Tag Archives: open courseware

MOOCs going Massive

By Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

A recent article in the NY Times suggested this is the “Year of the MOOC”. The article refers to the rapid growth of MOOCs as “a revolution that has higher education gasping”.

What is a MOOC? MOOC is an abbreviation for massive open online course, in other words a way of delivering a given course to many thousands of people via the Internet. According to Wikipedia:

“A massive open online course (MOOC) is a type of online course aimed at large-scale participation and open access via the web. MOOCs are a recent development in the area of distance education, and a progression of the kind of open education ideals suggested by open educational resources.”

So the principles are open access, promoting a course to many learners, and participation – active learning. The NY Times article noted that “three things matter most in online learning: quality of material covered, engagement of the teacher and interaction among students”

This Youtube video introduces the philosophy of MOOCs http://youtu.be/eW3gMGqcZQc ; it is less than 5 minutes in length and is worth a look.

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Right now MOOCs are primarily a higher education phenomenon. The best-known MOOCs are Coursera and edX. Coursera begun at Stanford, and now 34 universities are contributing content at coursera.org. Presently there are 203 courses being offered at Coursera.

edX is led by MIT and Harvard, and now includes UC Berkeley and the University of Texas system (9 universities) as contributors at edx.org. Anant Agarwal, MIT Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and President of edX has stated “This is the single biggest change in education since the printing press.”

Actually, at Curriki we think open courseware is the biggest change in education since the printing press. Open courseware, such as that available on Curriki, is the progenitor of MOOCs. We have not yet seen MOOCs take off in the K12 space, but it seems only a matter of time. One could imagine this happening initially on a district-wide basis, with a standard course based on open courseware (such as Curriki’s Algebra 1 course) being accessed by students across a district. The teachers in each classroom would have roles as facilitators and coaches, thereby promoting higher levels of individualized attention.

Real-World Skills: Financial Literacy

By Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

The past few years have been very challenging for the US economy and for the employment prospects of new entrants to the labor force. The number of low-income Americans has risen substantially during the last 10 years. One of the major needs that is not well met in the K-12 education system is the development of financial literacy in children. Yet this is one of the most important skills required for life.

Financial literacy is a must to manage debt in earlier stages of life and build resources for eventual retirement. Lifetime employment leading to a pension is uncommon these days. The average American has insufficient financial knowledge, and the financial literacy that is developed comes mostly from real-world experience, the school of hard knocks.

This article from the Huffington Post authored by Randi Weingarten,

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/randi-weingarten/financial-literacy_b_1514627.html

notes that the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability has developed 3 key themes around financial education and literacy:

  • Financial education should take its rightful place in American schools
  • We should build a financially capable workforce and retiree community, which is necessary for a stable and globally competitive economy.
  • Americans also should learn the core concepts of personal finance at the heart of their lives — in their families and in their communities.

Curriki has over 75 resources at our site devoted to financial literacy for kids. Let me point out two of the highly rated ones in particular:

1.  A course from the Khan Academy that includes topics like compound interest, bonds, securities, and even the banking bailouts. It is targeted for grades 6 to 12.

2. Within the Free High School Science Texts Mathematics textbook series there are chapters on Finance covering topics such as foreign exchange, and simple and compound interest, depreciation and present value. These are targeted for grades 10 to 12 and are an integral part of the Mathematics syllabus in this text.

You can find these two resources and many more by going to www.curriki.org and searching on “Finance”. These are great resources to use in math or social studies classes.