A few weeks ago, the second Learning Registry Plugfest took place at the National Science Digital Library (NSDL) headquarters in Boulder, Colorado. Over the course of two days the community gathered together, worked across organizations (and technologies) and surfaced some critically important questions and ideas the will drive the next wave of development for the Learning Registry (@learningreg).
Even if code is gibberish to you, there’s something important that I observed in Boulder that goes beyond programming. What I saw from our informal get-together on Monday night through the core-team wrap-up after the conference… what I saw was the beginnings of a community of technologists taking ownership of an open effort which will benefit teachers, their schools and the communities that support them.
It became clear that the immediate benefit of the Learning Registry is as a means to easily align all manner of digital resources to Common Core standards. Making such information easily accessible to new and existing tools that school districts use will save time in finding quality content to teach with… that saves teachers a valuable commodity (speaking as a former math teacher): time.
What energized me most about the experience was the talent that assembled together, self-organized, learned and “played” with ideas and code. We had about 36 participants from around the country. Most came with only a few weeks notice of the event and shared their technical talents and built some interesting relationships. State and Federal education technologists were working together to build PHP libraries for the Learning Registry. Members of four different vendor organizations worked together to connect their technologies *together* to pass data in and out of the Learning Registry. Open Education advocates and proprietary vendors sat at the same tables, seeking answers to shared questions.
The next wave of development is likely to focus on Data Services, making it easier to integrate Learning Registry data into new and existing applications, content management systems, search engines and other technologies. In the video below, Steve Midgley (US Department of Education), walks through the ideas behind (and the value proposition for) Learning Registry Data Services.