Tag Archives: OER

Girls and Women in STEM in Asia: UNESCO Report

janetpic_preferred_croppedBy Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki 

Curriki was very pleased to be in attendance on March 9th when UNESCO’s Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education unveiled their report on girls and women in STEM fields, at the Bangkok Science Center for Education in Thailand.

Titled “A Complex Formula: Girls and Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in Asia”, the report examines the status of girls studying math, science and engineering subjects in primary, secondary, and post-secondary education, and the current state of employment for women in STEM fields. The report was based on in-depth country studies from Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, the Republic of Korea and Viet Nam, in conjunction with other statistics from the region. The full 122-page report is freely available here on the UNESCO Bangkok web site.

Key Findings 

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The highest level message of the report is that “early and targeted intervention through education can greatly facilitate girls’ and women’s increased participation in STEM fields”.

While there are a number of interesting variations among the 7 countries studied, substantial consistency was found across a number of key findings.

  • Overall there is a shortage of talent on STEM fields in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Globally, fewer than 30% of STEM researchers are women.
  • Gender differences in STEM topics become especially apparent around age 15, during secondary school education.
  • The gender gap at the secondary level correlates with under-representation of women in STEM during higher education and in the workforce.
  • Within the STEM fields, both in higher education and in the workforce, women tend to be found primarily in biology, chemistry and medicine.
  • Women are very lightly represented in physics, engineering and computer science/IT.
  • These latter fields are more math-intensive, and in school girls report more anxiety around, and lower interest levels in, mathematics.
  • There are fewer female teachers in STEM, implying fewer role models for girls.
  • Gender stereotypes are widespread in teaching and learning materials for STEM subjects.

Recommendations

A few of the recommendations from the report are:

“Teacher education and policies on recruitment must ensure a fair representation of both male and female teachers in all subjects, including mathematics and science, at all levels if education.

  • Teacher education… should be transformed to ensure that teachers are trained in gender-responsive teaching strategies.
  • Promoting more female role models in STEM, whether female teachers…female students and faculty members in higher education, and more broadly more women working in STEM fields, is an important strategy.

Curricula and learning materials should undergo further rigorous review from a gender perspective to ensure that they do not perpetuate gender stereotypes.”

Curriki is particularly interested in the last of these recommendations. We have tens of thousands of STEM materials at www.curriki.org, available for free, to support STEM education for girls and boys in Asia and around the world. We encourage you to upload STEM materials onto the Curriki web site, especially those that show equal participation of girls and boys in STEM learning roles, across the various disciplines, and that reflect both men and women as role models, equally. If you have such materials to upload, Curriki and our large, global educator and learner community will be most appreciative.

Open Source Textbook Study: Students Save Substantial Sums

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By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki

A study from Student PIRGS (Student Public Interest Research Groups) across the nation has found that college and university students could save over $1000 per year if all textbooks were provided open source materials.

The report is based on pilot programs at 5 different university campuses, and is available here. It notes that “According to the College Board, the average undergraduate student should budget between $1,200 and $1,300 for textbooks and supplies each year. That’s as much as 40% of tuition at a two-year community college and 13% at a four-year public institution.” The report notes that the college textbook market is artificial, since there is no direct consumer – producer link, as indicated in the figure below. A handful of academic publishers dominate the traditional textbook market.

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Image from “Open Textbooks: The Billion Dollar Solution”, Ethan Senack, The Student PIRGS, February 2015

Open textbooks are high quality, faculty-written and peer-reviewed materials. They are available online and for electronic distribution in .pdf or other formats. The cost to students for open source materials is minimal.

The findings are based on 21,697 students enrolled in OER courses at Kansas State University, the University of Maryland, the University of Massachusetts (Amherst), the University of Minnesota, and Tacoma Community College. The aggregate results indicate that students could save on average about $128 per course. Extrapolated to an academic year this is over $1000 per student per year. If all the 11 million full-time undergraduates in the U.S. were using only open textbooks, the aggregate savings would be well over $1 billion per year.

As the growth of open textbooks spreads at the university level, we at Curriki expect increasing activity in the K-12 space as well. State and local authorities could save substantial amounts from their education budgets by moving to open textbooks. Curriki is a repository for a wide variety of open source educational materials, including full courses and textbooks. We’d like to call your attention to several high school level mathematics courses:

Curriki Algebra 1 – http://www.curriki.org/xwiki/bin/view/Coll_kathyduhl/Algebra1?bc=&viewer=info

Curriki Geometry – http://www.currikigeometry.org

Curriki Calculus – http://www.curriki.org/xwiki/bin/view/Coll_Group_CurrikiCalculusCollection/CurrikiCalculusIntegralCalculus?bc=&viewer=info

There are also many full textbook resources on Curriki. A search for high school math level textbooks alone reveals over 200 resources. We encourage you to search at Curriki for core or supplementary textbook resources that you can use in your classroom!

