Tag Archives: Kim Jones

Introducing Curriki Japan: Open Educational Resources

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By Kim Jones, Curriki CEO

KimJonesimageI recently returned from a trip to Waseda University in Japan, where we proudly launched Curriki Japan, the first of Curriki’s international affiliates!  We are thrilled to announce that many of the same high-quality teaching and learning resources found on Curriki have been translated into Japanese by the all-volunteer Curriki Japan team and are now available to Japanese educators, parents and students for free.

 

The Curriki Japan team will also develop new Japanese content, including materials about Japanese history and culture that educators outside of Japan may use in their classrooms. At this time, there are 200+ resources that have been translated, with new resources being added each month.

 

wasedaHeld at the prestigious Waseda University, the Curriki Japan event was attended by over 300 educators, parents, students, and interested citizens, as well as leaders from Waseda University and Curriki.  Waseda University developed the affiliate program in Japan to fill the gap between those who have access to high-quality education and those who have lesser opportunity by making digital Open Educational Resources (OER) available for free on the web.

 

By leveraging the power of technology, Curriki Japan is giving all students the same opportunity to access world-class learning materials for free, according to Professor Emeritus Muraoka of the School of Engineering and Science at Waseda University.

 

L-R: Professor Kakei, Dean of Open Education at Waseda University; Professor Muraoka, School of Engineering and Science at Waseda University; Kim Jones, Curriki CEO; Hasegawa-san

L-R: Professor Katsuhiko Kakehi, Dean of Open Education Center, Waseda University; Professor Emeritus Yoichi Muraoka, Waseda University; Kim Jones, Curriki CEO; Susumu Hasegawa, Director, Curriki Japan and Member of the Board, JTP

Curriki continues to be an inspiring global community where educators, parents and students can collaborate, create, learn, and connect with others. Would you please share this news with friends, relatives or colleagues who live in Japan or speak Japanese?  

Beyond the Classroom: Community-based Learning

An interview with Curriki CEO Kim Jones…

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Tell us about Curriki’s new discussion boards.

We’re very excited because our new Discussion forum unites people with similar interests so we all can have conversations with each other and become part of a larger, global community focused on learning.

We’re no longer limited by “classroom walls” – you can ask questions, share ideas and gain inspiration from like-minded individuals around the world. The beauty is that each person brings a unique perspective resulting in a much richer experience.

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We encourage you to try it out. You can host multiple discussion threads, where people can respond to each other’s comments, give comments a “thumbs up,” and share interesting and important ideas through social media/email.

What kinds of topics can we expect to see?

The possibilities are endless.  Curriki hosts more than 775 groups, from Teach for America Teachers and STEM, to interest-specific groups like Australia Education Group and Adama University, which is a technical college in Ethiopia experimenting with discussions. If you don’t see something that interests you, you can start your own group.

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Can anyone host discussions?

Yes.

How easy is it to start a discussion?

It’s as simple as a couple of clicks. Just go to the discussions tab in your group and any member can create a new topic for discussion or participate in a discussion that someone else has initiated.

Do you have to be part of a group to join a discussion?

 Yes, currently Discussions are available only within groups.

What other capabilities can we expect from Curriki in the future?

First, I want to make sure you’re aware of our recently announced Curriki Geometry, which incorporates a project-based learning approach and is designed for mobile devices. This latest mobile curriculum adds to the rich variety of content (more than 55,000 learning resources!) already on Curriki.

Our focus this year is to make it easier to find the resources you need and to continue to make Curriki more interactive to enrich the community aspect.

If you have ideas for Curriki, I’d love to hear from you. You can reach me at KimCEO (at) curriki.org. I appreciate your continued support and enthusiasm for Curriki!

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:  http://www.wise-qatar.org/

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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 http://learning-reimagined.com/ 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: http://www.wise-qatar.org/technology-education. 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: http://currikiblog.wordpress.com/2012/11/19/wise-2012-in-qatar-was-a-great-inspiration/.

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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.

If You Care About OERs, Read This!

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By Kim Jones, Curriki CEO

If you’re not familiar with the term OER (Open Educational Resources), they are learning resources that teachers, educators, or other professionals have created and have made freely available to others for use, reuse, adaptation, and sharing.

Last week, Representative George Miller (CA) introduced the Transforming Education Through Technology Act in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Act would help schools, districts, and states transform learning systems by utilizing innovative technology.

We are very excited because the legislation includes prominent roles for OER in two ways:

  1. All U.S. states would be required to “consider making content widely available through open educational resources when making purchasing decisions with funds received” under the Act.
  2. OER is explicitly called out as an efficiency/productivity strategy that grantees could pursue to extend the “reach of high-quality materials, tools, curriculum, instruction, or teachers.”

I ask that you support this Act by creating awareness of its intent (i.e., please spread the word!), as well as its OER provision, so that we can garner broad support to advance this in Congress.

