Higher Income = Higher SAT Scores?

By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Currikijanetpic_preferred_cropped

Did you know that Curriki originated from the idea that technology could play a crucial role in breaking down the barriers of the Education Divide, i.e., the gap between those who have access to high-quality education and those who do not?

To this point, a recent article in the Wall Street Journal dubbed the SAT test the Student Affluence Test (aka Scholastic Aptitude Test) and showed some troubling statistics. “On average, students in 2014 in every income bracket outscored students in a lower bracket on every section of the test, according to calculations from the National Center for Fair & Open Testing (also known as FairTest), using data provided by the College Board, which administers the test.”

SAT test

Perhaps it’s not surprising that students from more affluent backgrounds scored higher on the SATs. Their parents make more money because they’re likely college-educated. Many live in neighborhoods with higher performing schools. And they have the option to hire in-home private tutors or attend after-school tutoring centers.

But not everyone has those opportunities.

Free Learning Resources Available to Anyone, Anywhere

Here at Curriki, we want to make learning possible for anyone, anywhere in the world. And here’s the best part – it’s completely free. There are more than 57,000 free, high-quality resources for you to download, use, or customize.

For example, you can download SAT Vocab cards or the SAT Math Curriculum Guide for free.

Can’t afford a tutor? Sal Khan’s videos are very popular and you can find tutorials on everything from Algebra 1  to Biology and Projectile Motion.  STEMbite offers some great videos too that cover math and the sciences. There’s also A Survivor’s Guide to College Writing.

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The goal of Curriki is to make a high-quality education universally available. Join Curriki today: http://www.curriki.org

Please help us spread the word by sharing this with your friends and colleagues!

Education Activist Malala Wins Nobel Peace Prize

KimJonesimageBy Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

We at Curriki are so pleased that education rights activist and student Malala Yousafzai has been selected for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. At 17 years of age, she is the youngest person ever to have won a Nobel Prize.

Malala

Malala has worked fearlessly and tirelessly to promote the rights of girls to receive an education. A Pakistani national, she was attacked and shot two years ago in a cowardly act by Taliban militants in her country, simply because she had been outspoken on the subject of girls’ rights to education. But she would not be cowed. A very eloquent speaker, Malala has had more opportunities than ever to speak out on behalf of the importance of educating girls and supporting their rights.

Here is a video of Malala speaking to the TED community: http://youtu.be/aKSrDScQvkg

Malala is busy with her school studies as well as her promotion of education rights, and she loves physics. Upon hearing the news, Malala said “I’m proud that I’m the first Pakistani and the first young woman, or the first young person, who is getting this award. This is not the end, this is not the end of my campaign, this is the beginning.” Her interview with the BBC is here.

Malala shares the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize with 60-year old Kailash Satyarthi of India. He is the leader of the Save the Childhood Movement, which has worked for decades against child forced labor and servitude. The Save the Childhood Movement web site is at http://www.bba.org.in.

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“This prize is a recognition and honor to hundreds and millions of children who are still languishing in slavery, who are still deprived of their childhood, their education, their health care, their fundamental rights” said Mr. Satyarthi.

For children who are subject to forced labor, there is not even the hope of an education and their prospects for a decent future are seriously impaired.

As the Nobel committee puts it in their announcement, they are awarding this 2014 Peace Prize to Ms. Yousafzai and Mr. Satyarthi “… for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.” You can read the full announcement here: http://nobelpeaceprize.org/en_GB/laureates/laureates-2014/announce-2014/

Curriki strongly supports the educational rights and aspirations of all girls— indeed all children—around the globe. We provide over 57,000 open source and free educational materials which are available to teachers and students around the world. Please spread the word and help us to increase the access to these and to future new resources provided on Curriki.

Making STEM Learning Fun!

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By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki

Whether it’s teaching kindergartners to code, or keeping students’ engineering knowledge “fresh,” I’m amazed at the innovative and entertaining new resources available to enrich the STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) learning experience.

Learning should be fun. Here are a few of my recent favorites:

LEARNerds

This is a great idea for students interested in STEM! LEARNerds offers “bite-sized engineering challenges” in the form of a daily question/problem. It’s a fun way to stay on top of engineering fundamentals – especially if you’re studying for Fundamentals of Engineering Exam (FE) & Professional Engineering Exam (PE). Can you solve this problem?

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ScratchJr.

Here’s a simple (and free) way for young children to learn coding! ScratchJr is an introductory programming language that enables young children (ages 5-7) to create their own interactive stories and games. Children snap together graphical programming blocks to make characters move, jump, dance, and sing. Children can modify characters in the paint editor, add their own voices and sounds, even insert photos of themselves — then use the programming blocks to make their characters come to life. ScratchJr was inspired by the popular Scratch programming language (http://scratch.mit.edu), used by millions of young people (ages 8 and up) around the world.

