Home > Uncategorized > Delaware to adopt social media-like exchange for learning materials?

Delaware to adopt social media-like exchange for learning materials?

April 22, 2012

Delaware teachers may soon be browsing, selecting, and downloading learning materials from a national online exchange with features of social media, which will assist them in meeting requirements of the Common Core State Standards.

This screenshot is a working prototype of the Learning Registry browser. Go ahead and try it; click on the screenshot to go to the browser. Enter some search terms and then refine your search (I entered “Civil War”). Remember this is a developers’ prototype and is not yet hooked up to rich sources of content. The version teachers use will likely be much more polished and customized.

The evidence that Delaware is actually planning to use this tool is circumstantial so far, but it seems clear something like it is in the future for Delaware’s teachers.

In a post a while back on the Shared Learning Collaborative, I mentioned the Learning Resource Metadata Initiative (LRMI):

LRMI is basically a tagging scheme specialized to describe learning materials aligned with the Common Core State Standards. The idea is that content providers can apply these special tags to their CCSS-compliant learning materials and contribute them to a shared pool. Content could be just about any type of document or media: lesson plans, text-based resources, video, audio, images, documentation of specific learning activities, or more.

At the time, the technical information on how this would be implemented was very sketchy.

But in its February application for an ESEA waiver, DDOE lets slip a clue:

Compilation and cataloguing of Instructional Materials in the Learning Registry, with meta data analysis tagging enabling easy access within the state as well as across states for selected materials

The Learning Registry
The Learning Registry is an indexing engine for instructional materials. Think of it as Napster for instructional materials. It keeps a list of your own instructional materials, and then goes out and finds other lists. The materials themselves aren’t stored on the servers, but the lists know where they are stored. So you just have to click to download the materials from wherever they are.


The browser
The Learning Registry is just the back end server – it’s still not clear what sort of user interface teachers will use to browse the Registry. But that’s the easy part. Since the Learning Registry is free and open source, it is likely multiple vendors will develop different tools to browse the Registry for materials. Most likely it will be an easy-to-use web page.

Search rules
There’s also a social media component. When teachers access the material, they will be able to “like” the material – more specifically, they will be able to add tags, categories, reviews, and descriptive comments about how the material was used. And the server itself will track how many times the material was downloaded, and provide informative ratings for the material.

More importantly, teachers can restrict their search to materials that align with the Common Core State Standards, and can refine the search to a high level of detail.

This is where the Learning Resource Metadata Initiative (LRMI) comes in. In my previous post on this topic, it wasn’t clear how the LRMI rules would be used. But now it appears the LRMI tagging rules (or any other set of rules) can be installed on the Learning Registry server, enabling teachers to search with a high level of detail for exactly the type of material required by their state standards, which in this case will be the Common Core State Standards.

The content
The exciting part about the Learning Registry is the content providers. Publishing content to the registry is free for any vendor or educator. There is already a strong list of free content providers. If you click through the links below, you will be able to explore material from these providers in the Learning Registry browser:

  • Federal Resources for Educational Excellence (FREE), maintained with support from the U.S. Department of Education, is a repository containing more than 1,600 K-12 teaching and learning resources from the federal government. FREE enables learners and educators to find high quality digital learning resources from federal agencies such as NASA, National Gallery of Art, National Science Foundation, and Smithsonian among others.

  • The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) preserves the permanently valuable records of the United States federal government, ensuring that people can access and learn from our documentary heritage.  In the late 1970s, the National Archives pioneered a program to provide educators and students with opportunities to teach with and learn from primary sources documents.

  • PBS LearningMedia is a new, free, online media-on-demand service developed for PreK-12 educators featuring interactives, images, video, audio files and more with lesson plans, background essays, and discussion questions.
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