You can find out more about the Transforming Education Through Technology Act here. Specifically the legislation would:

  1. Support teachers and principals in using technology to increase college and career readiness, close achievement gaps, and engage all students.
  2. Help school districts build a technology infrastructure to make sure schools take full advantage of what technology has to offer.
  3. Help states improve student learning, upgrade assessments, and improve educator preparation and support.
  4. Seed innovation to create the learning environment of tomorrow using the best technology of today.

Thank you and stay tuned for ways that we can support this Act.

Will You Help Spread the Word?

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By Kim Jones, Curriki CEO

This has been an amazing year for Curriki with phenomenal growth in the number of visitors, members and new resources added! I want to extend my sincerest thanks to YOU, our Curriki members, who are helping to make Curriki the leading K-12 community, where people around the world can find and contribute resources, and collaborate with others.

Have you visited Curriki lately? Look how the number of resources in these subject areas have grown!  (We also have thousands of resources in the arts, edtech, health, world languages, info & media subject areas.)

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May I ask a favor of you? We have a goal to reach 500,000 members (we’re at 328,000 now) this year and we want people around the world to benefit from the thousands of learning resources available on Curriki – all free of cost, saving valuable time and money. Please forward this email to three people and encourage them to join Curriki (membership is free and it takes about one minute to join). Just look for Share This at the bottom of this blog and click on the Email button.

On behalf of the entire Curriki community, thank you and Happy New Year!

Regards,

Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

P.S. Thank you if you’ve already given to Curriki’s 2012 annual fund! There are only four days left in the calendar year! We’d appreciate if you would please take a moment to make an online donation of any amount you are able to give, so that we can deliver an even better Curriki experience.

South Sudan – The “Newest” Country

By Kim Jones, Curriki CEO

At the end of the 20 year civil war in Sudan, a new country was formed: South Sudan.


While I was at the WISE 2012 Summit  in Qatar last week, I had the opportunity to sit next to the Undersecretary for the Ministry of General Education Deng Deng Hoc Yai.  He told a fascinating story…

Deng Deng Hoc Yai grew up in south Sudan with parents who did not know how to read or write.  He ended up going to school by accident when he was around the age of seven.  He does not know his real birthday.  He was born at home to parents who could be described as illiterate; they did not understand the concepts of dates, months or times.  When Mr. Deng was old enough to understand these concepts, he only knew he was born during the worst drought sometime in the mid-1960s.

Deng Deng Hoc Yai

Mr. Deng excelled in school and ended up with a scholarship to the university in Cairo.  He eventually made his way to London and lived there until the end of the civil war in Sudan.  At that time, he returned with his family (his children were born in London) to help rebuild his country.

You might ask: how did he get a passport without a birth certificate? Well, this is more common than you might think in the developing parts of the world.  Before he traveled to Egypt, Mr. Deng went to a doctor who measured him and assigned him a birth date of January 1, 1966. He has never questioned this date, as there is no way to ever know for certain.

Today, Mr. Deng is undersecretary for the Ministry of General Education and is trying to help educate the new generation and rebuild a country.  The teachers have no textbooks and cannot afford to buy them.  But Mr. Deng is a big believer in the power of technology and although they don’t have electricity and power everywhere, they have batteries and many cell phones.  He is very excited about Curriki and the opportunity for his country to use Curriki’s free educational resources in his efforts to eradicate illiteracy and build an educated and informed nation.

WISE 2012 in Qatar Was a Great Inspiration!

By Kim Jones, Curriki CEO

I returned to the beautiful country of Qatar this year to attend the WISE 2012 Summit. This year’s theme was “collaborating for change.” I was honored to meet so many impassioned educators and prominent leaders from around the world who gathered here to discuss and inspire innovation in education.

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

Whether I met someone from Rwanda or Malaysia, I was excited to find that everyone knows, loves and uses Curriki. This was one of the most rewarding moments of my time at Curriki! It is immensely satisfying to know that we are changing people’s lives in positive and tangible ways.

New Education Initiative Announced by Sheikha Mozah  

While I was there, Sheikha Mozah spoke about “Education First,” which is designed to help drive the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) around education by the end of year 2015 so that all children receive primary education.  There are 60 million children around the world with no access to education.  Some live in conflict zones where going to school could be a matter of life or death.  Some live in areas afflicted by natural disasters like the flooding in Bangladesh.  Some are refugees.  Thousands of refugees are headed to Lebanon and Jordan to escape the civil war in Syria. In many cases, parents are leaving so their children can continue in school since it is not safe or possible in many towns in Syria.

Her Highness Sheikha Moza will partner with many global organizations around the world to help accomplish this goal.  Here at Curriki, we will continue to get the word out about our free resources that can be used in places where textbooks are not available.  Although many schools lack computers, the number of people gaining access to mobile devices is growing so although we will not be able to be accessed by everyone, if we can get to even a small number of teachers, we will be able to help some of the children!

One can survive 30 days without food, 3 days without water, 8 seconds without air, but not a second without hope.  Education equals hope.

Stay tuned, as I will tell you an amazing story about a man I met from South Sudan in my next post.