background image
a clear vision of building a bridge between culture and learning, to the benefit of both
Using the Internet along with broadband services such as digital TV and mobile
communication once they are available, Culture Online's sphere of activity is to widen
access to the resources of the arts and cultural sector, for the purposes of learning and
enjoyment both at school and throughout life. Conceptualised as a "step-change in access to
and participation in arts and culture" (DCMS), the idea of Culture Online is to become a
new kind of cultural institutions designed for the digital age that complements already
existing services, such as Curriculum Online. As highly participatory service, Culture
Online would enable individuals and communities to use digital technologies to pursue
their own interests, create their own cultural resources and interact with others.The
materials for this service would be drawn from museums, galleries, libraries, heritage sites,
archives of written, broadcast and film materials, the performing arts and the new digital
National Curriculum Online, UK
National Curriculum Online is a central access point that links every National Curriculum
programme of study requirement for currently 12 subjects to high-quality, relevant teaching
resources. In addition, the site offers teachers a vast repository of online resources that are
directly related to the requirements of the national curriculum, as well as additional services,
such as guidance teaching pupils with learning difficulties or extraordinarily talented pupils.
The online resources are categorised by subject as well as by grade.
After a consultation phase with institutions from the cultural sectors and with educational
and technology experts, the vision for Culture Online was published in March 2001.This
vision paper focuses on the major objectives to be achieved but also raises still yet open
questions on how implement this vision and how to operate such a service in practice. In
doing so, the report provides a number of examples of hypothetical projects to illustrate the
range of possibilities which Culture Online might support. (see Leadbeater, 2001)
Clearly, the goal is to connect and integrate already existing digital cultural heritage
initiatives, such as the British Film Institute's `virtual bfi', the British Museum's COMPASS
system, or the Public Record Office's `Learning Curve', into a central body, Culture Online.
The initiative would connect and interlink the many, many actions and measures that are
currently on their way under a unifying umbrella, i.e. education and learning.The role of
Culture Online would be that of a broker between learning and culture on the one hand,
but also between the different cultural sectors, to encourage the creation of digital contents
and linking digital learning materials that are spread across many organisations. In its broker
function, Culture Online would:
create partnerships between cultural institutions, teachers and educational users,
help to avoid overlap and duplication in materials provided for learning,
encourage the use of common standards and avoid the danger of fragmentation as
more cultural institutions start putting their work online,
foster collaboration between institutions to span the institutional boundaries,
help institutions to learn from each other and help others s to identify best practice,
provide a forum in which both users and owners of copyrights could agree on how
digitised material should be used and copyright protected (example: SCRAN the
Scottish online cultural service).