Curriki STEM Resources

Did you know that there are thousands of STEM resources on Curriki? There are simply too many to mention, but here are a few popular ones:

  • STEMbite videos  – A collection of short video clips created by science and math teacher Andrew Vanden Heuvel from Michigan, USA. Using Google Glass he makes these bite-sized videos highlighting the science in our everyday lives and covers: biology, physics, technology and math. stembite
  • Sal Khan videos  – these popular videos from Khan Academy cover mathematical concepts.
  • STEM sheets –  A collection of printable and customizable worksheets, flash cards and more from STEM Sheets.

Do me a favor, please, and share this post with someone who’d enjoy these STEM resources.

Speak Up Against Bullying!

Photo by Eddie~S via Flickr Creative Commonsjanetpic_preferred_croppedBy Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer

Bullying used to be the tough kid beating up a smaller classmate. Today, cyber bullying is much more prevalent with students using electronic devices to send mean text messages, post rumors on social networking sites, and share embarrassing pictures and videos.

Video – Bullies and Bystanders: What Teens Say

Here are a few concerning facts from 2014 Cyberbullying Statistics:

  • 25 percent of teenagers report that they have experienced repeated bullying via their cell phone or on the internet.
  • Over half (52 percent) off young people report being cyber bullied.
  • Of the young people who reported cyber bullying incidents against them, one-third (33 percent) of them reported that their bullies issued online threats.
  • Over half (55 percent) of all teens who use social media have witnessed outright bullying via that medium.
  • More than 80 percent of teens regularly use cell phones, making them the most popular form of technology and therefore a common medium for cyber bullying.

October is National Bullying Prevention Month and now is an ideal time to get your school and students involved.

Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center offers several ways to show your support:

  • Register your school or organization as a Champion Against Bullying
  • Add your name to the digital “The End of Bullying Begins With Me” petition
  • Sign up for the Bullying Prevention Newsletter
  • Talk in your community about bullying prevention and local activities.

Stop Bullying: Take a Stand

StopBullying.gov offers several training resources as part of their Bullying Prevention Training Center, including a Bullying Prevention Training Module Presentation, a Community Action Toolkit that includes materials to create a community event, and Training for Educators and School Bus Drivers.

Student Yash Narayan designed BullyWatch to empower students.

5th grade student Yash Narayan designed BullyWatch to empower students.

Encourage students to make a difference too! Recently, Harker School 5th grade student Yash Narayan received the “Best Educational App” award from iOSDevCamp (normally attended by adults), where he created an innovative app called BullyWatch. Using BullyWatch, when students feel bullied, they press a button that turns orange, expressing emotions to the bully of feeling bullied. Usually bullies will then back off, but if not, the student can press the watch for a few more seconds and it will turn red, sending a text message to school staff with the victimized student’s name and location, thus alerting teachers.

Visit Curriki to find a collection on bullying resources.

Student Online Information Privacy

janetpic_preferredBy Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki

Student privacy is a growing issue, as more and more data is being gathered on K-12 students. The intent of thIs data acquisition is generally worthwhile. The primary purpose is to obtain more knowledge about student achievement and learning styles, and to support individualized instruction. The goal is to allow students to learn at their own pace.

There are, however, potential risks, since such data is being held in databases distributed on computers owned by school districts, or by state governments, or increasingly, by private companies and organizations. In some cases this data is being loaded into cloud computing resources owned by third parties.

Data privacy

The California state legislature has proposed the most comprehensive law ever to safeguard student information. The proposed law, titled the “Student Online Personal Information Protection Act”, awaits Governor Jerry Brown’s signature. The bill “requires operators of K-12 online sites, services, and applications to keep student personal information private. Under the bill, online operators can only use student personal information for school purposes; including adaptive and personalized student learning. The bill prohibits operators of K-12 online sites, services, and applications from selling student personal information to third parties, like advertisers.”  (This quotation is from SOPIPA Fact Sheet available at:

http://sd06.senate.ca.gov/sites/sd06.senate.ca.gov/files/SB1177_SOPIPA_FACT-SHEET.pdf)

“It’s a landmark bill in that it’s the first of its kind in the country to put the onus on Internet companies to do the right thing,” said Senator Darrell Steinberg, the California state senator who wrote the bill.

“Legislators in the state passed a law last month prohibiting educational sites, apps and cloud services used by schools from selling or disclosing personal information about students from kindergarten through high school; from using the children’s data to market to them; and from compiling dossiers on them. The law is a response to growing parental concern that sensitive information about children — like data about learning disabilities, disciplinary problems or family trauma — might be disseminated and disclosed, potentially hampering college or career prospects. Although other states have enacted limited restrictions on such data, California’s law is the most wide-ranging.” – NY Times blog of September 15th

A majority of states in the U.S. have implemented, or are considering, various forms of student privacy legislation to prevent disclosure and commercial use of student data outside of the school context. The federal legislation currently on the books is now four decades old, and not suited to the modern era of mobile devices, social media, cloud computing, and Big Data (massive databases).

