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Your Ideas: What Could Search Engines Do (to Make Finding Educational Content Easier)?

posted Aug 18, 2010, 6:27 AM by Learning Registry Apps Administrator   [ updated Oct 4, 2010, 10:37 AM ]
It's safe to say that most people discover content through a simple search via commercial search engines.  If you've ever looked for educational content, be it a SCORM content package or a lesson plan, you've probably noticed that educational content is undifferentiated in search results.

Lots of customized search engines have been built to help people find educational content, each with different capabilities, approaches and coverage; because they're all different, these custom search engines fragment the act of searching, forcing people to leave one search engine and jump into another one.

Finding an appropriate search portal for educational content is not straightforward.  Despite the gigabytes of existing educational content, there are a few obstacles to finding it through your favorite search engine:
  • The "good stuff" is hard to find, and people want to find authentically educational content
  • Some educational content is available on the open web; much educational content is on the dark web, unknown to search engines
  • Educational content lacks a common format: it is in different media types, encodings, languages, released under different licenses, etc
  • Much of the available educational content is not formally curated
  • Judging educational content on how useful it is… is difficult
  • Even if you think you found what you're looking for, you might have difficulty obtaining the educational content.
The Question

Could commercial search engines do a better job? What could a commercial search engine, or search engine company, do to make organizing, finding and accessing educational content easier and more effective?

We need your help.

We've set up a category for "Search Engines" on our IdeaScale site, and we need your ideas and suggestions.  While anything is fair game, we'd ask you to think about these questions:
  • What could a commercial search engine company could do directly, e.g., search engine features, core technologies, research, or advocacy and community building?
  • What is a challenge for the educational community on its own that is just easier for a search engine to solve?
  • Are there things that the the user community or content development community can do to complement what the search engine does? How should the community prepare to respond?
  • What could be demonstrated in practice in 12 to 24 months?
  • What will scale?
  • What is as simple as possible?
  • What complements both the way the web works (today and tomorrow) and commercial business models?
Engage Us

Please, go to the Search Engine topic on the Learning Registry IdeaScale Site and give us your input RIGHT NOW.
  • Offer suggestions (we’ve seeded a few)
  • Comment on suggestions made
  • Vote up suggestions you agree with.
We’re sprinting to gather this input for the Learning Registry by August 31, 2010.