Codename Peko was released today. Our original goal was to have the vocabulary frozen in this release, but it’s still so messy that we need more work on that. The visual freeze was somewhat completed, at least enough so that we can start doing the tutorials for the system.
After one year of hard work in four countries, we have LeMill version 1.0 ready, as the project schedule demands. We still consider it a preview, but most of the basic functionality is there.
What makes LeMill different from all the other learning content authoring systems that are out there? The pedagogical perspective. LeMill is not just about learning materials, but (and in my mind more importantly) pedagogically meaningful activities and tools, and a community of teachers collaboratively working on all of them.
The LeMill demo is here: http://lemill.net
And more information about the development is here: http://lemill.org
After a few years of silence, we’re resuming our development of Fle3. After the development of ImaNote, we now have a tool that allows users to freely position and move objects in a 2D space using just their browser. This has originally been a key feature in Fle3, but back in 2001 the browsers just weren’t up for it. Now they are.
And we’re not just adding new stuff, we’re rewriting the whole thing to be better. The oldish Zope technologies like DTML that we’re using are just too clumsy and are being deprecated as time goes by. So we’re upgrading to ZPT and cleaning the whole code base as well. As Fle3 was the first Zope product that our team had worked on, it really shows in the source code, unfortunately. So now that we understand how acquisition works and all Zope’s special features are well in hand, we’ll turn out Fle3 that’s leaner and meaner than before.
We’re hiring a new Python to work exclusively on Fle3 development, so we’ll see how thing start rolling. I’m happy if we’re near a release during this year.
We’re now two months into CALIBRATE, a huge 600 person-month development project funded by the European Schoolnet. It has 17 partners in different EU countries, and we’re coordinating work package 3, where we have 24 months and 92 person-months to build a Toolbox for “collaborative authoring, searching, browsing and using learning material”. The Toolbox will be able to do searches from a custom federated search engine that has access to several EU countries’ national learning material repositories, in addition to being able to search from other Toolboxes in the network, and from open content repositories. It should allows teachers (or anyone) to create and publish learning material, search for content and tools, combine and improve them into new material.
The Toolbox will be built on top of Plone, and it will be free and open source. Anyone can join and contribute if they wish. Our work package has partners from Estonia, Finland, Hungary, and Norway and there’s about 12 people actively participating in the project, though all of them only part-time. As a development tool we’re using Trac, which is an open-source development platform that integrates a wiki, a ticket system and a version control system into one browsable, interlinked web interface. You can take a look at our project’s Trac site at http://goedel.uiah.fi/projects/calibrate/.
When browsing our Trac, you’ll notice that everything is done completely visibly. All meeting minutes are there, all discussions about concepts and features are there. Every patch commited into the version control system (subversion, btw) is connected to a defect or enhancement ticket, which in turn is connected to a user story ticket. So the reason for everything that we do can be tracked down. Our team also has a mailing list, where Trac automatically sends all ticket changes, and Subversion sends all commit diffs.
The project has just started two months ago and we just started producing code two weeks ago, so there’s not much of a product yet, but the first working prototype needs to be done by the end of January 2006.