BYOD in the Classroom

janetpic_preferredBy Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki

Most elementary and secondary students are using mobile devices in their studies, either in the classroom or at home, according to a study by Pearson. The study polled more than 2,300 American students in grades 4 through 12 (aged 8 to 18) and found that almost one-third of students already own a tablet and 43 percent own a smartphone.

Pearson Student Mobile Study Device Survey 2013 Grades 4-12 Infographic 

In fact, the survey found that seven in ten students would like to use mobile devices more often in their classrooms. The rise of mobile devices in the classroom will be greatly aided by the ConnectED initiative’s planned E-Rate Reform in the U.S. which will help connect more students and provide faster access to Internet in schools, paving the way for digital learning resources.

Geometry Course Designed for Mobile Devices


This week, Curriki announced the Curriki Geometry website  where usability and page design for its innovative Project Based Learning (PBL) geometry curriculum is optimized for mobile devices.

Available for free, students and teachers now have access to a geometry curriculum that is designed to meet the needs of students born in a global, interactive, digitally-connected world.

Curriki Geometry is a set of six Common Core Aligned projects delivered in a mobile-optimized web environment with access points for students and teachers.


Teachers are provided with pacing guides, formative assessments, rubrics, guidance on managing a PBL project, tools to help teachers guide students as they learn to collaborate with each other, and reflection tools for both students and teachers.

Please share this new resource with friends and colleagues and let us know what you think!

DIgital Learning Day is February 5th

KimJonesimageBy Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

Digital Learning Day is next Wednesday, February 5th. The goal of Digital Learning Day is to give every child the opportunity “to learn in a robust digital environment everyday”.


A virtual conference and live webcasts will be held from 11 AM to 4 PM EST, and hosted from the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Here’s where you can register. The conference will highlight effective use of digital learning, with topics including:

  • Lesson plans, games
  • Live chats with experts
  • Interactive polls of the audience
  • Informational videos on demand
  • Virtual trade show

The event will include leaders from government, education leadership and corporations active in the field of education, plus executives from major education organizations. And an exciting “Power Panel” will be moderated by Judy Woodruff of the PBS NewsHour.

There are hundreds of organizations and corporations involved with Digital Learning Day. Major corporate partners include AT&T, Intel, McGraw-Hill and Microsoft, among others. The national core partners are listed here. There are new partnerships with the NEA and the National PTA.

Each of the 50 states in the U.S. is also hosting its own statewide event.

Here’s one teacher’s experience with digital learning and flipping his classroom during the past year. He’s had great results even though his class has a large number of students new to the U.S.

You can learn all about Digital Learning Day here. Don’t miss the video highlights for this year’s event and from the 2012 and 2013 events, found here.

Girls and STEM: Bias begins with Toddlers?

KimJonesimageBy Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

Even when girls and boys demonstrate similar actual competence levels in math, during the early school years, boys are more confident about their math skills. Already by kindergarten, boys have more interest in pursuing math learning than do girls.

STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) related jobs are some of the best jobs out there, and increasingly important in our technology-driven economy. But the percentage of women in many STEM jobs remains very low. Only about 1/4 of STEM jobs in the U.S. are filled by women. Women’s share of computer jobs has actually been falling in recent years. At present, only 18% of U.S. computer science majors are women.

According to the Office of Science and Technology Policy, women in STEM professions earn 33% more than those in other fields.


It’s generally understood that by school age, girls receive less encouragement in math and science pursuits than do boys, from both parents and teachers. What’s interesting is that it now seems this bias starts from a very early age, less than the age of 2 years!

In a study entitled “Gender Biases in Early Number Exposure to Preschool-Aged Children”, published in 2011 in the Journal of Language and Social Psychology, researchers at the University of Delaware found that mothers spent fully twice as much time talking to their sons about numbers and numeric concepts as they did with their daughters! The average age of the children in the study was only 22 months, for both the boys and the girls.

Here’s a related set of resources on Curriki – Math for Girls. This link includes a series of videos featuring women working in mathematics and presenting pieces of math that excited them when they were in middle and high school.

Help girls realize that math and sciences education is not just for the boys. Even if they don’t end up pursuing STEM careers, there is a lot of useful and interesting knowledge to be gained in studying math, science and engineering topics. The use of math in traditionally non-STEM careers, such as finance and marketing, is only increasing. And maybe they are better at math than they think they are!

You’ll also find other resources at this link including profiles of women in Math, and in STEM careers in general.

References: – Girls in STEM: A New Generation of Women in Science

Teaching Kids About Gratitude

By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki


With Thanksgiving and Hanukkah behind us and the holiday season just around the corner, I wanted to explore the idea of gratitude.  Many students today are faced with overwhelming social and academic pressures and they often fail to see the “good” in their lives, which colors their perspective and behavior.

