Open Source

Is LeMill a platform for school library 2.0?

Yesterday in the EU Information and Society Technologies conference’s Digital Libraries and Technology-enhanced Learning session Birte Christensen-Dalsgraad talked about library 2.0. In the same session Demetrios Sampson presented the latest memes in the field of educational technology.

Jack M. Maness’ paper Library 2.0 Theory: Web 2.0 and Its Implications for Libraries give a good overview on the discussion about the library 2.0 concept. He defines Library 2.0 as “the application of interactive, collaborative, and multi-media web-based technologies to web-based library services and collections”.

LeMill is platform for building “a web community for finding, authoring and sharing learning resources”. LeMill is Open Source, web-based, interactive, collaborative and using multi-media web-based technologies. With LeMill you can create learning resources and keep them and collections of them in order.

In LeMill there are taxonomies (languages, subject areas, and grades) and folksonomies (tags) to organize the resources. The links made automatically between the people and their resources build a network of social recommendations. The possibility to find not only resources, but also descriptions of learning activities and teaching methods, as well as learning and teaching tools ground everything to the core tasks of education. The tips of use works for the same purpose. All this is naturally made by the community members (you may call them users, if you wish) in a wiki way.

I remember that some years ago there was a discussion that the school libraries are shrinking because schools have rather use their money to purchase computers and not books to the libraries. This has been very shortsighted policy, as books are the most robust mobile media devices human kind has ever invented. For this reason I am not saying that the LeMill is the solution, but it can be part of it.

How to build a school library 2.0?

  1. Fight back your budget to buy books in your shelf – they are mobile, often high-quality, and do not crash;
  2. Make out of one of your old PCs a server to run LeMill platform;
  3. Build a community of teachers, parents and pupils on LeMill that will create and share learning materials on it;
  4. Spend part of your budget to have school-wide WLAN;
  5. With the rest of your budget get mobile Linux-based Internet terminals such as Nokia 770 and some thin Linux clients running Edubuntu (or equivalent);
  6. Start to borrow the mobile Internet terminals for your pupils, just the same way as the books are borrowed (I hope you still remember how to do this?)

You are done!

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