Tag Archives: education and social media

Interview with Rob Lucas, Educator and Curriki member

If you could give a TED talk, what would it be about?


The public value of learning. Social media gives students an opportunity to learn while creating knowledge of value to communities outside the school. They can conduct research of public interest, post it to blogs, wikis, and video-sharing sites, and then judge the reception of their work. By doing this, students not only develop knowledge and skills but learn why learning matters. Not everyone thinks about educational technology in these terms, so I’d like a chance to convince them. 

Why do you use Curriki?

I am inspired by the vision of educational resources that are open to all–and to building an online educational environment where teachers, students, and other citizens can learn bycontributing to the learning commons.

What advice would you give to new teachers?

Cultivate a habit of reading newspapers, magazines, professional journals, websites, and well-written public scholarship. Watch films and documentaries, too, and listen to radio and podcasts, looking for ways in which these give purpose, meaning, and value to your subject matter. Obviously, a new teacher will spend a great deal of time developing basic practices of teaching like managing a classroom–and rightly so! But the more you can remain connected to both your students and to broader public conversations, the more sustaining your work will become.  

What’s the first website you check every day?

Probably Slate.com. I love provocative well-written opinion journalism. Social studies teachers should also check out their new blog of intriguing historical documents, The Vault, written by Rebecca Onion.http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_vault.html

What would you be doing if you weren’t in your current role today?

Today, I’m a postdoctoral scholar, but I’d also love to be teaching high school AP US History. More and more, though, I find myself interested in documentary photography and film making. There’s no career change in my future, but with luck, I’ll find some way to work that in to my research and teaching.

Name your favorite guilty pleasure.

Spy novels on audiobook. Lately, I’ve been hooked on a mid-twentieth-century writer named Eric Ambler. Try Epitaph for a Spy or A Coffin for Dimitrios.

Are You a Connected Educator?

By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki

We live in a connected society. The rise of the Internet and social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are erasing geographical boundaries and allowing us to communicate with people we wouldn’t normally connect with.

Janet Pinto

But what is a connected educator? In a nutshell, it’s someone who is using Web 2.0 tools (blogs, social networks, wikis, presentation & video tools, etc.) to create, collaborate, customize and share educational content online in order to enhance professional development and create extraordinary learning experiences for students.

Take a look at this infographic A Day in the Life of a Connected Educator – Using social media in 21st century classrooms from Powerful Learning Practice.

This is what a connected learner’s day might look like: coaching, sharing, connecting, collaborating, and leveraging her web of networks to improve personal practice and make schools more effective and exciting places.

Last month, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan declared August Connected Educator Month to celebrate the progress educators are making towards a fully connected and collaborative profession.

Get involved! You can strengthen your professional network and enhance your professional learning by connecting with others and leveraging best practices from around the world.

  • Join one of the Connected Educator communities such as access4ed.net, which focuses on innovative approaches to access to technology.
  • Join a Curriki Group and connect with fellow educators to exchange ideas, best practices, and curricula. There’s a group for everyone – from STEM and Technology Integration, to South Africa Education Group and New Teachers. Here’s a sample of the more than 650 groups on Curriki.

Do you have any tips to keep in touch with colleagues? Are you a blogger who’s sharing best practices?  Are you connecting with others on Twitter?  We’d love to hear your ideas!

Community or Content? by Bobbi Kurshan

[tweetmeme]Over the past 4 years, Curriki has been creating a community that is bound together by the desire to share content and the process of building open and shared curricula.  At the time we started Curriki, we spent many hours discussing which features to include and which website functionality to develop first – should we create the repository of content or build a robust social network for our members? In reality, we had to build both, knowing that the community would be slow to expand until there was a critical mass of content.

This was a classic “chicken and egg” scenario.  If the repository did not have sufficient content with broad coverage, then the community would not come to the site or come back to the site.  And if there did not exist an active and growing community, then the number of learning resources in the repository would be insufficient to engage the members. Curriki has been able to address this problem by determining that our site needed to support our community and the content needed to be easy to use and to edit.

The Curriki community is growing rapidly due to effective use of social networking tools such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and blogging.  While we support and promote the viral growth of the repository, we have supplemented our content acquisition with partner content and small subsidies for community members to build content. Curriki today is one of the most active OER sites due to a very carefully balanced “give and take” between community and content.

I believe Curriki is becoming an effective social learning platform – one that is driven by and improved by the community; and simultaneously includes effective tools for making curriculum decisions based on reliable social networking data, expert reviews and standards.

Curriki would not be what it is today without the talent, dedication, and commitment from everyone who has worked with Curriki and has joined the Curriki community.  It is a time for Curriki to grow by working to further engage the open education community to participate, while keeping Curriki at the front of the movement.

I will be leaving my position as Executive Director of Curriki on March 1st, but I will not be leaving the community and I promise the community that:

  • I will actively engage in the social learning network that Curriki is so successfully building.
  • I will continue to work with the OER movement to insure it sustainability and to make sure we can harness the power of this amazing disruptive change.
  • I will work on improving teacher effectiveness and student performance by working to engage teachers in open and shared curriculum development.
  • I will work to make sure that Curriki continues to eliminate the education divide.

I’d like to thank the many people that have grown Curriki to what it is today, and positioned it for its next chapter. Without the commitment of the dedicated Curriki staff, our content and technology partners, our funders and our active and growing Curriki membership around the world, truly none of this would be possible.

Bobbi Kurshan