According to Harvard-trained researcher Shawn Achor, most schools follow this formula: if you work harder, you will be more successful, and then you will be happy. Achor believes this formula is scientifically backward. A decade of research shows that training your brain to be positive at work or school first actually fuels greater success second. In fact, 75% of job success is predicted not by intelligence, but by your optimism, social support network and the ability to manage energy and stress in a positive way.

 I encourage you to watch this short (12 minute) entertaining and insightful TED Talk by Shawn Achor entitled “The Happy Secret to Better Work.”


Elementary School Experiment Improves Classroom Environment

Steve Reifman, an elementary school teacher in Santa Monica, CA, was inspired by Achor’s TED Talk and asked his students to think of three things each day that they were grateful for.  He did this for three weeks and surprisingly, the students were able to come up with new and different things each day. But more importantly, he noticed a marked improvement in his classroom environment.

 “I tried one of these ways with my students, and it had a wonderful effect on the children and the classroom environment as a whole,” said Reifman. “Give this idea a try in class with your students or at home with your children.”


If you try this, we’d love to hear your results.  Please share!

Best Online Math Resources

math-blogBy Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki


Many children don’t understand why they need to learn math if they’re not studying to become an engineer or an accountant.  But we use math every day, whether we’re calculating a meal tip or budgeting for a big ticket item.

At Curriki, we offer more than 10,500 math resources  designed for grades K-12. And the best part is that they’re FREE for teachers, students and parents to use.


Our two newest math courses are now available: Curriki Algebra and Curriki Geometry.  Both curricula are aligned to Common Core Standards and use project-based teaching methods to engage today’s “digital” student through interactive technologies, videos, real-world examples and more.

Here are several sites that offer quality math resources:

Khan Academy – A popular site among teachers and students alike, Khan Academy offers thousands of videos for students to learn at their own pace.

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics – Illuminations offers standards-based math resources for K-12 teachers including online activities and lessons.

PBS Teacher’s Math  – You can search for math resources by grade level or subject, which all have a focus on games and interactivity.

Super Kid’s Math – This site not only rates educational software, but offers a handy way to easily create math drill worksheets.

Inside Mathematics   – This is a professional resource for teachers and features innovative teaching methods and tools and promotes the sharing of best practices.

Passy’s World of Mathematics  – A blog written by Passy, a teacher of mathematics and ICT (information and communications technology) sharing “all the fun ways of doing mathematics online 24×7.”

Curriki –  –10,000+ math resources that can be personalized for different styles of learning and range from lessons and workbooks, to interactive games and videos.

[Note: Curriki also offers 1000s of resources in other subject areas such as ELA, science, arts , world languages, education technology and more.]

Curriki: 3 Tips to Get Started

By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki


Earlier this week, I was talking to my neighbor, who is a high school English teacher. While she’s aware of Curriki (and follows us on Facebook  and subscribes to our newsletter ), she wasn’t really sure how to use Curriki.  So here are a few tips to get started:

1) Chances are, you’re looking for K-12 resources. If you’re interested in a specific subject or grade level, the easiest way is to start with the Search function that you’ll find on the homepage of


Click on the magnifying glass icon to use Advanced Search (much easier to find things!). As an example (see below), in the “search term” box, I typed in “persuasive essay”  and selected “grades 9-10.” Hit return and I got the following results. The first resource contributed by Sarah Lorntson looks interesting to me since it’s rated “3-Exemplary” and has several member comments.


2) Browse resources that have been reviewed by members or rated by Curriki. Use the Advanced Search to find resources that are Top-Rated by Curriki or Top Rated by Members.  I often combine this search with a special filter that only shows new resources or those that have been recently updated:


I like the ability to filter my searches because it’s helpful to read the reviews by other teachers.  For example, here is what members have to say about the Fish Mummy resource.


3) Join a group. There are more than 700 groups!  Or, you can start your own.  Connect with fellow educators to exchange ideas, best practices, and curricula. Simply choose a group and check out hot topics, helpful resources, etc.


I’ll continue this series with additional ways you can engage with Curriki.  Let me know if there are particular topics you’d like me to cover.

Finally, please pass this along to a friend so they can benefit from the thousands of FREE K-12 learning resources available on Curriki.  Thank you!

WISE Books: Third Book to be Published in 2014

KimJonesimageBy Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

WISE is the World Innovation Summit for Education, established 4 years ago by the Qatar Foundation, under the patronage of Her Highness Sheika Moza bint Nasser. WISE works to build the future of education through innovation on the basis of “creative thinking, debate and purposeful action.” The WISE web site is here:


WISE has produced two books to date, and a third is in development, for release during 2014. The books are designed to support and inspire innovation and best practices for 21st century education. The WISE Books are research-intensive, based on travel to a significant number of countries in order to examine educational initiatives, projects, and best practices around the world.

