“Open Education” Platform OpenCurriculum Launches

OpenCurriculum aims to create “Amazon Marketplace” of free educational materials; developers see potential to improve education worldwide.

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OpenCurriculum

“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.

Pittsburgh, PA (PRWEB) August 16, 2013

Educators across the globe now have a way to create and share high-quality educational material with the launch of TheOpenCurriculum.org, an online educational platform.

The website allows users to generate and collaborate on new textbook content for K-12 students in an unprecedented way, combining the best of social media platforms, online marketplaces, and open-source software. Creators say the non-profit, mission-based platform will improve the quality of and access to educational content across the world.

“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. (True to the social-media inspiration of the platform, users even get “notifications” when someone else has commented on a project of theirs.)

OpenCurriculum’s streamlined interface also allows quick searching for resources, as well as one-click importation of materials from Dropbox, Gmail, Google Drive and 6 other sources.

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.

“K-12 education is particularly important for shaping individuals and what part they will play in society and the economy,” says founder Arora. “It’s important to make sure the material they are taught is freely and critically created.”

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.”

About OpenCurriculum:
OpenCurriculum is a non-profit technology initiative to empower people to create and share K-12 curricula material around the world. Started in 2010, it aims to create the largest repository of openly-licensed textbook content that can be used to print and distribute millions of free textbooks in the developing world. To get access to the amazing content catalog, or to contribute your own feedback on a K-12 curriculum you care about, visit http://www.theopencurriculum.org.