As part of the national pilot project “e-Schools: Establishing a System for Developing Digitally Mature Schools”, which is carried out by the Croatian Academic and Research Network – CARNet and its partners, digital educational contents (DECs) have been developed for students and teachers of STEM subjects (chemistry, biology, physics and mathematics) in the 7th and 8th grades of primary schools and the 1st and 2nd grades of secondary schools.
There are a total of sixteen DECs (4 for each mentioned subject), which will be published in stages throughout the school year to enable the said subjects to be learned via the Internet as well.
DECs are contents intended for use in education, and, apart from the textual and visual elements, may also contain audio, video and other multimedia and interactive elements. DECs are not textbooks, nor any replacement for them, but are developed within the e-Schools pilot project in order to encourage even more active application of the information and communication technology in learning and teaching, and are accessible in Edutorij.
Edutorij is a kind of a digital library, which has also been developed as a part of the pilot project, and enables teachers, students and schools to centrally search and access educational materials. The Edutorij will also serve teachers and publishers as a place for issuing their digital course materials, and will offer the possibility of search according to many criteria, with the contents structured according to school subjects and scientific fields.
Beside the students and teachers from 151 school included in the pilot project, the Edutorij contents will also be available for access to all other schools, which do not participate in the e-Schools project implementation, and the possibility to use the Edutorij will also be provided to the general public, who are not members of the academic or the educational community – however, they will first have to register via an online form.
“DECs have been prepared as open educational resources under the Creative Commons licence, which enables the free-of-charge use, processing and distribution of educational materials and data. The access to such contents enables flexible and creative classes and learning in different environments – at school, in field class, at home. Also, the created DECs enable different forms of work – lectures, individual work, pair work or group work, and can be used on different platforms, in different types of mobile or desk devices, in both online and offline environments”, says Branka Vuk, CARNet’s assistant director for educational support.
Suppliers of the mentioned digital educational contents are the Profil Klett publishing house (with subcontractors company UX Passion and the Inclusive Support Centre “IDEM”) and Algebra (with the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing as subcontractor). Profil Klett has been entrusted with the production of DECs in chemistry and biology, while the DECs in mathematics and physics are prepared by Algebra. Special attention in the preparation of these contents has been dedicated to the inclusivity and accessibility of materials for users also using assistive technologies, so that the materials have been created in such a way as to also make possible their adjustment to children with developmental difficulties.
Numerous experts have participated in the preparation of these DECs (for example, Toni Milun, one of the best-known Croatian mathematics teachers, Saša Ceci, physicist from the Ruđer Bošković Institute, as well as Lidija Kralj, current assistant to the Minister of Science and Education, before assuming that function). In order to properly include all areas in the preparation of digital educational contents and teacher guides, the contents have undergone reviews in terms of subject-matter, methodology, inclusivity and technical accuracy. CARNet hires prominent experts to do the reviews as independent external reviewers, and the reviews take place continually during the performance of the contract concluded between the contractor and CARNet.
To view the DECs within the Edutorij website, please visit https://edutorij.e-skole.hr/share/page/dos-eskole.