Open Education Week 2017

By Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

It’s Open Education Week, which presents a timely opportunity to provide some guidance on how to make sure the Open Educational Resources (OER) you’re using are high-quality, and give some tips on how to use them!

What Are OER, Anyway?

OPen Education Week 2017

Source: Open Education Consortium (OEC), Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

OER are free open educational resources that are used in the classroom to save teachers time and school districts money. OER come in a wide variety of forms: instructional videos, images, ebooks, games, research materials and other digital content, depending on the subject and students’ grade level.

Because they are free and accessible online, OER can be made available to students around the world, in classrooms and homeschools, to children and adults, regardless of location or economic circumstance.

By providing free and open access to education and knowledge, OER providers help create a world where people can fulfill their desire to learn, and can get additional information, viewpoints and materials to help them succeed. Workers can learn ways to improve on the job. Teachers can improve the quality of their instruction.

It’s a win-win for everybody – as long as you know the OER you’re using is high quality.

However, quality varies, so it’s important to know how to make sure the resources you want to use are high-quality and fit your students’ needs.

Determining OER Quality

You can be confident that Curriki’s Open Educational Resources are high-quality because we use the Achieve’s Open Educational Resources downloadable rubrics in our evaluations or materials. The rubrics include:

Rubric I. Degree of Alignment to Standards
Rubric II. Quality of Explanation of the Subject Matter
Rubric III. Utility of Materials Designed to Support Teaching
Rubric IV. Quality of Assessment
Rubric V. Quality of Technological Interactivity
Rubric VI. Quality of Instructional and Practice Exercises
Rubric VII. Opportunities for Deeper Learning
Rubric VIII. Assurance of Accessibility

Curriki members can also add their ratings and review curricula using a star rating tool.

But how else do you know if the OER you’re considering has value for your classroom or homeschool?

The University of Illinois Library provides a Guide for Evaluating Open Educational Resources. It gives instructors a basic understanding of OER, including how to find, evaluate, use and adapt OER materials for their own curriculum.

shutterstock_143874199The Guide suggests these steps to take in the evaluation process. Ask yourself:

  • Does this OER cover the content you’d like your students to learn in this course or module?
  • How accessible is this content? Will it be accessible for your students or is it too technical? Is it robust and challenging enough for your students?
  • How can you use the content? Verify the license that the resource is under. Can you revise the OER as long as it isn’t for commercial purposes? Who do you have to credit if you use it?
  • Once you determine how you can use the OER, ask yourself what would you like to do with it. Does only a portion of it apply to your class? Would you want to combine this OER with another OER or resource? Does the library have access to articles that could act as supplemental readings?

What Is Open Education Week?

Open Education Week, happening the week of March 27-31, 2017, is a celebration of the global Open Education Movement organized by the Open Education Consortium, a global network of educational institutions, individuals and organizations that support an approach to education based on openness, including collaboration, innovation and collective development and use of open educational materials. The goal of Open Education Week is to raise awareness about the OER movement and its impact on teaching and learning worldwide.

  • Projects and resources: A wide variety of open education articles, from how to create an open online course to how to become an open educator. Perhaps these resources will help you use Curriki’s resources more effectively, or create some of your own to submit to our OER library.
  • Events: Events celebrating OER are happening all over the world, from conferences to webinars to discussions of OER-related topics. If you attend any, please post your thoughts and experiences here!

Happy learning!


Kim Jones is the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Curriki.Kim Jones is the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Curriki. Kim is active in driving policy initiatives and is regularly featured as an honorary speaker on the impact of technology in education at influential meetings around the world. Learn more at Curriki.org.

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Curriki Named Ed Tech Digest Cool Tool Award Finalist

By Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

Curriki is delighted to be named an Ed Tech Digest Cool Tool Award Finalist in the Content Provider Solution category.

The EdTech Awards recognize people in and around education for outstanding contributions in transforming education through technology to enrich the lives of learners everywhere. Featuring edtech’s best and brightest, the annual recognition program shines a spotlight on cool tools, inspiring leaders, and innovative trendsetters.

This award is a wonderful opportunity to showcase Curriki’s wide variety of free, high-quality tools for teacher, homeschoolers and learners everywhere. We are delighted to be recognized by EdTech Digest as it helps spreads the word about our valuable resources.

The recognition comes less than a month after Curriki was named a 2017 winner of an OER & Project Award for Open Education by The Open Education Consortium. That award was presented last week at the OEC Global Conference in Cape Town, South Africa.

