CTI Diophantus (GREECE)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2016 Proceedings
Publication year: 2016
Pages: 3263-3272
ISBN: 978-84-617-5895-1
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2016.0176
Conference name: 9th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2016
Location: Seville, Spain
The “Photodentro SaaS” initiative drives the expansion of Photodentro ecosystem of Open Educational Resources (OER) digital repositories. The initiative is based on the “Software as a Service” model (SaaS), allowing for all interested organisations to implement a Photodentro repository to manage, describe, and publish their digital artifacts.

The benefits are two fold:
(i) the new content provider gains exclusive access to a standards-based digital repository, integrating the best practices and workflows specifically designed to meet the needs of OER for K12 education;
(ii) the new repository being part of the Photodentro ecosystem, all its resources are readily available through the Photodentro National Aggregator of Educational Content for School Education in Greece.

Photodentro is a web-based software system that implements an online library of digital resources catalogued for educational purposes, along with a set of open access mechanisms for search, navigation, and web-based interactive playback of resources. Its development started in 2011, as part of the Greek National Strategy for educational content, which promotes the use of OER for schools. During the first two years, a couple of Photodentro repositories were launched, holding discrete types of resources ranging from self-contained learning objects that had been developed for enriching Greek textbooks, to educational videos, and standalone educational software. During the next years, the family of Photodentro installations grew to include repositories of user generated learning resources, open educational practices, and cultural resources from external online libraries that have been annotated for educational purposes. While each of these repositories is a standalone and autonomous system, all of them are brought together through the Photodentro Aggregator, an online gateway which effectively implements a single point of reference for OER targeted to the school community.

This Photodentro ecosystem has been experiencing impressive adoption by teachers and pupils alike, for their daily educational activities. At the same time, an increasing number of content providers, as part of their Open Access objective, have expressed their interest in using Photodentro for managing and publishing their digital resources. However, education presents a complex domain altogether, demanding contextualized approaches and unified concepts, which cannot be served with one-size-fits-all solutions, superficially adapted for learners and educators. Moreover, the investment required for an OER repository is significant and needs to secure resources for setup, configuration, and administration of related software and hardware. These costs can be daunting, which is indeed the main motivation for the interest in Photodentro: its successful implementation and the adoption by the school community has resulted in a rising demand for setting up additional Photodentro-alike repositories by content providers.

The obvious route for responding to this bright demand, is offer Photodentro through the SaaS model. This approach, while promising, has its challenges. Photodentro is itself a complicated system, based on the DSpace open source software, which has been heavily extended and customised to address the specific needs of school community. The design alternatives and the methodological approach for offering the “Photodentro SaaS” solution are thoroughly discussed in this work.
Photodentro, OER, SaaS, DSpace, metadata, repository.