Note: The Learning Registry is a U.S. based project that was first announced last summer by the U.S. Secretary of Education. The U.S. Dept. of Defense is also a key member of the collaboration. If you’re unaware or would like to learn more about The Learning Registry a post on the JISC CETIS (from the UK) blog has a superb project overview written by Daniel R. Rehak, a technical adviser to the Learning Registry from the Advanced Digital Learning program from the U.S. Department of Defense.
If you want images and primary historic source material, you’ll probably have to search individual collections: NASA, the US National Archives, Smithsonian, Library of Congress, and probably multiple repositories for each. Let’s assume you found several animations on orbital mechanics. Can you tell which of these are right for your students (without having to preview each)? Is there any information about who else has used them and how effective they were? How can you provide your feedback about the resources you used, both to other teachers and to the organizations that published or curated them? Is there any way to aggregate this feedback to improve discoverability?
THE LEARNING REGISTRY.
The Learning Registry (http://www.learningregistry.org/) is defining and building an infrastructure to help answer these questions. It provides a means for anyone to “publish” information about their learning resources (both resources specifically created for education along with primary source materials, including historic and cultural heritage resources). It allows anyone to use the published information. Beyond metadata and descriptions, this information includes usage data, feedback, rankings, likes, etc.; we call this paradata. It provides a metadata timeline—a stream of activity data about a learning resource. It enables building better discovery tools (search, recommender systems), but it’s not a search engine, a repository, or a registry in the conventional sense.
With the Learning Registry, anyone can put any information into the timeline, anyone can get it from the timeline, anyone can filter parts of it for their communities, and anyone can provide feedback, all through a distributed infrastructure. NASA could “announce” a new animation. The PBS (US Public Broadcasting Service) Teachers portal could be watching for NASA publishing events, and add the resource to their secondary school “Science and Tech” stream. The National Science Digital Library (NSDL) could also provide it via one of their “Pathways”. A teacher using the PBS portal could find it, rank it, comment on it, or share it via the PBS portal. PBS can publish this paradata back into the timeline. NSDL would see this new paradata and could update their information about the resource. NSDL paradata also flows back into the timeline.