Rekindling the discussion of better, cohesive OER discovery for math

Back in June, there were a flurry of posts related to Github for education (‘Curric-hub’) and possible variations of how it could work and why it wouldn’t etc.
Mike Caulfield
Max Ray
Chris Lusto (link is to his followup post)
Dylan Kane
Dan Meyer
Matt Lane
Obligatory Self-Post

and more!

There was discussion about cohesiveness, about how the resources would or wouldn’t be used, and the ‘grain size’ people were talking about – whole years’ worth, units, lessons…

But we didn’t talk about where or how they would reside as learning objects, in an LMS, printed out, or stand-alone. We didn’t talk about what tags we could add to them to help increase cohesiveness and usability for teachers across the country/world.

One of the million and one things I’ve learned at my job at OpenEd is how far behind education technology is behind the, “regular,” tech industry.

Sample API
Sample API

Many ed-tech companies don’t play well with API’s for accessing their systems or have crappy LTI implementations.  And while Metadata is so important to sites look google, but educational resources often are missing important pieces that make sharing resources difficult.

Google Yahoo and Bing banded together a few years ago to create schema.org.  It’s a clearinghouse for metadata tags essentially, and many but not all of them are even used by LearningRegistry.org . (which by itself is terrible in terms of usefulness as well, but that’s a different post). It used to be called LRMI but that functionality was absorbed into existing objects for Creative Works mostly.

There needs to be more efficient ways for this metadata information to get out to the world. To get out and be used by content creators and consumer sites such as Geogebra, Desmos, edpuzzle, Youtube etc. My idea is that these tags could be used to more gracefully piece together in a more cohesive way than creating Frankenstein’s Monster with OER.  For example, if tags (https://schema.org/CreativeWork ) indicated that the unit I published was for second grade, english language learners, included a three act math task and was accessible to deaf students, as well as had a spanish translation – that would be much better than searching for “barbie drop second grade” which is what we’d see now. Ideally a search engine would be able to piece together that needed information automatically.

But I’d want more that probably wouldn’t be in schema.org . I’d want to see how to best teach this lesson or lessons or Unit or Course in context of Literacy integration and STEM units to connect with. Classroom strategies for effective learning (online tools too!) and multiple ways to do assessment for it – not always just fill in the blank and multiple choice, but authentic assessment choices too.

Schema.org needs better ways to add metadata to everyday learning objects. We should shift towards an open set of decomposed learning objectives to be more clear about where a particular lesson fits into teaching a specific set of standards (Practices included!).

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