Pilot Project Perspective: BetterLesson on the Importance of Sharing

With a number of educational publishers and content curators currently piloting the LRMI specification in a proof of concept phase, we thought we’d ask some of the participants why they got involved. Here’s what Erin Osborn, Co-Founder and Vice President of Operations and Outreach for BetterLesson, had to say.

Q. Why does your company view the LRMI as an important initiative? What value do you see in a common metadata specification for online educational content?

A. Our goal at BetterLesson is to help capture and share the curricula and instructional practices that are working for teachers in the classroom. The “share” part of that goal gets tricky if there isn’t a common language with which we ask users to describe these valuable resources. We think this common specification might go a long way toward helping the end users (teachers and students, in our case) find what they’re looking for. As great as we can make the search experience on BetterLesson, we want to be sure that we also play as nicely as possible with the other, less well known search engines out there (you know, like, Google). For us, it’s about helping teachers find just what they need as quickly as possible.

Q. What is one key benefit you hope to ultimately derive by participating in the LRMI proof of concept?

A. Building off of the above answer, I’d say that we’re really just looking to increase the reach of our resources. Sharing the incredible trove of teacher-generated content on BetterLesson is one of the best ways for folks to find out about us. We now have over 500,000 curricular resources, and we want teachers to find and make use of them. Ultimately, a community of engaged users brings the highest value to our BetterLesson teachers. And the best way we’ve found to let great teachers know about our community is to help them do something they’re already trying to do—lesson plan. So getting our resources well “schema-ed” and out into the world is an opportunity to reach, attract, and therefore support more teachers.

Q. What are your thoughts about the fact that AEP is co-leading this initiative? How can AEP best support the needs of your company—and the industry as a whole—when it comes to LRMI implementation?

A. We think having AEP and Creative Commons join forces is pretty rad. Diverse coalitions uniting around common objectives can bring powerful results. We’re pleased to be so well led as we make our collective foray into this promising new space. And the best way AEP can support BetterLesson and other participating companies (aside from a large investment with generous terms) is with continued thought partnership and clear communication of “asks.”