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.

Sign up for Curriki’s enewsletter!

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!

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.

Sign up for Curriki’s enewsletter!

From Slavery to the White House: Celebrate Black History Month with Curriki

By Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

Source - Public domain (http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2008661312/)

Source – Public domain (www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2008661312/)

Licence CC-BY-SA by Karen Fasimpaur

Black History Month, held each February in the United States, celebrates the contributions of African Americans to United States history. Curriki offers a treasure trove of vetted resources to help teachers and homeschoolers introduce their students to the central role African Americans have played in U.S. history – from slavery to the Oval Office.

History.com Resources

One of the best Black History Month resources in the Curriki Library is History.com. A couple of our favorites include:

  • Black History Milestones
    History.com’s discussion of Black History Milestones explores milestones and events that shaped African-American history, including the Civil War, the abolition of slavery, the civil rights movement, and the election of the first black president, Barack Obama.
  • Black History Facts
    Did you know that Madam CJ Walker was America’s first self-made woman to become a millionaire? Or that George Washington Carver was able to derive nearly 300 products from peanuts? Get the story of the creation of the NAACP, famous firsts in African American history, and more in History.com’s discussion of Black History Facts.
  • America at the End of the Civil War
    The America at the End of the Civil War unit by Nassau BOCES uses a PowerPoint presentation and music to reflect the culture of America after the Civil War, including the war’s aftermath and the Jim Crow Laws.

Black History on Video

Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks (public domain)

Rosa Parks
Rosa Parks has been called “the first lady of civil rights” because she refused to give up her seat in the colored section of a bus to a white passenger, after the white section was filled. Her courageous act of defiance and the subsequent Montgomery Bus Boycott became important symbols of the Civil Rights Movement.

Curriki’s Rosa Parks Introductory Lesson for kids in grades 4-6 introduces Rosa Parks using a Language Arts lesson plan.

In an activity from Read Write Think, students make believe that the year is 1955 and they just heard about Parks’ arrest, and write newspaper editorials about segregation.

Famous African Americans on Video

Curriki’s Black History Month collection includes a number of opportunities to introduce prominent African Americans through video:

  • Rosa Parks
    History.com offers videos about Rosa Parks and the Montgomery bus boycott and more.
  • Frederick Douglass
    Frederick Douglass was an African American slave who became a social reformer and abolitionist. This cartoon biography makes learning his story fun.
  • George Washington Carver
    Journey into to the life of George Washington Carver, who was born into slavery but overcame his surroundings to use plant biology and his ideas to help the world.
  • Harriett Tubman
    This Harriet Tubman mini-biography teaches about the Underground Railroad and the Civil War.
  • Sojourner Truth
    Sojourner Truth was an escaped slave who became an abolitionist and women’s rights activist.

More Black History Month VideosObama poster

  • The Civil Rights Movement
    The Civil Rights Movement helped change the United States of America, and Brown vs. Board of Education stopped segregation in schools. Welcome to FresBerg’s educational videos deliver watchable lessons.
  • 14th Amendment
    The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution ordered states to stop discriminating against blacks. This educational video tells the story.

Other Resources

  • Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
    The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, part of the New York Public Library system, is a national research library devoted to collecting, preserving and providing access to resources documenting the history and experiences of peoples of African descent throughout the world. The website features online access to digitized images, texts, manuscripts, and archival finding aids – great for students researching any topics having to do with African-American history.
  • National Geographic
    Celebrate the achievements of African Americans past and present during Black History Month. This collection of resources from National Geographic includes profiles of prominent figures such as President Barack Obama and lesser-known war heroine Mary Seacole. Try an interactive exercise to witness the challenges slaves faced attempting to escape North. Explore hands-on activities, maps, and more that will give students of all backgrounds new perspectives on this important part of American culture.

See all of Curriki’s Black History Month resources.


KimJonesimageKim 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!

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.

Sign up for Curriki’s enewsletter!

(Images provided by STORYWORLD)

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – Honoring an American Hero

mlk3

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

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day—celebrated next Monday, Jan. 16, 2017—provides an inspiring opportunity to teach about justice and heroism.

Dr. King—an American hero who lived and died long before our students were born—is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using nonviolent civil disobedience based on his Christian beliefs. Although he died for his beliefs, his legacy lived on in a changed world.

The United States declared Dr. King’s birthday a federal holiday in 1986, but his commitment to civil rights through non-violent protest resonates even today, far beyond US shores. He has been honored with the Nobel Peace Prize, among many others.

Here are a few of Curriki’s favorite resources for teaching a new generation about this great man:

Who Was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.?
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream: equality for all people. This lesson looks at how one life can change the world.

Martin Luther King, Jr. and Me: Identifying with a Hero
This lesson provides ideas for celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day by encouraging students to explore the connections between Dr. King and themselves.

Martin Luther KingLiving the Dream: 100 Acts of Kindness
Students participate in Dr. King’s dream by doing 100 acts of kindness.

Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Power of Nonviolence
This lesson introduces Middle School students to King’s philosophy of nonviolence, and to the teachings of Mohandas K. Gandhi that influenced King’s views.

Martin Luther King Day Teaching Resources
Science NetLinks and AAAS have developed a number of resources from the social and behavioral sciences that will help you celebrate the work and legacy of Dr. King in your classroom, from understanding stereotypes to skin color to social class.

Scholastic MLK Resources
Learn about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his nonviolent struggle for civil rights in the United States with biographies, memorable quotes, plays, printables and multimedia resources.


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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Curriki in 2017: Who Uses Curriki, and Why Does It Matter?

By Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

studentsCurriki believes technology plays a crucial role in breaking down the barriers between those who have access to high-quality education and those who do not. Curriki helps bridge this educational divide by providing free and open resources to everyone.

This is more important in 2017 than ever before, as technology continues to shrink our world and give Curriki access to more educators and learners.

With a community of over 10 million global users, Curriki encourages collaboration by educators with diverse experiences from around the world to develop peer-reviewed and classroom tested learning resources and to create a culture of continuous improvement.

Curriki would not be able to fulfill its ambitious mission without the enthusiastic participation of its wide array of users:

Who Uses Curriki?

  • Curriculum Teams! We provide group spaces for members to collaborate on curriculum development, share ideas, and support one another.
  • Educators! Teachers and homeschool parents are on the educational front lines, and Curriki provides an endless library of materials.
  • Parents! Curriki has pre-screened and reviewed materials so parents can easily find what they are looking for.
  • Pre-Service and New Teachers! Use the collective knowledge of the global community to develop your skills and lesson banks.
  • Content Providers! They generously share their materials & create learning resources for the Curriki community.
  • YOU! Join Curriki.org and join the effort to make high-quality educational materials available for all. It’s free!

 


KimJonesimageKim 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!