Here is Curriki’s privacy policy with respect to young children:

OUR COMMITMENT TO CHILDREN’S PRIVACY

Protecting the privacy of young children is especially important. For that reason, Curriki does not knowingly collect or maintain personally identifiable information on the Curriki Site from persons under 13 years-of-age. If Curriki learns that personally-identifiable information of persons less than 13-years-of-age has been collected on Curriki without verifiable parental consent, then Curriki will take the appropriate steps to delete this information. If you are a parent or guardian and discover that your child under the age of 13 has obtained a Curriki Site account, then you may alert Curriki at Webmaster@curriki.org and request that Curriki delete that child’s personal information from its systems.

And for the benefit of all of our users, Curriki is not in the business of selling your personal information. You can see our entire privacy policy here: http://www.curriki.org/xwiki/bin/view/Main/PrivacyPolicy

We’d love to hear your comments. Where do you stand on this student privacy issue? How can we implement Big Data technology in schools so as to gain the benefits of better student learning outcomes, but without compromising personal data?

OECD Report: Education at a Glance 2014

KimJonesimage  By Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

 

The OECD report “Education at a Glance 2014″ was released on 9 September 2014.

EducationataGlance2014The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has 34 member countries, and they included data from 10 additional countries in this report. The report looks at educational attainment and impact on economic and employment results in 44 countries across Europe, North and South America, Africa and the Asia / Pacific region.

Key findings include:

  • The economic divide between tertiary-educated (college or university-educated) individuals and those with less education is growing.
  • The level of unemployment is 3 times lower among those with a tertiary education (5% vs. 14%)
  • Those with tertiary-level educations earn twice as much as the average of those with less education.

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“Education can lift people out of poverty and social exclusion, but to do so we need to break the link between social background and educational opportunity,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría. “The biggest threat to inclusive growth is the risk that social mobility could grind to a halt. Increasing access to education for everyone and continuing to improve people’s skills will be essential to long-term prosperity and a more cohesive society.

A press release from the OECD with a high-level overview of the key findings is at: http://www.oecd.org/newsroom/educational-mobility-starts-to-slow-in-industrialised-world-says-oecd.htm

A 55 slide summary of many of the key results is available at: http://www.slideshare.net/mobile/OECDEDU/education-at-a-glance-2014-key-findings

You can access the full 568 page report at: http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/education/education-at-a-glance-2014_eag-2014-en

Curriki_Free OER 100x400-Æ

Curriki shares the objectives of increased access to education and improving work-related skills for people across the world. Curriki helps to spread educational opportunity to children in all countries by providing over 50,000 free and open K-12 educational resources at www.curriki.org/welcome.

10 Most Popular (and Free) Math Resources on Curriki

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By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki janetpic_preferred_cropped

If you know a math teacher or a student who’s interested in math, please tell them about Curriki. Did you know we offer more than 15,000 free online math open educational resources (OERs)? Here are our most popular math resources over the past year.

 

  1. fractionsTeaching Fractions  – this collection includes lessons and videos, including “Fraction Operations” and “Fun with Fractions.”
  2. Math for Americas: Lessons, Activities and Problems – designed for middle and high school students, this includes collections of lessons, activities, and problems organized by subject (pre-algebra, trigonometry, calculus, statistics, geometry and more).
  3. Geometry_mobile2Curriki Geometry PBL Modules –  Curriki Geometry comprises six Common Core State Standards (CCSS)- aligned projects. The projects are available in both PDF format for easy download and in an online course format at www.currikigeometry.org.
  4. Division (video) from Khan Academy –  This video is an introduction to division: what it means and how to do it. You can find links to many other Khan Academy video resources here.
  5. algebra2For Students: Project-based Pre-Algebra – This unit is meant to provide supplemental support to a standard Pre-Algebra course and is meant to connect the world of math to that of art. These projects follow the typical sequence of a standard 7th/8th grade Pre-Algebra course.
  6. Relationships between Quantities and Reasoning with Equations – By the end of eighth grade, students have learned to solve linear equations in one variable and have applied graphical and algebraic methods to analyze and solve systems of linear equations in two variables. This unit builds on these earlier experiences by asking students to analyze and explain the process of solving an equation.
  7. FHSSTMathematics - This collection is a full course of material in the form of a textbook provided by FHSST (Free High School Science Texts). FHSST is a project that aims to provide free science and mathematics textbooks for Grades 10 to 12 science learners.
  8. Area of a Triangle – This lesson walks students through a classic optimization problem involving building the maximum area of a triangle, expressed in terms of an angle. The lesson uses a worksheet in The Geometers Sketchpad.
  9. algebra1Curriki Algebra – These modules are based upon the domains and Common Core State Standards clusters. They contain daily lessons based on the four algebra domains and the standards and standard clusters found within. The daily lessons are based on 50-minute sessions and build up to a culminating project-based activity.
  10. Math eTextbooks -  A collection of free math eTextbooks including algebra, statistics and probability, calculus, geometry and more.

Please help us spread the word and share this list with a friend or colleague!