The Open Education Consortium is a global network of educational institutions, individuals and organizations that support an approach to education based on openness, including collaboration, innovation and collective development and use of open educational materials.

About Curriki

Curriki, a 2016 SIIA CODiE Award finalist, hosts a free library of 83,000+ educator-vetted learning materials in all K-12 subject areas and in many formats—from individual lesson plans, instructional videos and units, to games and simulations. All content contributed by educators and select partners is available to others for use, adapt and share at no cost. In addition, Curriki curates resources into course-sequenced, standards-aligned units to enable educators to easily find materials.

The mission of Curriki, a nonprofit organization, is to eliminate the gap between those who have access to high-quality education and those who do not. Its online community of educators, learners and committed education experts works together to create quality materials that benefit teachers, parents and students globally. A Computerworld Honors Laureate for 2012, Curriki was selected as the 21st Century Achievement Award winner for Digital Access. With more than 470,000 members and 83,000+ learning assets, Curriki has reached nearly 12 million users worldwide. Join today at www.curriki.org.

About EdTech Digest

The mission of EdTech Digest is to tell the story of 21st-century education transformation. By sharing cool tools, fascinating interviews, relevant trends and voices from the field, it hopes to inspire learners and leaders everywhere, to get workable technology solutions for education widely known about and well thought of, to reshape the education culture and to create a new and better future for students. Learn more at https://edtechdigest.wordpress.com/.


Kim Jones is the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Curriki. Kim is active in driving policy initiatives and is regularly featured as an honorary speaker on the impact of technology in education at influential meetings around the world. Learn more at Curriki.org.

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Celebrate Women’s History Month

By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, Curriki

Women have often been left out of the telling of our history. But March is Women’s History Month, which presents a great opportunity to study the many ways that women have had an impact on history.

Growing out of a small-town school event in California, Women’s History Month has evolved into a celebration of women’s contributions to history, culture and society. The United States has observed it every March since 1987.

Curriki has resources from a variety of sources to bring an exploration of the role of women in history into your classroom. Here are a few:

Source: National Women's History Musem

Source: National Women’s History Museum

National Women’s History Project

Stories of women’s achievements are integral to the fabric of history. Women’s stories provide the essential role models that young people need to face the challenges of the 21st century.

The theme for National Women’s History Month this year is “Honoring Trailblazing Women in Labor and Business.” Women have always worked, but often their work has been undervalued and unpaid. The National Women’s History Project highlights women who have successfully challenged the role of women in both business and the paid labor force.

National Women’s History Museum

The National Women’s History Museum affirms the value of knowing Women’s History, illuminates the role of women in transforming society and encourages all people, women and men, to participate in democratic dialogue about our future. Download free posters for your classroom that feature Women Working for Equality, Standing Up For Change, Arts and Culture, Science and Technology, and more.

Smithsonian.com

Women’s History and Heritage Month celebrates the contributions that women have made in all aspects of society. Learn more about their accomplishments through a selection of articles and photo galleries from the Smithsonian Institution.

Celebrating National Women’s History Month

This collection includes resources about great women in US. history, including Harriett Tubman and Frida Kahlo.

What will you do in the classroom to celebrate women this month?


Janet Pinto - Curriki CAO/CMOJanet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, leads and manages all of Curriki’s content development, user experience and academic direction. Learn more at Curriki.org.

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Why a Free Press is Vital to Democracy

By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, Curriki

bill-of-rights

Image by Ted Mielczarek https://www.flickr.com/photos/49243838@N00/7688094718 Licensed: CC BY 2.0

When children hear their president referring to the media as “the enemy,” it’s time for a civics lesson in the important function of the press in a democratic society.

Freedom of expression is crucial for a successful democracy because it lets the public participate in making decisions based on the free flow of information and ideas. Without it, people would be unable to make informed decisions.

Curriki offers resources for teaching this very timely and important concept. Here are just a few:

  • Constitution – Bill of Rights – First Amendment — The first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution make up the Bill of Rights, and the very first one guarantees freedom of religion and expression – which includes free press. Curriki provides a lesson with several interesting videos.
  • From PBS, watch Freedom of the Press: Crash Course Government and Politics #26. The video very accessibly teaches that like an individual’s right to free speech, the press has a right, and arguably responsibility, to tell the public what the government is doing. The government cannot obstruct or censor the press, because, as one judge ruled, “A free press is essential for a political system to work.”

janetpic_preferred_cropped


Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, leads and manages all of Curriki’s content development, user experience and academic direction. Learn more at Curriki.org.

