Response to Derek Reeve's Afterthoughts

by Karen Kemp, August 11, 1998

You raise some very important issues that we probably should bring up for discussion at the meetings we'll be having this fall.  However, in the meantime, I want to respond to a couple of the items your raised:

1. Agreed that the interop metaphor is incomplete for education. I suppose that explains why I have taken to describing the concept as a means of thinking about the different components of an educational event and about what is generic and what is specific to a certain audience in a certain location and time. If we can somehow describe what interoperability might be for education, we might find it easier to compose shareable materials in such a way that it is easier to customize them--making clear, for example, what are the generic portions and what has been localised.

2. I have always been very careful, though perhaps not clear enough, to put interoperable education in the context of all kinds of education, not just web-based and/or distance learning. There is nothing that says the concept is not as relevant for the teacher planning classroom instruction as for distance learning situations. The issue is simply one of discovering and using the full range of now available educational materials, sharing the knowledge and expertise of our colleagues worldwide. It does not have to be directly related to the use of technology in education, though I believe that the educational experience can be enhanced by it. Perhaps we need to be explicit about the difference between educating and learning. My focus has always been on enabling the teacher. They are the ones who must decide what is best for their students, not outsiders.

So clearly, there's plenty more for discussion here. It raises very useful questions and issues we ought to pursue.

Return to discussion page