Author Archives: Curriki

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.

education-at-a-glance-2014-key-findings-1-638

“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

math2

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!

What are OERs?

OER2

By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki

Here at Curriki, we talk a lot about OERs assuming everyone is familiar with the term. But in case you’re not, here’s a short explanation of what they are and why they’re so beneficial. janetpic_preferred_cropped

What are OERs?

OER stands for Open Educational Resources, which are high-quality, openly licensed, online educational materials that teachers, educators, or other professionals have created and have made freely available to others for use, reuse, adaptation, and sharing.

What does that mean to you? If you’re a teacher or a student, you can freely use or adapt these materials to suit your personal needs.

How are OERs used in education?

Digital technologies like OERs allow us to personalize the learning experience so that students can learn at their own pace and have instant access to the latest information.

OERs can improve education by allowing costs to be shifted away from expensive, proprietary resources to open, sharable ones. Plus, OERs can help break down the barriers of the “Education Divide” – the gap between those who have access to high-quality education and those who do not.

Curriki offers K-12 OERs

Reaching more than 10 million users worldwide, Curriki is the largest global learning community where you can find more than 56,000 free learning assets, ranging from lesson plans, videos, and worksheets to multimedia activities and courses.

All of the OERs have been created and contributed by educators, curriculum designers, curriculum partners, and school districts. They are “mashable,” which means that you can select resources (e.g., lesson plans, videos, animations, photos, etc.), tweak them, or combine them with other resources to generate your own custom teaching tools. And many OERs have already been mapped to standards.

Have you checked out the thousands of OERs in all subjects and grade levels available on Curriki?  Here’s an example of what you’ll find:

July2014

You can get access to these free learning resources by joining Curriki (it’s easy and it’s free). Start downloading resources today.

The Threat to Student Data Privacy

 

Data privacyBy Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki

janetpic_preferred_croppedParent Earl MacEnulty was recently on The Stream on Al Jazeera America (@ajam) talking about the theft of his child’s identity since the age of five. As more and more schools move to online systems and the “cloud” to track everything from a student’s performance to behavioral, financial and health records, the security of students’ personal and academic information is at greater risk.

Of course, there are many concerns. One is that highly sensitive student data is not only used by the school district, but shared with third-parties, including for-profit vendors. Suddenly, students could be seeing pop-up ads saying “Struggling with Algebra? Tutors available…” Or worse, the danger that a student’s identity will be stolen, which is becoming increasingly common. According to the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book, children, 19 and under, made up 6 percent of all identity theft victims in 2012.

dataprivacy

According to Diane Ravitch, president of the Network for Public Education, “Since the passage of FERPA in 1974, parents expected that Congress was protecting the confidentiality of information about their children. However, in recent years, the US Department of Education has rewritten the regulations governing FERPA, eviscerating its purpose and allowing outside parties to gain access to data about children that should not be divulged to vendors and other third parties. The Network for Public Education calls on Congress to strengthen FERPA and restore the protection of families’ right to privacy.”

Last week, the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy urged Congress to review and strengthen both FERPA and Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), to roll back the harmful provisions of the 2009 and 2011 FERPA regulations, and to update both laws in light of new and unforeseen threats to privacy rights. You can read more about this in their letter here.

Do you have concerns about student data privacy or do you believe we’re in an online era where “over sharing” is the norm and there is no privacy?

Common Core Adoption: A Tale of Two Districts

janetpintoBy Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki

Curriki is following the rollout of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) with great interest, and you will see us report on this regularly in this blog.

Since we have a broad international audience, here is a quick description of the Common Core initiative in the United States. K-12 education in the U.S. is primarily the responsibility of individual states and localities. The CCSS is an initiative whose origins date back to the 1990s. It is sponsored by the state Governors and state education authorities, and currently 44 states (out of 50) are fully participating. CCSS addresses Mathematics and English Language Arts only at present (Science and Humanities subjects are not covered).

According to Wikipedia, “the nation’s governors and corporate leaders founded Achieve, Inc. in 1996 as a bipartisan organization to raise academic standards and graduation requirements, improve assessments, and strengthen accountability in all 50 states…Standards were released for mathematics and English language arts on June 2, 2010, with a majority of states adopting the standards in the subsequent months.”

Curriki is supportive of the objectives of CCSS and we believe that we can contribute significantly, whether in the role of supplementary curricular materials or indeed, in a more central role.

Photo by ninhale via Flickr Creative Commons

The upcoming academic year 2014/2015 represents a key year in the CCSS rollout. While CCSS outlines standards and requirements, it does not provide curricula. It is up to each state and each district to determine what materials to use. Publishers of textbooks and other learning materials are naturally working toward adhering to CCSS standards. But this is a very large change and some updated textbooks are being criticized as just representing a rehash of older material rather than a fully top-down restructuring and redesign in order to fully adhere to the spirit and guidelines of CCSS.

Here’s an article comparing the experiences of two different districts -

http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/04/23/29cc-curriculum.h33.html

One district is in the state of California (Long Beach) and the other is in Florida (Orlando). According to the Edweek article:

“They solved that problem in very different ways. The Florida group scoured the market and chose a suite of materials from a major publisher. Their colleagues across the country, dissatisfied with that same marketplace’s offerings—and limited by their thin pocketbook—wrote their own curriculum.”

The article notes that many districts across the country have delayed updating textbooks and curricular materials as they waited to see what publishers would produce. The district in Florida picked materials primarily from one publisher based on perceived “reflection of the common core and for having a better digital component and better interventions for students with weak skills”.

However the Long Beach district in California took a different path. Given their budget realities, and the slow schedule for CCSS rollout at their state level, they chose to retain their existing mathematics and English language arts texts, but to build new curricula and materials around those.

Geometry_mobile2

One way to do this – enhance or develop curricula to align to CCSS – is to make use of Curriki! There are over 50,000 open educational resources on Curriki. These are available for free to build new curricula and supplement existing curricula. For example, Curriki Geometry is a complete geometry course, free at currikigeometry.org. Curriki’s Project-Based Learning and Common Core Aligned Geometry course will help your students build the skills and confidence that will help them conquer mathematical problems and develop 21st century skills such as communication, collaboration, and teamwork.

We will continue to report to you on CCSS adoption experiences and issues across the U.S.