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Celebrate Dr. Seuss’s Birthday in the Classroom

By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, Curriki


In Katroo, every year, on the day you were born
They start the day right in the bright early morn
When the Birthday Honk-Honker hikes high up Mt. Zorn
and lets loose a big blast on the big Birthday Horn.
And the voice of the horn calls out loud as it plays:
“Wake up! For today is your Day of all Days!”

— Happy Birthday to You! (Dr. Seuss)


Dr. Seuss, a.k.a. Theodor Seuss Geisel, was born on March 2, 1904. While he is no longer with us, Dr. Seuss’s legacy lives on in the pages of his whimsical, unforgettable books. From Horton Hears a Who to The Cat in the Hat to The Lorax, Dr. Seuss revolutionized the way children’s books were written and continues to inspire generations.

Source: photosforclass.com (Creative Commons)So this month, celebrate in your homeschool or classroom by reading Dr. Seuss’s amazing books and taking advantage of Curriki’s Seussian Collection of creative, fun activities. Oh, the places you’ll go!

First, the Educational Stuff …

Reading

First … Read as many Dr. Seuss books as you can during March!

Math

  • Dr. Seuss Math Printables – Nothing makes math as much fun as Dr. Seuss, even for math haters!
  • Green Eggs and …Economics? – Economic concepts are often found in places students have never considered, like children’s literature. In this lesson, students will explore the various economic concepts addressed in five of Dr. Seuss’ most popular books: The Cat in the Hat; Green Eggs and Ham; The Lorax; Oh, the Places You’ll Go! and Horton Hears a Who! This lesson assumes the students already have some knowledge of basic microeconomic concepts. Therefore, it would be best utilized as a review or unit summary to reinforce the concepts you have already covered.

Both

If I Ran the Zoo – Economics and Literature – Welcome to the Zoo! In this two-day lesson, you will use Dr. Seuss’ If I Ran the Zoo book to introduce the economic concepts to your students. You will also get the chance to use actual zoo criteria to help a zoo “choose” new animals.

Just for Fun (with some learning snuck in)

Seussville-logo

(Source: Seussville.com)

Here are some other fun suggestions:

Got any other great ideas? Please share!


Photo of Janet PintoJanet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, leads and manages all of Curriki’s content development, user experience, and academic direction. Learn more at Curriki.org.

Sign up for Curriki’s enewsletter!

Curriki Wins Award for OER Excellence

By Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

badge-oeawards-2017I am delighted to announce that Curriki has been selected as a 2017 winner of an OER & Project Award for Open Education by The Open Education Consortium!

Curriki was honored for its comprehensive, high-quality, free OER Library.

The OEC made the announcement last week, and will officially present the award (and others) next month at the OEC Global Conference in Cape Town, South Africa.

We are extremely gratified to be recognized by The Open Education Consortium, because this award truly validates Curriki’s efforts to deliver high-quality curriculum materials to teachers and students around the globe. And the more the word gets out, the more teachers, parents and students will discover and start using Curriki’s treasure trove of curricula!

About The Open Education Consortium

The Open Education Consortium is a global network of educational institutions, individuals and organizations that support an approach to education based on openness, including collaboration, innovation and collective development and use of open educational materials. Its mission is to promote, support and advance openness in education around the world.


Kim Jones, CEO & Board Chairman

Kim Jones is the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Curriki. Kim is active in driving policy initiatives and is regularly featured as an honorary speaker on the impact of technology in education at influential meetings around the world. Learn more at Curriki.org.

Sign up for Curriki’s enewsletter!

Honoring the President: Resources for Celebrating President’s Day

By Lani deGuia, Guest Blogger and Curriki Member

Mount_Rushmore (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Mount Rushmore (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

This week, classrooms across the country have the opportunity to pay tribute to contributions and legacies of U.S. Presidents as we prepare to celebrate President’s Day on Feb. 20.

Whether looking back or witnesses today’s presidency firsthand, the role of the head of the United States is one that students need to understand as paramount for guiding the country to progress and prosperity. It’s an opportunity for students to learn about leadership, responsibility and historical change. There are multiple ways you can integrate dialogue on the presidency into your classrooms.

Introducing the Presidency to the Youngest of Students 

Learning About U.S. Presidents – Get kids started on researching their favorite U.S. President! Curriki member Lexi Kuch offers a lesson plan on researching and creating a presentation for students in grades 3-5.