Curriki Resources on Follett’s One Search

KimJonesimageBy Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

Ensure your students have access to essential online resources and support your goal of improving information literacy with Curriki partner, Follett. Check out Destiny Library Manager, which includes One Search. Curriki resources are free to all Destiny users.

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Did you know? Follett’s One Search, a complimentary service for users of Follett’s Destiny Library Manager, organizes more than 750 free and subscription-based learning databases for schools, allowing students to quickly access the full range of library resources in a single, timesaving search. Curriki is in there – and it’s free!

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According to the Follett website:

“One Search displays research results as a skilled researcher would, while reinforcing information literacy skills. Students, teachers and curriculum directors spend less time searching, giving them more time to spend thinking critically and more quality time in the library. 

With One Search, you’ll:

  • Have continuous access to websites, search engines and subscription databases.
  • Quickly locate and view resources in just one search.
  • Give students the confidence to conduct self-directed searches and develop greater information literacy skills.
  • Maximize online database investment by supporting increased usage.

One Search supports many of the most common K-12 online subscription databases, such as EBSCO, World Book, Encyclopedia Britannica, Gale, Proquest and others.”

And of course it includes all of the over 58,000 Curriki resources, which are freely available!

Use of Open Educational Resources Growing Rapidly

CCSSO State of the States Report

KimJonesimageBy Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

The use of OER (Open Educational Resources) is rapidly gaining momentum in K-12 education. This is evidenced by the newly released report “State of the States: Open Educational Resources in K-12 Education” from the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) in the U.S. Actually a majority of the states are already using or promoting OER for the classroom.

Quoting from the report:

“The survey revealed a number of insights into the work SEAs [state education agencies] are taking on around OER and the momentum around digital learning. These findings include:

  • Twenty states are currently planning OER initiatives.
  • Sixty percent of SEA respondents recognize the value of OER in school districts in their state and are promoting OER as either a supplement and/or replacement for traditional instructional materials.
  • States with existing OER programs are utilizing a variety of online methods to develop, curate, and access OER materials and integrate them within school programs.
  • Eighty-four percent of respondents would like to collaborate and learn from what other states are doing.”

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CCSSO Survey Findings: By the Numbers

Curriki is proud to be a leader in providing K-12 open educational resources. Visit Curriki today, you’ll be surprised by the breadth and depth of our 58,000+ resources. All are freely available at www.curriki.org/welcome.

The full CCSSO report is available at: 

http://ccsso.org/Resources/Digital_Resources/State_of_the_States_Open_Educational_Resources_in_K-12_Education.html

Education Activist Malala Wins Nobel Peace Prize

KimJonesimageBy Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

We at Curriki are so pleased that education rights activist and student Malala Yousafzai has been selected for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. At 17 years of age, she is the youngest person ever to have won a Nobel Prize.

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Malala has worked fearlessly and tirelessly to promote the rights of girls to receive an education. A Pakistani national, she was attacked and shot two years ago in a cowardly act by Taliban militants in her country, simply because she had been outspoken on the subject of girls’ rights to education. But she would not be cowed. A very eloquent speaker, Malala has had more opportunities than ever to speak out on behalf of the importance of educating girls and supporting their rights.

Here is a video of Malala speaking to the TED community: http://youtu.be/aKSrDScQvkg

Malala is busy with her school studies as well as her promotion of education rights, and she loves physics. Upon hearing the news, Malala said “I’m proud that I’m the first Pakistani and the first young woman, or the first young person, who is getting this award. This is not the end, this is not the end of my campaign, this is the beginning.” Her interview with the BBC is here.

Malala shares the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize with 60-year old Kailash Satyarthi of India. He is the leader of the Save the Childhood Movement, which has worked for decades against child forced labor and servitude. The Save the Childhood Movement web site is at http://www.bba.org.in.

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“This prize is a recognition and honor to hundreds and millions of children who are still languishing in slavery, who are still deprived of their childhood, their education, their health care, their fundamental rights” said Mr. Satyarthi.

For children who are subject to forced labor, there is not even the hope of an education and their prospects for a decent future are seriously impaired.

As the Nobel committee puts it in their announcement, they are awarding this 2014 Peace Prize to Ms. Yousafzai and Mr. Satyarthi “… for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.” You can read the full announcement here: http://nobelpeaceprize.org/en_GB/laureates/laureates-2014/announce-2014/

Curriki strongly supports the educational rights and aspirations of all girls— indeed all children—around the globe. We provide over 57,000 open source and free educational materials which are available to teachers and students around the world. Please spread the word and help us to increase the access to these and to future new resources provided on Curriki.

