Tag Archives: K-12 resources

Curriki Annual Survey for 2014

janetpic_preferred_croppedBy Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki

Last month, Curriki completed our annual global survey of the 400,000 strong Curriki member community and of our followers on Twitter and Facebook. We have a very diverse set of users, from dozens of countries around the world. Nearly 4000 of you responded to the survey, and we thank you for your time. The largest number of responses came from the U.S., Canada, India, Pakistan and South Africa, but many countries were represented.

We asked about age and gender. Almost half of the respondents are between the ages of 35 and 54, and the remainder are equally divided between those who are age 55 and above and those who are younger than 35. Regarding gender, 5/8 of the respondents are female and 3/8 are male.

Role

Role

This first pie chart shows the distribution of responses to the question: What is your role? Teachers, educators, administrators, parents, students and other categories were represented. Just over half of the respondents are teachers. After teachers, educators, students and parents were the most represented roles.

Affiliation

Affiliation

We also asked about affiliation. This second pie chart shows the responses to that question, indicating nearly half of the members who replied are working in public school districts. The next most populated categories are those at private schools and home schoolers.

Primary Reason to use Curriki

Primary Reason to use Curriki

The third chart (a bar chart) shows the responses to the question: What is the primary reason you visit the Curriki site? Some respondents provided more than one reason, so the total exceeded 100%. The top 3 are:

  1. Find resources for students to use
  2. Find teaching resources (e.g. lesson plans)
  3. As a source of new ideas

Other major reasons were to find resources for their own children, to connect with others in the education community and to contribute resources to Curriki.

We also asked about usage of Curriki groups (there are almost 800 groups at present). One out of 8 respondents participates in one or more of these groups. If you are not a group member, you may want to check these out – there is sure to be one of interest to you. Or you could start your own group around your favorite topic!

Thanks again to all those who participated in the survey!

 

School Funding: National Report Card

janetpic_preferred_croppedBy Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki

The 3rd Edition of Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card, was released on February 5th by the Education Law Center. A summary of the findings can be found at http://schoolfundingfairness.org. The full 49-page report can be downloaded for free at the site as well. The report evaluates all 50 states in the U.S. and the District of Columbia with respect to funding level, distribution, state fiscal effort, and coverage.

The Great Recession, which began in late 2007, had severe impacts on state and local tax revenues in the United States, and on budgets for education. The federal government stepped in on a temporary basis and provided additional funding to states to aid them in maintaining their levels of funding for education. But by 2010 this program ended. Almost all the states cut back on their investment in K-12 education as the federal funding was pulled back.

“As this National Report Card shows, most states did not step up when the federal stimulus dried up. Instead, they cut education funding, eroding fairness in some states and further retreating from that goal in others,” said David Sciarra, Education Law Center Executive Director and NRC co-author. “These latest results show school finance in most states is decidedly unfair, a condition which deprives equal educational opportunity to millions of public school children across the nation.”

Photo by popofatticus via Flickr Creative Commons

The major findings of this 3rd Edition of the National Report Card include:

  • There are significant disparities in funding, with per pupil expenditure ranging from less than $7000 to over $17,000, depending on the state.
  • Most states do not have progressive funding distribution patterns in response to the needs of high poverty districts. And in 5 states, the poorest districts have funding at least 20% lower than other districts.
  • States with the greatest commitment to education direct over 4.5% of their economic productivity to schools. The least committed states devote 2.5% or less.
  • Some states have relatively large numbers of children not in public schools. The report expresses a concern about the effects of this on support for adequate levels of funding for public education in such states.

Curriki helps to eliminate the Education Divide. Curriki originated from the idea that technology can play a crucial role in breaking down the barriers of the Education Divide – the gap between those  who have access to high-quality education and those who do not. Curriki helps bridge this divide by providing over 50,000 free and open resources to teachers who need them most. Learn more at http://www.curriki.org/welcome/about-curriki/faq/.

Telling Time: Three Terrific Resources

janetpic_preferred_croppedBy Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki

 

 

 

Here are three excellent Curriki resources for learning how to tell time, for kindergarten and lower grade elementary school students.

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Clock at Royal Observatory, Greenwich (credit: Alvesgaspar)

Just in Time:

http://www.curriki.org/xwiki/bin/view/Coll_Group_SCCSharing/JustinTime

This resource includes time telling games and an interactive learning clock.

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Time zone plaque in Chicago (credit: Joe Smack)

Playing with Time:

http://www.curriki.org/xwiki/bin/view/Coll_Group_SCCSharing/PlayingwithTime

This is a board game for telling time, and it is Common Core Standards aligned (first grade). It is one of the exemplary resources on Curriki.

Class Clock:

http://www.curriki.org/xwiki/bin/view/Coll_Group_SCCSharing/ClassClock

This is an applet for telling time, with both analog and digital displays, that teachers can use with elementary school classes. Our thanks to the Santa Clara County Office of Education and Karen Bergesen for sharing these resources.

And now, as a bonus, and for a much longer term perspective, here’s a resource which covers a time scale of tens and hundreds of millions of years!

Digging for Dinosaurs:

http://www.curriki.org/xwiki/bin/view/Coll_Group_SCCSharing/DiggingforDinosaurs

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Stegosaurus, Field Museum (credit: Killdevil)

This is an algebra resource at the high school level that is built around a theme of dinosaurs. Dig deeper to find more ancient dinosaur fossils! Thanks also to the Santa Clara County Office of Education for pointing out this resource as well.

