LRMI Workshop Draws Enthusiastic Crowd

“The gateway to all content is search,” said Esther, a high school English and journalism teacher from Palo Alto High School in California. “The challenge is finding what you need when you need it.”

That challenge—and the promise that the LRMI holds for providing a better way to locate learning resources online—attracted more than 50 people to the LRMI Workshop in Mountain View, California, on January 12. Held in conjunction with the Shared Learning Collaborative’s Camp in the Bay Area, the workshop offered both content developers and educators a chance to gain valuable background information about the LRMI. Attendees also received practical information about LRMI tagging and had an opportunity to participate in a tagging activity. (Slides from the day are available here.)

LRMI Project Manager Dave Gladney and Project Lead Michael Jay gave an overview of the initiative and also described the business implications. They noted that content developers should think about metadata as part of the product conceptualization process rather than as an afterthought. “The LRMI provides an opportunity to think about how each individual asset could help an educator teach or a student learn,” Jay said.

Among the other speakers for the day were Sue Buesing of McHugh and Associates, who talked about how the LRMI relates to standards projects such as the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The purpose of alignment involves changing gears, she said, moving the focus from marketing to discoverability. “Alignments are used to locate specific resources directly connected to needs of students and teachers,” she noted.

Several speakers came over from the SLC Camp to participate in the LRMI Workshop. Jason Hoekstra and Iwan Streichenberger of SLC and Sharren Bates from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation all described how the LRMI relates to both the SLC and the Learning Registry. “We want to be supporters and collaborators for the LRMI and the Learning Registry,” Bates said. “We see this is where the field is going.”

Eric Weiss of Agilix talked about development of the LRMI tagger tool. He showed an example of tagging a specific resource and described how one can add CCSS alignment. Steve Nordmark of Knovation discussed the promise that the LRMI holds for helping move toward personalized learning for students and how companies can best leverage the tagging process. He noted that nothing in the LRMI is mandatory; content developers can choose which of the LRMI elements they want to include in their tagging.

Polly Stansell of McGraw-Hill offered a publisher’s perspective on the LRMI, noting the challenges involved in tagging tens of millions of assets and adding that the tagging process is both “an art and a science.” Many participants were surprised to learn that a single geometry textbook might contain as many as 2,000 discrete lessons and activities that could be tagged as individual resources. While acknowledging the labor involved in doing that, Stansell expressed her firm belief that the benefits of tagging were well worth the time investment.

Throughout the day, several speakers noted the power that the combined activities of the LRMI, SLC, and Learning Registry had to make a real impact on education. “We have a chance to change the lives of millions of kids and really do things differently,” said SLC CEO Iwan Streichenberger at the joint welcoming session. Attendees left the LRMI session better informed and equipped to play a role in that process.

Vlad Gutkovich from Flocabulary summed the experience up this way in a Tweet about the workshop: “My mind has been fully blown by the work being done by @SLCedu, @learningreg & LRMI. The future is here. #slccamp.”

Download slides from the LRMI Workshop.