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Curriki gets noticed (and other 2.0 curriculm efforts)

When I began my K12 experience, after several years in other types of libraries, I was surprised to find that some teachers locked their file cabinets. 

Some of the teachers and teacher-librarians I met were seriously protective of their curriculum and learning activities.  They owned their schtick and they weren’t about to share it.

Times are changing, of course.  The open source movement and the interactive features, natural connectivity, and storage abilities of what we call Web 2.0 are speeding the shift.

On September 9th, Curriki, an online community for creating and sharing open source K-12 curricula, was named one of 25 2008 Tech Awards Laureates, and more specifically, one of five Microsoft Education Award Laureates.  (Sponsored by the Tech Museum of Innovation, the annual Tech Awards, honor technical solutions that benefit humanity and address critical issues.)

Here’s the full list of education winners:

All these award winners are worthy of exploration, of course, but back to the file cabinet issue.

Curriki is an open file cabinet, a really big one, open to the world. 

Founded in 2004, it offers teachers, students and parents access to free, open-source, peer-reviewed K-12 curricula, activities, and online collaboration tools. Materials are rated by editors and the global community on a 1 to 3 scale.  Few teachers take another colleague’s ideas and use them as is in a formulaic approach.  Because this shared content is open source, teachers are encouraged to build and customize shared resource.

The site’s official description:

Curriki, a play on the words ‘curriculum’ and ‘wiki’, is a nonprofit organization that is building the first and only Internet site for Open Source Curriculum (OSC), which will provide universal access to free curricula and instructional materials for grades K-12.

We are focusing initially on developing an online repository for K-12 curricula in the areas of mathematics, science, technology, reading and language arts, and languages. We want this repository to attract everyone from educators, students and parents, to programmers, instructional designers, authors and public officials throughout the world to contribute or freely access quality learning materials.

A look at the subject browse reveals how rich these materials are.  Registered users may save learning resources for later use in an area called My Curriki.

The Connect area, allows registered users to offer feedback, connect with other community members and collaborate, or start new interest groups, in the spirit of 2.0. 

You will likely notice that our people (teacher librarians) are not all that well represented in this wiki portal, although there are lots of information and media literacy materials.  If you have great stuff in you own file cabinets, this may be the way and the time to publish and share it, and, if you like, solicit feedback.

BTW, Curriki is one of several open source curriculum efforts you might share with your faculty.  Others include:

In the wake of the Cape Town Open Education Declaration, I am sure many other open education projects are emerging. If you are aware of any other open curriculum file cabinets, please share in your comments!

Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza

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