The third book in the series “will focus on the link between technology and learning and will investigate how the connected society is transforming learning.” We are all familiar with the rapid adoption of digital technology, and the increasing opportunities for collaboration and connectivity, eliminating barriers due to geography and also between disciplines.

This next book will be written by Graham Brown-Martin, who is the Founder of Education Design Labs. His blog is at and will report on his travels to meet with educators and schools in Ghana, Lebanon, China, Singapore, Brazil, Jordan, Dubai, the U.K., India, Russia and the U.S. in support of the book’s development. Award-winning photographer Newsha Tavakolian will illustrate the book. Mr. Brown-Martin has an extensive career in the education technology and entertainment software industries, which places him in an ideal position to understand the best ways to engage children with technology for project-based learning, gamification in education, and other digital learning technologies.

You can find a very interesting interview with Mr. Brown-Martin regarding his views around 21st century education and his plans for the book here on the WISE web site: He wonders why “We continue to use technology to reinforce 19th century teaching practice.”

Curriki is here to help change that, to support the use of 21st century technology and 21st century practice in support of better learning outcomes and the rapidly evolving needs of students for an education relevant to our post-modern world.

I have been very pleased to attend WISE’s annual summits on behalf of Curriki. My report from last year’s event, themed “Collaborating for Change” is here:


Kim Jones (3rd from left) with colleagues from Mauritius, Canada and Malaysia

We at Curriki are looking forward to seeing the third book from WISE when it is released next year, and we encourage you to visit the WISE web site links above.

What Will the Classroom of the Future Look Like?

By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki


Let me rephrase that: Will there even be “classrooms” in the future?  Twenty years from now, learning may no longer be defined by time and place.

Imagine a school where students of all ages gather together to do coursework or to work on a project, interacting with teachers or “peer gurus” only when needed…a school where students are grouped not by grade level, but by level of knowledge of a particular subject, so that each group can have their individualized learning “playlists.” No desks. No textbooks. No bells signaling the end of a period. 

How far away is the new classroom?         

Here’s a nifty infographic from KnowledgeWorks on A Glimpse into the Future of Learning that shows some exciting possibilities. 


At Curriki, we believe strongly in personalized learning so that students are able to learn at their own pace – whether it’s at an introductory level or an accelerated level. The curriculum should be tailored to the student, not the other way around! That’s the beauty of open educational resources (OERs). Digital technologies allow us to personalize the learning experience so that students can learn at their own pace and have instant access to the latest information. And the best part is that all of Curriki’s 50,000+ online learning assets – from worksheets and videos, to lesson plans and games – are free to educators, students and parents everywhere. And many OERs have already been mapped to standards—both Common Core and state standards.

Your Predictions?

Tell us what you think the classroom of the future looks like.

[polldaddy poll=7300950]

Help shape the future of education and join Curriki today for access to thousands of free K-12 resources.

Featured Teacher Sam Stier’s Recommendations

samstierName: Sam Stier
Role: Curricula developer and teacher trainer
School: Learning with Nature
City, State: Missoula, Montana
Number of years teaching: 11

How I use Curriki: I use Curriki to see how others approach teaching a topic, and just to explore what teaching resources are readily available. The breadth, depth, and quality of the materials available are exceptional. Peer review really matters! The search function of the database is also terrific.

Here are some of my favorite Curriki resources:
* Contagion Lab – How Diseases Spread
* A curriculum unit to introduce engineering to junior high school students
* Fish Mummy Overview
* Play Together, Learn Together
* Inquiries with Acids and Bases

Here is a resource that I’ve contributed to Curriki:
* Concrete without Quarries: a sustainable chemistry lab inspired by nature

See Jemma Heliker’s Favorite Classroom Resources

???????????????????????????????Name: Jemma Heliker
Role: Middle and High School Language Arts Teacher
School: Mastery Charter, Shoemaker Campus
City, State: Philadelphia, PA
Number of years teaching: 5

How I use Curriki: The resources on Curriki cover every possible subject and area. As a busy teacher, I appreciate the teacher reviews to guide me to outstanding resources. Curriki has definitely improved many of my lessons and units.

Here are some of my favorite Curriki resources:
* MEET ME AT THE CORNER, Virtual Field Trips for Kids
* Middle School Grammar Unit by Robert Lucas
* Writing How – To Resources by Andrea Chen
* Literature Collection by Shmoop

Here are some resources that I’ve contributed to Curriki:
* The Secret Life of Bees Novel Unit
* The Kite Runner Novel Unit