Launched in Pittsburgh, Open Curriculum’s goal is providing teachers with materials which are curated and organized from teacher blogs and lesson material publishers. Not only materials, but tools for creating lesson plans and more are available on the site, according to Julian Chokkattu, writing for website TechCrunch.
Now, Open Curriculum has released a 5,000-document library on its website for math teachers to enhance their lesson materials. The site is available to anyone, but registering allows the user access to special tools, such as the lesson planner.
Currently, there are approximately 6,000 teachers and users every month, who, it has been discovered by the site, are saving putting together first-time lesson plans 50% faster, and 20% of revised lesson planning time. The library is live on the website and has been tailored for planning lessons for Common Core mathematics. Varun Arora, the site’s founder and CEO, says the idea was to focus on one subject to begin. Other subjects, he says, will be added as evaluations take place.
“We want to really nail this, because our competitors tried to do the same thing but they tried to go really broad and they do a “#!*%” job in every department, so we said let’s just nail mathematics. We’re really connected to the math community across the US,” he said.
According to Arora, the majority of Open Curriculum users are from the US, but other English-speaking educators from countries like the UK and Australia are using the site, too.
Open Curriculum raised investments from Y Combinator, Points of Light Civic Accelerator, ITU, Carnegie Mellon University’s Institutes of Social Innovation, and Thrill Mill. Arora was a graduate of Y Combinator from its first non-profit class.
On its site, Open Curriculum states its purpose as:
Our mission is to bring openness and innovation to K-12 education around the world.
We believe that every child in the world deserves access to a high-quality early education. Such an education empowers individuals to grow and get access to opportunities better than ever before, and thus drives economic development.
Open-source curriculum (OSC) is “an online instructional resource that can be freely used, distributed, and modified,” according to Wikipedia. The idea for such a resource is based on the idea of creating software or products that lead to source materials or codes.
Where education is concerned, OSCs allow parents, teachers, developers, government officials, and students to interact, exchange ideas, and make improvements in the world of learning.
An Education News article by Kirstin Decarr refers to a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposal for new Net Neutrality rules which would institute a “two-tiered” Internet and is called “paid-prioritization”. This means that one form of Internet would be created that would cost less and would have a slower speed (slow lane). The other tier would cost more and be faster (fast lane).
Open Curriculum is one of four major online education start-ups which are openly against this move. Sarah Buhr, writing for TechCrunch, says the companies argue that the new rules would create an uneven playing field.