On Top of Mt. Rushmore – This curriculum unit from Andrew Doyle guides students in learning about each of the presidents carved onto Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota, and discovering their contributions to American history.

The President’s Roles and Responsibilities:  Understanding the President’s Job – This curriculum unit reviews the structure of the U.S. government, discusses the different tasks undertaken by the president, and offers an interactive online activity simulating a typical day on the job for the president.

George Washington -Gilbert Stuart oil painting (Source – Metropolitan Museum of Art)

George Washington -Gilbert Stuart oil painting (Source – Metropolitan Museum of Art)

The President’s Roles and Responsibilities:  Communicating with the President – This resource encourages students to consider the roles and responsibilities of the U.S. president and their own roles as citizens of a democracy. They learn about the different means the president uses to communicate with the public and then express their views on a particular issue in a letter to the president.

Civic Discussion for the Middle Years

The Presidency – This free app for iOS devices is designed as an easy reference for elementary and middle school students for facts on all of the U.S. Presidents.

Inaugural Addresses of the Presidents – Here’s an opportunity to read the first sentiments for the nation from George Washington through to Barack Obama.

The President’s Job – Students will review the roles of the presidency by using objects, images, and documents in this section of the online exhibition The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden.

Defining the Presidency – This resource teaches students about the Continental Congress, the Constitutional Convention, and the election of our first president, George Washington.

President Lincoln and his Cabinet-Christian Schussele drawing (Source-Metropolitan-Museum of Art)

President Lincoln and his Cabinet-Christian Schussele drawing (Source-Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Leadership Studies for High School Students

George Washington – Studying the first leader of our nation? This collection on George Washington includes videos, biographical information, historical archives, artifacts, transcripts and lesson plans to support an in-depth analysis of his leadership.

Abraham Lincoln – This collection on Abraham Lincoln helps enhance studies on the Civil War, examining the president who ended slavery and unified the North and the South. The collection includes his famous Gettysburg Address, lesson plans, online games, curriculum units, and documents from Lincoln’s presidential library.

Communicating the Presidency – This resource from the Smithsonian Institute helps students learn how mass media, the entertainment industry and consumer products are all used to conduct a national dialogue between the president and his constituents.


LaniLani deGuia is a Norfolk, VA-based Educational Consultant with experience writing and developing curriculum and managing school technology. Learn more at Curriki.org.

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All About the Supreme Court

By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, Curriki

U.S. Supreme Court Building (Source:Wikimedia Commons)

U.S. Supreme Court Building (Source:Wikimedia Commons)

President Donald Trump’s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch for the U.S. Supreme Court is sparking a lively debate. It comes after Republicans refused to consider then-President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland for the seat vacated by when Antonin Scalia passed away February 2016.

But all this news about the Supreme Court provides a great opportunity for social studies teachers and homeschoolers to really dive into teaching their students about the Judicial Branch of the Federal Government. Fortunately, Curriki has a comprehensive collection of resources that support teaching and learning about the US Supreme Court.

In Crash Course: Supreme Court, PBS offers a fun video that helps us understand how a case makes it to the Supreme Court.

You’ll also find on this page:

(Source:Wikimedia Commons)

(Source:Wikimedia Commons)

In Supreme Court Activity, students do a simulation of a Supreme Court deliberation that introduces them to the difficult role of the courts balancing individual rights and public safety when national security is threatened.

Supreme Court Cases delves into the significance and outcomes of major Supreme Court cases and how they affect society.

The Challenge of Selecting an Ideal Supreme Court Nominee Government helps us understand the challenge a president faces in finding a judge to nominate who will be attractive enough to both parties to be confirmed.

Supreme Court Nominations teaches the fundamentals of Supreme Court Justice nominations and helps students understand the politics behind the nominations; challenges students to cut through the politics and compare nominees’ judicial philosophies.

The Supreme Court’s Role in American Society helps students understand the history and role of the Supreme Court, particularly in light of famous court rulings and the make-up of the court.


Photo of Janet PintoJanet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, leads and manages all of Curriki’s content development, user experience and academic direction. Learn more at Curriki.org.

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Inauguration and Protest

By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, Curriki

Iniguration

Source – Wikimedia Commons

Last Friday, we saw departing President Barack Obama hand the leadership baton to Donald J. Trump, the 45th president of the United States of America, in a solemn ceremony in Washington, D.C., that has been repeated many times since George Washington’s inauguration.

