The role of collaboration in education should be paramount, with the web allowing teachers from around the world to share ideas and best practice. That’s certainly the goal of a new education site called TheOpenCurriculum.org.
“OpenCurriculum creates access to better educational materials, more authentic local educational discussions, and easier dissemination of ideas and best practices,” says Varun Arora, Founding Director of OpenCurriculum.
The platform combines elements of social media sites, open source software, and the Open Educational Resources movement. Over 10,000 resources are freely available to anyone to download from a catalog. Meanwhile, users who create Facebook-style profiles can create new worksheets, quizzes/tests, and lesson plans, and can share with or collect from other users. Users can also collaborate on projects and comment on other’s work.
The site also recreates the experience of collaboration within schools and school districts with “Projects” workspaces. Projects allows communities to work collaboratively on shared material and interact with each other in creating better and newer learning content. It also replaces the needs for learning management systems in many cases, and avoids exorbitantly-priced tools or platforms misfit to serve their needs.
Developers say they will continue to work on better localization for content, improve facilitation of content exchange, and make the content more useful outside of the website.
OpenCurriculum developers believe openness and innovation in education can lead to better democracy and more sustainable development.
At its August launch at the Hub collaboration space in San Francisco, the OpenCurriculm was named the initiative with the largest potential for social change among other startups.
“Our premise from the conception of OpenCurriculum has been that if we work together on common goals, rather than work collectively on individual goals, we can achieve something greater not just for ourselves, but for the community.”