Supporting Students’ Online Searches: How the LRMI Can Help

In 2012, the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project conducted a survey in collaboration with the College Board and the National Writing Project to learn how digital technologies are shaping students’ research habits. Key findings indicated that advanced placement (AP) and National Writing Project (NWP) teachers are apprehensive about their students’ abilities to find credible information online.

Here is a snapshot of some of the data:

  • Although 77% of teachers surveyed agreed that the Internet and digital search tools have had a “mostly positive” impact on their students’ research work, 64% said today’s digital technologies “do more to distract students than to help them academically.”
  • Eighty-three percent thought that the amount of information available online today is overwhelming to most students.
  • Sixty percent agreed that today’s technologies make it harder for students to find credible sources of information.

Conducting searches on the Internet can often feel like a double-edged sword. On the one hand, students have a vast amount of resources at their fingertips. However, determining appropriate and credible sources can be extremely challenging.

Thankfully, the LRMI will make the Internet search process easier for students, as well as teachers. When learning resources are tagged with a common vocabulary in a machine-readable fashion, search engines will return the most applicable results. Once the LRMI has been adopted by Schema.org and search engines have added the LRMI specification to their crawl, students and teachers will be able to search for materials based on criteria such as content area, age range, media type, and much more. Furthermore, teachers will be able to see how learning resources align to standards such as the Common Core State Standards. Be sure to check back for the formal announcement of the LRMI’s adoption by Schema.org.