Tag Archives: teacher resources

Women’s History Month Resources

janetpic_preferred_croppedBy Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki

Women’s History Month is celebrated in March in the U.S., the U.K. and Australia. This year, the theme is “Celebrating Women of Character, Courage, and Commitment”. You can find more about the celebration of, and history behind, National Women’s History Month in the U.S. here.

There are plenty of related resources on Curriki, appropriate across all grade levels. Some of the exemplary resources are available here, and here, and here. The last of these includes a number of free Kindle e-books on women’s rights and other topics.

Can you name these accomplished women from history, who exhibited character, courage and commitment?

220px-Amelia_earhart

220px-Ride-s

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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.

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

Nobel Prizes Awarded for 2013

KimJonesimageBy Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

Somewhere around the world, in one of your classrooms, there is a future Nobel Prize winner in the making! Help inspire them and all your other students toward future successes, great and small. Curriki has thousands of resources related to the disciplines in which the Nobel Prizes are awarded.

These most prestigious of prizes are awarded each year in accordance with the will of Alfred Nobel, who was born in Sweden 180 years ago. An inventor, chemist, and engineer, he is best known as the inventor of dynamite; when he died in 1896 he had 355 patents in his name. The Nobel committee which decides on the awards in the various categories is based in Sweden. An exception is that the Peace Prize is selected by a committee based in Norway. Prizes are awarded at the discretion of the committees in the categories of Chemistry, Physics, Medicine, Literature, Peace, and Economics.

Alfred Nobel

Alfred Nobel

For this year, awards have been made as follows:

Chemistry – Drs. Martin Karplus, Michael Levitt, and Arieh Warshel were awarded the Chemistry Prize for advances in molecular modeling using high performance computers. You can find around 745 chemistry resources on Curriki at http://www.curriki.org/welcome/resources-curricula/ (by searching on Science / Chemistry).

Peter Higgs (image credit: Gert-Martin Greuel)

Peter Higgs (image credit: Gert-Martin Greuel)

Physics – Drs. Peter Higgs and Francois Englert were awarded the Physics Prize for their Higgs boson prediction. The new particle, named for Higgs, was discovered in 2012 after decades of searching and is the mechanism providing mass to other fundamental particles (such as quarks, electrons). You can find 1287 physics resources on Curriki.

Medicine – Drs. James Rothman, Randy Sheckman and Thomas Sudhof were awarded the prize in Medicine for increasing our understanding of transport mechanisms inside cells. There are around 1288 health resources on Curriki.

Too Much Happiness, short stories by Alice Munro

Too Much Happiness, short stories by Alice Munro

Literature – The Literature Prize was awarded to Alice Munro, a Canadian, for her contemporary short stories. You can find around 1520 literature resources on Curriki.

Peace – The Peace Prize for 2013 has been awarded to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons “for its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons”. The OPCW is supported by the United Nations, and according to the NY Times “The organization’s mission is to act as a watchdog in carrying out the Chemical Weapons Convention, which came into force in 1997 with four aims: to destroy all chemical weapons under international verification, to prevent the creation of new chemical weapons, to help countries protect themselves against chemical attack, and to foster international cooperation in the peaceful use of chemistry. Since its creation, the organization has sent experts to carry out 5,000 inspections in 86 countries..” There are a number of resources on issues around peace on Curriki, but we’d like to see more, please contribute in this category if you are able.

Economics – The Economics Prize is not yet announced as this blog goes to press. There are over 1000 economics-related resources on Curriki.

These several thousands of open educational resources freely available on Curriki may help you inspire a future Nobel Prize winner, or if not, at least can help to inspire and educate a future great scientist, author, or contributor to world peace. And if you can add to the collections in any of these categories, please do!