Marchionini, G., Nolet, V., Williams, H., Ding, W., Beale Jr., J., Rose, A., Gordon, A., Enomoto, E., Harbinson, L. (1997)
Digital libraries offer new opportunities to provide access to diverse resources beyond those held in school buildings and to allow teachers and learners to reach beyond classroom walls to other people to build distributed learning communities. Creating learning communities requires that teachers change their behaviors and the Baltimore Learning Community Project described here is based on the premise that access to resources should be tied to the assessment outcomes that increasingly drive curricula and classroom activity. Based on examination of curriculum guides and discussions with project teachers, an interface for the BLC digital library was prototyped. Three components (explore, construct, and present) of this user interface that allow teachers to find text, video images, web sites, and instructional modules and create their own modules are described. Although the technological challenges of building learning communities are significant, the greater challenges are mainly social and political.