Semantic Web

[via Atanu] Andy Carvin writes about the applicability of the Semantic Web to online education.

One example that clearly comes to mind is embedding metadata to content that connects it to specific education standards. For example, lets say you find a website about the history of India and Pakistan that contains stories of families forced to flee their homes and cross the border when the countries split apart. These stories might fit nicely in a lesson plan youre doing for your geography class on human migration and refugees, as part of the National Geography Standards. The Semantic Web would allow you to tag this page as being connected to the specific standard on understanding human migration, embedding a URL into that website that links into to a machine-friendly definition of that standard. From that point onward, any other teacher searching the Internet would be able to make the connection between that specific website and that specific standard. And the same principle could be used to link online content with lesson plans and the teachers who use them. Suddenly, what started as a search for an educational website leads you to a social network of educators using that site in their classroom to meet a specific standard.

Of course, you may think we wont want to spend our days tagging websites to connect them to standards. But wait a second – millions of people are tagging websites every single day. The very idea of Web 2.0 is built upon people volunteering their time to create content and add richness to it, making connections between ideas. Even if only a small fraction of us spend our time charting out these connections, that still adds up to huge sums of people.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.