Open source collaborative content holds the promise of freely distributed high-quality education materials. Developing and sustaining the community to needed to accomplish that is the difficult part.
Curriki, an online community of over 100,000 educators, learners and experts collectively developing curriculum resources freely available to anyone who wants them, seems to be meeting the challenge.
The organization behind the web community aims to produce a breadth of high quality education materials that can be globally distributed at no cost. Dr. Bobbi Kurshan, Executive Director of Curriki, believes the budget-friendly aspect of the service could fuel its growth.
“We license the materials under Creative Commons,” Kurshan explained, “so it is free to use provided you give attribution.”
By using the open source process for education, Curriki hopes to empower educational professionals to become active in the creation of “world-class” curricula. That includes lesson plans, student activities and text books.
While it is difficult to say how widely the content is being used, Curriki has been involved in several high profile endeavors both in the United States and globally.
“We’re doing quite a bit of international work, often filling the void in areas without access to text books,” said Kurshan.
Curriki was founded by Sun Microsystems in March 2004 as the Global Education & Learning Community (GELC), it was later spun off as an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit to focus on developing open source curricula. The group has so far gotten by on money from foundations and grants, but Kurshan must now think about maintaining the effort long term.
“We’re interested in engaging in conversations about sustainability.”
Curriki is among the winners of the WISE Awards 2009, recognizing outstanding practice and achievements within the themes of Pluralism, Sustainability and Innovation in education. EducationFutures.com will be covering this WISE Summit through next wekk.