Tag Archives: K-12

Education Across the Globe

Kim JonesBy Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

The infographic in this post has some very interesting information on education and literacy around the globe. It was produced by Tutoring Expert in Canada.

A few facts: there are 1.4 billion students on earth, fully 20% of the world’s population. There are 65 million educators around the world. This is approximately equal to the population of France. Developed countries typically spend about 10 to 15% of their total government budgets on education.

Around 800 million adults across the globe are illiterate. Three nations each have over 1 million girls not in school: Nigeria, Pakistan, and Ethiopia. Only 12% of women in Afghanistan are able to read. Around 31 million girls of primary school age around the world are not in school.

In India, 88% of boys are able to read, but only 74% of girls. Clearly one of the challenges is increasing literacy for all, and especially, educational access for girls. On the other hand, in the Philippines, there are many more girls in school than boys.

Global edu infographic

In the U.S., only 32% of students are considered proficient in math. Children in Finland have the world’s highest scores in math and science, despite not starting school until age 6 or 7.

Despite the problems that remain, 1 in 3 young people are now expected to receive a college or university degree. Education is key to job opportunities, and to one’s standard of living, health, and social position. Most societies and parents around the world care deeply about their children’s future, for both boys and girls, and thus for their educational development. They invest considerable resources in their children’s education. But there are also serious shortcomings that must be addressed.

Curriki, as a not-for-profit foundation, is fully dedicated to improving education access and educational outcomes around the world. Over 50,000 Curriki educational resources are freely available to anyone with Internet access. These resources are also open source, in order to allow customization as needed. To date, 10 million unique users have visited the Curriki web site.

Take a careful look at the infographic, and see what other interesting factoids you are able to discover. The variation of school attendance hours between countries is fascinating!

The Changing Role of Teaching

janetpic_preferred_croppedBy Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki

Vision K-20 is an initiative of the Software and Information Industry Association in the U.S. It works to promote best use of technology in support of education.

“Vision K-20 is the belief that to better prepare our nation’s students, every K-20 educational institution should effectively utilize modern technologies to:

  • Personalize learning to increase student engagement and achievement
  • Document and track student performance
  • Maximize teaching and administrative effectiveness
  • Provide equity and access to new learning opportunities
  • Empower collaborative learning communities
  • Build student proficiencies in 21st century skills”

Each year they survey educators regarding technology in the classroom. The 2013 survey include responses from K-12 educators (75% of the responses) and from higher education professionals (25%). The survey results indicated the level of technology integration in K-12 is currently at a rather low level and that, based on the responses, it should be much higher. The educators answering the survey view technology integration as being of high importance. The survey also indicated that 46% of school districts allow mobile devices in the classroom, generally with restrictions placed on usage.

You can find related resources on their site here, http://www.siia.net/visionk20/resources.asp, including resources for Digital Learning Day.


A recent blog by Amanda Fairbanks at edweek.org  is titled “Digital Trends Shifting the Role of Teachers”. It reports on experiences with technology integration from several teachers in the U.S.

One of these, Chris Merkert, was science teacher of the year for 2012 in Suffolk County, New York, and is a leader in “flipped teaching”.

“Mr. Merkert has altered his teaching style—spending less time holding court at the front of the room and more time crisscrossing the classroom to answer questions and provide individual, targeted feedback. And rather than rely on outdated textbooks to drive the bulk of his instruction, he now writes his own curriculum.” He says, “I’m more enthused and involved than I’ve ever been.”

Tip: If you’re going to write your own curriculum, be sure to check out the over 50,000 free and open resources at welcome.curriki.org.

Ms. Rose Ann Throckmorton is a 4th grade teacher in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She reports that since the implementation of a digital learning approach in her classroom, student engagement has increased and the amount of material that can be covered has increased as well. “Twenty-first century classrooms are coming whether we want them to or not,” says Ms. Throckmorton.

The technology is not an end in itself, rather it supports a shift in pedagogy from teacher-centered to more personalized student-centered learning. Resources on Curriki are especially intended to support this student-centered learning modality.

A third teacher, Tom Whitby, is a retired English teacher with more than 30 years of classroom experience.

“If I limited my students to the content in my own head, I would be doing them a huge disservice,” he said. “Students are no longer empty vessels, where it’s our job to fill them with the knowledge that we have. We don’t have all the facts. Our role is changing every day.”

Take a look at the Curriki site to see what you can incorporate into your classroom activities in support of digital and student-centered learning.

Best Websites from FETC 2013

janetpic_preferredBy Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki

The Florida Educational Technology Conference for 2013 was held this past week in Orlando, Florida. FETC is a leading K-12 education technology conference with an international reputation.

Here are some of the best websites we learned about at FETC. You can find all of these listed together at:
or at the individual URLs indicated below.

Gapminder is a non-profit venture – a modern “museum” on the Internet – promoting sustainable global development and achievement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.

Rubistar is a free tool for creating rubrics.

Shelly Terrell’s Bringing Your Textbook to Life!
Written by Shelly Terrell, this article called “Bringing Your Textbook to Life! 15+ Tips & Resources” is a great resource for educators.

This website offers free videos, lesson and games aimed at K-12 students. It covers all subject areas.



