Tag Archives: Online communities

Social Media in the Classroom

By Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

An interesting report entitled Spotlight on Social Media in the Classroom is available from Education Week. The 12-page report includes 7 articles on social media usage and a useful list of over a dozen resources.

One of the articles discusses how U.S. schools are setting up connections with classrooms around the world. For example, the Plantation High School in Florida was on a video conference with Egyptian students just as the former President Mubarak was resigning from his position. They were given a window into history in the making, able to see and hear the reactions of the Egyptian students. An elementary school in Bakersfield, California has linked with classrooms in Iceland, Norway and Singapore. They were able to hear about an active volcano eruption in Iceland firsthand from children at their same grade level in the Icelandic school.

This form of digital learning and interaction is providing students, most of whom as yet have not had the opportunity to travel to another country, with real-life experiences and views of life in other parts of the world.

Another of the articles in the report is about sharing science through online communities. One of these is ecogeek.org, an environmental blogging site that provides news on green energy and the environment. Another such resource is CAISE, the Center for the Advancement of Informal Science Education, which is supported by the National Science Foundation. Their site includes information on science centers and museums, afterschool programs, and gaming projects, as well as news on informal STEM education programs. ScienceGeek.net is a collection of resources, including videos, and interactive graphics, primarily in the chemistry and biology disciplines.

Curriki is of course another important social media site for K-12 education. Curriki fosters communities of education professionals around the globe and provides almost 45,000 curated resources of all kinds ranging from textbooks to videos to learning games. These are accessible by anyone, in an open source format.

The report from Education Week is available for downloading here after a short registration; we suggest you take a look!



Online Education Communities Can Change Education

Educators today are engaged in many communities — Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter — as well as communities unique to education. Over the past year, I have come to realize the power of the community to change teaching and learning. As the Executive Director of Curriki, I learned early on that “if you build it, they won’t come.” To drive our community, we have used the power of the web to drive users and contributors to Curriki. This community has actively been contributing and improving the content on Curriki while making it available free and open to the global education community. This model works to promote our mission to eliminate the Education Divide.

Open and shared content and curricula is a powerful tool to improve teacher effectiveness and reduce costs. We are now seeing this innovative idea impact textbook adoption in CA, as well as pre-service teacher training. But the innovation is being slowed by the resistance to change in schools, districts and states. We hope the community will eliminate the resistance by employing the power of their online voice to make change.

This can be accomplished through sharing content; working in collaborative groups to build curricula collaboratively; and by evaluating, rating, and commenting on existing educational resources on Curriki and on other open education sites. You can begin to “Change Education” by commenting on this blog. Let me know what methods you suggest to engage the education community to make change?

And check out the CA digital textbook initiative where we are working to engage teachers to improve open textbooks.

Also, look at Paul Buchheit’s contest and see how Curriki’s community is making a difference.

Finally, make a difference and register your vote for Curriki in Paul’s contest here.

It is time to empower teachers – and to let them be part of a community that can change education!


Bobbi Kurshan

Executive Director