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Topic Mapping the National Curriculum


By murray - Posted on 03 April 2008

When the Norwegian Ministry of Education introduced a new National Curriculum for all primary and secondary education, it was decided that all curricula should follow the same consistent structure.

The Directorate for Education and Training (UDIR) could have decided to specify that structure in a set of informal rules, and implement it using typographic effects in a text document. Instead it decide to go for a formal semantic structure and chose Topic Maps as the most appropriate knowledge representation formalism.

Although that decision did not make the news headlines, it was truly revolutionary. This is the first time that Topic Maps has been used to represent the definitive version of an official Government Regulation. Even more important, the decision is opening up hitherto undreamt of possibilities for everyone involved in producing, managing and consuming learning resources.

The new curricula are stored in the Grep database which can be navigated via a web interface at www.udir.no/grep. In addition they are freely available as a topic map in XTM format from bak.udir.no.

This session provides a kaleidoscopic view of the Grep vision and the different ways in which it is being used. It brings together the architects of the system some of the initial users of Grep, including producers of learning materials, vendors of Learning Management Systems, and representatives of local cultural initiatives. Invited speakers include the publisher Cappelen-Damm, LMS vendor It’s learning, the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK), and Cerpus, an innovative company from the north of Norway responsible for BrainBank Learning and Kuling.