still try to be a research and development project. We may and have a right to fail.


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