The next day, millions of people marched in Washington and across the country (and the world) in non-violent protest of the Trump presidency and to declare their support for the rights of women, LGBT persons, immigrants and Muslims.

The timing of the two events presents a unique opportunity for educators and homeschoolers to examine both the role of the presidency, including inaugurations through history, and that of non-violent protest in eliciting change.

Inauguration

The inauguration of the President of the United States is a ceremony that marks the commencement of a new four-year term of a president. It happens at the western front of US Capitol on Jan. 20. The oath is usually administered by the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, and the new president and vice president officially take office at noon.

Women's March on Denver (Photo by Hammster Media)

Women’s March on Denver (Photo by Hammster Media)

Curriki offers several resources that explain presidential inaugurations.

The Role of the President

Curriki offers a curated collection of lessons and activities that help students grasp the complex responsibilities and roles of the Executive Branch of the U.S. Government.

  • The President’s Job helps students review the role of the presidency by using objects, images and documents.
  • Defining the Presidency helps students learn about the Continental Congress, the Constitutional Convention, and the election of our first president, George Washington.

Civil Protest

  • The Women’s March on Washington the day after the inauguration – as well as 386 sister marches held in other cities across America – invites us to take a look at the historical role of nonviolent protest on government action.
  • The mission of the march, according to the Women’s March on Washington website, was: “In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore.

“The Women’s March on Washington will send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world, that women’s rights are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.”

For educators and homeschoolers, the women’s marches present an opportunity to teach about democracy’s basic principles. The grassroots protests can ignite interesting debate in the classroom, as well as a lesson in the history and effectiveness of non-violent protest.

  • The President’s Roles and Responsibilities: Communicating with the President, a collection of two lessons from EDSITEment, encourages students to consider the roles and responsibilities of the U.S. president and their own roles as citizens of a democracy.
  • Protest Signs examines protest signs as a powerful and important way for people to express their feelings, as children compare 2 protest signs from the civil rights movement and then create their own expressive poster. It is included in an OurStory module entitled Students Sit for Civil Rights, by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

Photo of Janet PintoJanet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, leads and manages all of Curriki’s content development, user experience and academic direction. Learn more at Curriki.org.

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STORYWORLD Joins the Curriki Toolbox

STORYWORLD logoBy Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, Curriki

Learning a language is hard. Teaching a language can be even harder!

Research in language acquisition indicates that reading is one of the most effective ways to learn a new language. The more students read, the faster they learn. However, for the narrative to be meaningful, 90% of the words have to be comprehensible. That challenges teachers and parents
to find appropriate texts to match each learner’s language level.

Meet Curriki’s newest partner, STORYWORLD

STORYWORLD solves all this. STORYWORLD translates every word of every book with a simple click. Click once to hear the word pronounced, click again to hear and read the translation in the home language. No dictionary needed! Students can also switch the entire page to read and listen to the story in their home language for deeper understanding. This feature helps single-language parents support bilingual learners.

All these unique features unlock the story for virtually any student at any level.

storyworld-illustrationSTORYWORLD makes reading easy and natural. Learners acquire language naturally, listening to each story supported with visual clues. So, language becomes the vehicle for learning, not the end in itself. Narration by native speakers helps learners become familiar with the natural rhythm and sound of the language.

STORYWORLD Truly Makes Learning Fun

Students play the games at the end of each story, winning points while engaging in activities that reinforce core vocabulary and comprehension. At the end of each book read, every word or phrase that was clicked is saved in a personalized vocabulary list so the learner can review his or her own challenging vocabulary.

STORYWORLD’s Lexile® leveled library covers more than 1000 words and phrases, all presented with fun stories and colorful images. Subjects cover animals, body, celebrations, colors, counting, daily life, family, food, friends, locations, morals, school, transit, travel, and weather, so there’s something for everyone.

With STORYWORLD’s unique built-in one-on-one support, kids can easily teach themselves a new language in their zone of proximal development, that space between what they know and what they need to know, where learning happens most naturally.

Research has proven that students using STORYWORLD’s interactive bilingual books are able to learn independently in formal and informal learning settings.

STORYWORLD Aids Brain Development

And…STORYWORLD supports brain development! Learning a second language benefits children in multiple ways. Children who grow up learning multiple languages have enhanced brain development, show greater empathy for other cultures, and enjoy career opportunities in life.

Teachers, parents, join the growing STORYWORLD community.


Janet PintoJanet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, leads and manages all of Curriki’s content development, user experience and academic direction. Learn more at Curriki.org.

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(Images provided by STORYWORLD)