The Periodic Table of Videos
This website is the brainchild of journalist Brady Haran. He partnered with scientists at The University of Nottingham, to make comprehensive videos about each element in the periodic table.

Make Beliefs Comix
Created by Bill Zimmerman, this incredible website encourages literacy, creativity, and imagination by allowing anyone to create their own comic strip. The site features many other resources including lesson plans and free printables. There is even an option to create comic strips in other languages.

This website allows users to turn their stories into 3D animated videos.

Kizoa: Slideshow and Collage Maker
This website allows you to create slideshows with special effects, text, and even music. You can also edit photos, create collages and e-cards, and share them via your favorite social networking sites.

Visuwords: online graphical dictionary
According to their site, you can use this site to look up the meaning of words and how those words associate with other words and concepts.

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.


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.

Curriki and Bucket Lists

By Kim Jones, Curriki CEO

A bucket list, from the movie The Bucket List, starring Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson, is a list of things to do before you die. A bucket list for students should have a shorter(!) time line – until before they enter college, or before they enter the workforce.

What should be on such a list? And what would be the purpose of the list? It would prepare them for college if they are attending one and for adulthood, employment and citizenship.


Here’s one such list, for K-12 students, from a recent blog at the ASCD (The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development) website:

  • Communication Skills
  • Collaboration Skills
  • Time Management
  • Interview Skills
  • Personal Financial Literacy
  • Digital Literacy
  • Ability to analyze multiple perspectives
  • Ability to share his or her own perspective (i.e., blogs, social media, and creating original work to post online)
  • Civic Literacy
  • The Tools Needed to Succeed in First Year College Courses, without Remediation
  • Resilience
  • Punctuality
  • Meta-cognition
  • Ability to Apply Skills and Adapt Abilities in Different Environments
  • Critical Thinking Skills
  • Citizenship (The type of skills that apply in most international settings)
  • Reading and Writing Skills (not just a passing grade in English, but true skills)
  • Global Awareness
  • College Knowledge (What Does It Take to Get Into College? – See David Conley’s books and articles)
  • Students Who Understand the Importance of Community Service

These skills are largely outside of the purview of standard curricula and textbooks. Rather they are the set of skills associated with learning to think, with maturity, with being responsible and “well-rounded”.

Curriki is a great place to find resources on these topics; just searching on Curriki for the first half dozen items in the list, we find thousands of hits.

  • Communication skills (1899 hits)
  • Collaboration skills (1829 hits)
  • Time management (2500 hits)
  • Interview skills (1864 hits)
  • Financial literacy (1829 hits)
  • Digital literacy (2318 hits)

We recommend that you look to Curriki to help students with developing these “bucket list” skills that are so important to life. And we welcome additional contributions in these categories to the Curriki repository.

What do you think should be on such a bucket list? We’d like to receive your comments.

Tell Us Your Curriki Story for a Chance to Win!

By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki

We just launched our Tell Us Your Curriki Story challenge and I’m excited to hear from you! This is a fun opportunity for you to tell us how Curriki has made a difference in your life, the life of a student or within a classroom. And it’s your chance to earn fame and fortune since we are awarding six prizes in total: a $100 and a $200 prize to two teachers; a $100 and a $200 prize to two students; and a $100 and a $200 prize to two schools (in addition to cool Curriki t-shirts you can proudly wear!).

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • How has Curriki helped you or changed the way you work?
  • What’s your favorite Curriki resource and in what way does it benefit you?
  • Have you saved valuable time (weekend or after-school) or money by leveraging Curriki resources?
  • How do your students benefit?
  • Have your students enjoyed a particular game, video or lesson plan?
  • How have you shared and/or customized Curriki content to better meet your needs?

The deadline is May 4, 2012, so check out the details here to begin.

I look forward to seeing your entries!

Got a Question for Curriki CEO Kim Jones?

Kim Jones, Curriki Chairman and CEO

I’d love to hear your questions, so please send me an email at KimCEO@curriki.org  and I’ll answer you in an upcoming  blog.

Why the big deal about Open Educational Resources and Curriki?

Great question!  Let me share my Top 3 list:

  1. Open Educational Resources (OERs) are created by our peers – educators, curriculum partners, and school districts – so they understand what works in the classroom.
  2. OERs are free. I’ll repeat that, they’re free!
  3. OERs are “mashable.” So if you’re a teacher, you can select specific OER resources and combine them with other resources you’re already using to generate your own custom teaching tools.

Curriki encourages you to add, subtract, and edit any resource that will make the materials better for your purposes.

Do I have to pay to download resources on Curriki?


Does it cost anything to join Curriki?

No, membership is completely free! Curriki is designed to make your job easier, so join now.

I have specific needs – does Curriki have resources I can use in my classroom?

Yes! We’ve made it easy for you to search by grade and subject area. Use Advanced Search to browse by type of media to suit different learning styles, for example, or to find the highest rated resources.

I don’t have time to search Curriki every day, so how can I easily learn about new resources?

Sign up for Curriki’s monthly newsletter and subject-area emails (opt in when you join). For example, in last month’s emails, we highlighted the Top 5 Most Popular Resources in different subject areas. You can also subscribe to Curriki’s blog via RSS, follow us on Twitter (@Curriki) and join us on Facebook.

Do you have an opinion to add regarding OERs?  I encourage you to share your thoughts with our community.