Nelson Mandela and Education

Mandela.education

KimJonesimageBy Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

The world is mourning the passing of Nelson Mandela. Cosmologist Neil Turok, whose family is from South Africa, wrote this interesting tribute for a major Canadian newspaper - http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/mandela-politics-his-profession-education-his-passion/article15800318/

Quoting: ”But for me, Mr. Mandela’s greatest legacy won’t be his strength of character, or his capacity for forgiveness, or his towering intellect, or his passion for our homeland. What was most striking about him was his passion for education. He said, ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.’ “

Neil Turok’s parents fought against the apartheid system in South Africa and went into exile from South Africa to the U.K. Neil became a cosmologist (astrophysicist focused on the properties and evolution of the universe at large) and is now based in Canada. He is also a founder of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) and its Next Einstein Initiative, whose goal is to build 15 centers across the continent during the next 8 years. Their mission “is to enable Africa’s brightest students to flourish as independent thinkers, problem solvers and innovators capable of propelling Africa’s future scientific, educational and economic self-sufficiency.”

Dr. Turok notes: “Mr. Mandela foresaw the potential of Africa’s children: ‘It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mineworker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farm workers can become the president of a great nation.’ ” Or maybe a cosmologist or the next Einstein.

Curriki shares the same belief in education as the means to change the world, and to allow everyone to fulfill their potential. This is why we are providing Open Education Resources freely to anyone with an Internet connection – which increasingly means anyone in the world. In Africa, Internet penetration lags the rest of the world. It stands at 16% as of the end of 2012, but is also very rapidly growing.

As one example of OER on Curriki, we have Free High School Science Texts from the FHSST project begun in South Africa, and available here: http://www.curriki.org/xwiki/bin/view/Demo/fhsst

The project that created these was initiated by Mark Horner, a University of Cape Town (South Africa) post-graduate physics student, and it has since grown to a much larger group of contributors including students, lecturers and people in industry. It now brings together scientists from around the world who are willing to contribute, for free, to the writing of the books.

FHSST believes that science education is about more than learning subjects like physics, chemistry and mathematics. It is about learning to think and to solve problems. These are valuable skills that can be applied through all spheres of life. Teaching these skills to young people will equip them to make a positive contribution to their future and the future of the rest of the world.

Dumb Phones Become Smart Textbooks

KimJonesimageBy Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

In the Philippines, very few students can afford tablets or smartphones. In fact even in Manila only about 10% or so of all mobile phones are smartphones and those are mainly in the hands of adults, of course. Families generally have older style mobile phones used mostly for texting.

Students also typically carry a heavy load of textbooks to and from school each day. What can be done to move toward digital learning and to alleviate the physical burden of textbooks?

The SMART Communications telecoms provider in the Philippines, together with advertising agency DM9, has initiated a campaign known as Smart Txtbks to place textbook materials into an SMS format, residing on the SIMS of old analog mobile phones. So now the “dumb” phone becomes an e-textbook, acquiring smarts. Phones are upgraded from texting to textbooks!

The campaign is active at a number of schools and has helped improve both attendance and test scores. It is now expanding with more subject disciplines being added, and spreading across additional schools the Philippines.

Watch a short video on this fascinating digital learning effort here:

(If you can’t see the video in your browser, then click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=nqhdq76YXJc )

And here’s an article on the project:

http://www.techinasia.com/textbooks-on-feature-phones-boost-education-in-philippines/

Open educational resources are very well suited to this kind of solution. Because OER materials such as those found on Curriki are open source licensed, they can be modified and reformatted as needed, in order to adapt to different educational needs and different devices and formats. They also can be translated to different languages. We applaud this innovative campaign, and encourage its growth. And we stand ready to supply OER materials to programs of this type.

We also send our condolences and heartfelt concern to those impacted by the Haiyan typhoon which affected so much of the Philippines these past 2 days.

Curriki Continues Rapid Growth

KimJonesimageBy Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

Thank you to our members and user community! Because of you, Curriki has continued to grow rapidly during 2013. We have surpassed a third of a million in membership (educators, students and parents) and are on track to exceed half a million members during 2014. The recent growth rate in membership is fully 28% per year.

membergrowth

We have had over 9 million unique page views, which is triple the number from 3 years ago. And recently, usage of Curriki from mobile platforms has been growing rapidly. And during 2013, the number of free online resources at Curriki has grown to more than 53,000.

Usage of Curriki is growing very rapidly internationally. The top countries for Curriki are in North America, South Asia, Southeast Asia (the 10 ASEAN nations) and in Africa. The most rapid growth today is occurring in the ASEAN countries of Indonesia, Philippines, and Malaysia. Open educational resources (OER) can play a special role in developing nations with limited budgets for the latest curricular materials.

While the large majority of our materials are in the English language, we encourage content contributions in all languages.

The top 8 countries accessing Curriki resources at present are:

  1. U.S.
  2. India
  3. Philippines
  4. Malaysia
  5. Sri Lanka
  6. South Africa
  7. Canada
  8. Indonesia

geometry

We have recently introduced a full high school course in Curriki Geometry to accompany our previously released Curriki Algebra 1 course. Curriki Algebra 1 was evaluated by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction for the State of Washington in the U.S. This was a rigorous evaluation process of half a dozen OER algebra courses. Curriki Algebra 1 scored highly, including a strong rating for promoting deeper learning. Both of these courses, like all Curriki materials, are absolutely free to educators and students around the world.

algebra1

Thanks to you, we expect continued rapid growth for Curriki during the next few years. We encourage you to contribute resources, or contribute financially if you are able. And we encourage everyone to continue to look to Curriki for new, free, open educational resources that can be used in your classrooms and schools. Encourage your friends to join, or if not a member already, please join at welcome.curriki.org!

join