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GEM teaches the EU a valuable lesson

The GEM project is a multimedia initiative with a difference. It will create an on-line learning environment where schools and educational institutions can share and develop their own educational resources - the best way of making sure they get exactly what they need.

Backgro...
The GEM project is a multimedia initiative with a difference. It will create an on-line learning environment where schools and educational institutions can share and develop their own educational resources - the best way of making sure they get exactly what they need.

Background

The only way to build a united, prosperous and democratic Europe is to bring people - and especially schoolchildren and young students - closer together. New technology and the Internet provide the technical means to do that, although the real key lies in the content. The GEM (Global Educational Multimedia) project cuts through the debates about what schools need by letting them decide for themselves. GEM will create an on-line learning environment where teachers, students and academics all over the EU can create their own database of educational materials and resources, and where children can work together and learn about other European cultures.

Description, impact and results

Designed by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) at its Institute for Systems, Informatics and Safety (ISIS) in Ispra, Italy, the project exploits the interactive nature of the web to the maximum - everyone who joins will be both a user and a provider. Teachers can upload their own material; teaching establishments can advertise courses, workshops and conferences; national and EU institutions can use GEM to announce new programmes, funding schemes and projects; and companies can promote multimedia teaching products.

The GEM project aims to explore the potential of new web-based approaches for building massive on-line databases of educational resources. Such databases could form the hub of an EU-wide network bringing together teachers, schools, colleges and universities, funding agencies, and companies developing educational materials. At the heart is a powerful search engine allowing users to locate material by subject, keyword or free text queries. Everything going on the database is automatically indexed, and there is tight quality control from peer groups and from GEM itself.

In its final form, GEM could emerge as a model for a European clearing house for products and services in the fast-growing field of multimedia applications for education and training.

The project has already recruited 200 users, including 80 educationalists, 39 researchers, 11 suppliers and 40 teachers. The database currently stores 250 products and web resources, and more than 60 on-line courses, while the calendar gives details of 30 conferences. Information is stored in English, French, German and Italian, and the longer term aim is ultimately to sign up thousands of users throughout the EU to develop a stronger sense of European citizenship.

Project title: The provision of scientific and technical support in the domain of Multimedia Applications for Education and Training and for the Establishment of Future User Requirements for Research and Education networks.

Project reference: 13571-97-12 A1CA ISP B


Source: European Commission, DG XIII/D.4 - Information and dissemination of scientific and technical knowledge
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