I’ve just come across Agrega, a Spanish learning object repository, and my first impressions are that there is a lot about it that I like–for me it has kind of set a benchmark to judge the new Jorum services by when it launches. (If you want to look around the Agrega site and can’t read Spanish, the option box on the top right gives you access to lots of the information about Agrega in English). Here’s some of what I like:
- There’s a clear focus on what they are trying to do, that is provide content for teachers and others who want to use computer based resources into learning. They emphasize the basics: search, preview, download. Sure, there’s more behind that if you delve into the site, but focusing on the basics at first seems sensible
- There’s support material available at all sorts of levels. The Que es Agrega video is worth looking at even if you don’t speak Spanish for an example of the quality. The Tutorial and Experience sections of the website have many more.
- There are some other really nice touches that suggest that the Agrega team know that their users, for example the content catalogue for Agrega is available as a PDF download. Not something I would have thought of, but then I’m not typical of the audience for this type of repository.
- I’m not sure about the quality of the content, but it does look like the repository has been seeded with a reasonable amount stuff–I’ve seen 100,000 objects mentioned, though I think many of these are simple media assets, photos and other images. (I get the impression that this has been come from a related content development initiative — in fact I think that Agrega is an integral part of a large coherent effort to promote digital resources for teaching and learning).
- It’s open. The content is Creative Commons licensed, anyone can search and preview without any registration hassle. The systems uses open standards, and there’s information on what they use and how, both in the documentation section and the blog.
- There’s some sensible uptake of web 2.0 and social network ideas, I’ve mentioned the blog, there’s also a Twitter channel and RSS feeds with sensible contents, and there’s code snippets for each of the videos to use if you want to embed the video into your own page.
There are some rough edges to be sure, for example the search interface is curiously easy to miss, and I don’t like how the search results open in a different tab/window. I don’t know how long Agrega has been running, it looks kind of new and shiny, it will be interesting to see how it develops from here.