Student Online Information Privacy

janetpic_preferredBy Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki

Student privacy is a growing issue, as more and more data is being gathered on K-12 students. The intent of thIs data acquisition is generally worthwhile. The primary purpose is to obtain more knowledge about student achievement and learning styles, and to support individualized instruction. The goal is to allow students to learn at their own pace.

There are, however, potential risks, since such data is being held in databases distributed on computers owned by school districts, or by state governments, or increasingly, by private companies and organizations. In some cases this data is being loaded into cloud computing resources owned by third parties.

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The California state legislature has proposed the most comprehensive law ever to safeguard student information. The proposed law, titled the “Student Online Personal Information Protection Act”, awaits Governor Jerry Brown’s signature. The bill “requires operators of K-12 online sites, services, and applications to keep student personal information private. Under the bill, online operators can only use student personal information for school purposes; including adaptive and personalized student learning. The bill prohibits operators of K-12 online sites, services, and applications from selling student personal information to third parties, like advertisers.”  (This quotation is from SOPIPA Fact Sheet available at:

http://sd06.senate.ca.gov/sites/sd06.senate.ca.gov/files/SB1177_SOPIPA_FACT-SHEET.pdf)

“It’s a landmark bill in that it’s the first of its kind in the country to put the onus on Internet companies to do the right thing,” said Senator Darrell Steinberg, the California state senator who wrote the bill.

“Legislators in the state passed a law last month prohibiting educational sites, apps and cloud services used by schools from selling or disclosing personal information about students from kindergarten through high school; from using the children’s data to market to them; and from compiling dossiers on them. The law is a response to growing parental concern that sensitive information about children — like data about learning disabilities, disciplinary problems or family trauma — might be disseminated and disclosed, potentially hampering college or career prospects. Although other states have enacted limited restrictions on such data, California’s law is the most wide-ranging.” – NY Times blog of September 15th

A majority of states in the U.S. have implemented, or are considering, various forms of student privacy legislation to prevent disclosure and commercial use of student data outside of the school context. The federal legislation currently on the books is now four decades old, and not suited to the modern era of mobile devices, social media, cloud computing, and Big Data (massive databases).

Here is Curriki’s privacy policy with respect to young children:

OUR COMMITMENT TO CHILDREN’S PRIVACY

Protecting the privacy of young children is especially important. For that reason, Curriki does not knowingly collect or maintain personally identifiable information on the Curriki Site from persons under 13 years-of-age. If Curriki learns that personally-identifiable information of persons less than 13-years-of-age has been collected on Curriki without verifiable parental consent, then Curriki will take the appropriate steps to delete this information. If you are a parent or guardian and discover that your child under the age of 13 has obtained a Curriki Site account, then you may alert Curriki at Webmaster@curriki.org and request that Curriki delete that child’s personal information from its systems.

And for the benefit of all of our users, Curriki is not in the business of selling your personal information. You can see our entire privacy policy here: http://www.curriki.org/xwiki/bin/view/Main/PrivacyPolicy

We’d love to hear your comments. Where do you stand on this student privacy issue? How can we implement Big Data technology in schools so as to gain the benefits of better student learning outcomes, but without compromising personal data?

OECD Report: Education at a Glance 2014

KimJonesimage  By Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

 

The OECD report “Education at a Glance 2014″ was released on 9 September 2014.

EducationataGlance2014The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has 34 member countries, and they included data from 10 additional countries in this report. The report looks at educational attainment and impact on economic and employment results in 44 countries across Europe, North and South America, Africa and the Asia / Pacific region.

Key findings include:

  • The economic divide between tertiary-educated (college or university-educated) individuals and those with less education is growing.
  • The level of unemployment is 3 times lower among those with a tertiary education (5% vs. 14%)
  • Those with tertiary-level educations earn twice as much as the average of those with less education.

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“Education can lift people out of poverty and social exclusion, but to do so we need to break the link between social background and educational opportunity,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría. “The biggest threat to inclusive growth is the risk that social mobility could grind to a halt. Increasing access to education for everyone and continuing to improve people’s skills will be essential to long-term prosperity and a more cohesive society.

A press release from the OECD with a high-level overview of the key findings is at: http://www.oecd.org/newsroom/educational-mobility-starts-to-slow-in-industrialised-world-says-oecd.htm

A 55 slide summary of many of the key results is available at: http://www.slideshare.net/mobile/OECDEDU/education-at-a-glance-2014-key-findings

You can access the full 568 page report at: http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/education/education-at-a-glance-2014_eag-2014-en

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Curriki shares the objectives of increased access to education and improving work-related skills for people across the world. Curriki helps to spread educational opportunity to children in all countries by providing over 50,000 free and open K-12 educational resources at www.curriki.org/welcome.