It was just the other day that I got into a conversation with a close friend of a different profession and at some point during our talk, he asked “do you feel that you do something worth doing in your professional life”? My response came after some thought and it was positive. Once the question hit this part of the brain that attempts to form an answer, images started to form and from them came thoughts and soon enough I came to think about an initiative I’ve been working on for the past four years or so.
I have been fortunate enough to be a small part of the wider team that works on the Digital School project (Facebook page here). The Digital School project is an initiative that spans across a great variety of systems and services that are built for the primary and secondary education in Greece. It involves plenty amazing stuff that are being developed for teachers, learners and parents alike. One of them is the Photodentro Learning Object Repository, or as it is called among us, the Photodentro LOR (its logo below)! Like also the Photodentro Facebook page and get all the news!
I have joined the team as an external associate back in 2011, and for almost eight (8) months now, I have been part of the team in a more permanent basis. For someone working in my field, being part of the team that works on Photodentro, is probably like being a physicist and working in the Large Hadron Collider in CERN! It’s just the place you need to be!
But what does Photodentro mean? I guess for most of my foreign colleagues it’s as they say “it’s all Greek to me”! Photodentro, literaly translated in Greek, means “tree of light”. The underlying meaning here is the knowledge that is contained in Photodentro as well as it being a living entity that evolves and grows! And of course, its name also conveys Greece!
A team of extraordinary people, technicians, managers, etc. but also content providers and inspired teachers, have all helped in accumulating 7.905 Learning Objects so far (31/8/2015)! And that’s not even the start of it. Photodentro LOR is one of the (currently) six “Photodentra” that host different types of material.
There is the Photodentro Video that hosts educational videos (986 of them), the Photodentro User Generated Content (UGC) that hosts content created from users (462 LOs) (3) the Photodentro Edusoft that hosts educational software and apps created in previous years (140 of them). Also, there is the Photodentro Open Educational Practices (OEP) that hosts comprehensive educational practices and scenarios with open content that have been deployed in the classroom (86 of them so far).
In addition, there is the Photodentro-MEXT that currently hosts content from cultural collections (4.517 LOs) but will ultimately be used to host content from external organizations of various types. And then, you have the seventh Photodentro if you also count the Photodentro Aggregator that brings the content of all the others together. This explains the title as well, as it seems that we are headed towards a Photodentro forest ultimately, with lots of trees that will be out there for people to enjoy their fruit of knowledge! 😉
I feel really happy and priviledged working as part of the Photodentro and CTI teams on these repositories. Serving the educational communities of Greece through the establishment of these services is a great priviledge that comes with great responsibility and a sense of duty. Looking at my field of expertise, that is metadata, and working with the annotators on some complicated tasks, it has been an amazing learning experience that goes both ways. I constantly learn things about educational design and the intricacies of their day-to-day job while at the same time, our work on improving metadata quality contributes to the overall success and usability of the services offered.
So, thinking back to this conversation today, I decided to quickly capture this feeling I had, as well as a few words about Photodentro, so that I can come back to it whenever I feel “out-of-focus” or “out-of-purpose” in the near future! My only hope is that whatever your work may be, or no matter how many progress reports you have to fill in and e-mails to send, there will always be this sense of achievement to keep you going, no matter how hard it may seem at times!
* The article above is not by any chance a formal description of the Digital School project or any part of it. It’s merely a personal (poetic) reflection on my role in the project and it should not be used or re-produced in any part or form without my written approval.