The Learning Registry is an open source initiative dedicated to bringing together high quality digital learning resources from federal agencies and public and private organizations around the web. The registry is available for anyone to use – educators, publishers and developers are encouraged to tap into the database and add resources that haven’t yet been shared. It currently contains more than 414,000 resources.
It’s not easy to discover educational resources using traditional search engines. However, the Learning Registry makes it possible for educators to find the specific materials that they need. You can test drive the registry search at the bottom of the homepage. Browse by subject or search by keyword:
You can also browse by standard, i.e. Common Core Mathematics or Common Core English Language Arts.
With the principles of open data making their way into education, we’re about to see an explosion of digital learning resources as content publishers begin to recognize the value of sharing to the registry. Developers can then use this data to build apps that connect educators to the learning materials.
Learning Registry WordPress Plugin
WordPress-powered websites can display data from the Learning Registry using the plugin created by the Advanced Distributed Learning development team. The LR-Wordpress-Plugin includes widgets for retrieving resources by subject, national standard, or arbitrary search terms.
As part of the set-up process you’ll also be required to install the JSON API plugin and Widgetize Pages Light. The LR-Wordpress-Plugin requires a few more extra steps of configuration to get everything up and running, but once you’re finished you’ll have access to a handy array of widgets for displaying data from the Learning Registry:
The most powerful of the packaged widgets provides the ability to search the registry directly from your website. During the set-up process you’ll create and designate the search results page where the information will be displayed. I hooked everything up in a test environment and found that it was able to search and retrieve data as advertsised. You can see a live example of the plugin in action at free.ed.gov:
If you operate a WordPress website related to learning or education, then integrating the Learning Registry plugin is an excellent way to provide access to a huge database of resources.
Richard Culatta, the director of the US Education Department’s office of educational technology, wants to make the registry more useful for educators by getting more experts involved in curating the content. Since anyone can add data, it’s imperative to find helpful ways to classify the information so that educators can find the best content for their students without a lot of searching.
Developers can support this endeavor by creating apps for displaying data and tools that make it easy for publishers to submit resources. Check out the documentation for more details on getting started.
The Learning Registry is an open source, government-funded initiative that everyone can get behind. By providing open access to thousands of teaching resources, educators in poorly-funded school districts and perhaps other parts of the world are able to quickly find high quality resources for their students. In this digital era, educational funding doesn’t have to limit the quality of available resources for teachers. With a commitment to open access and open contribution, the Learning Registry project has the potential to efficiently deliver academic resources on a much larger scale than we’ve ever seen before.