An educational innovation or what?

With today’s Education Guardian comes an 8 page supplement called Ground-breaker which is published in association with the Innovation Unit. I generally read these things because I have two daughters who are secondary teachers and interested in knowing what’s going on in the world outside their own patches. This Gerald Haigh piece caught my eye

Log on to Curriki  for the next lesson plan. 

An online collaborative teaching resource, modelled on the software that runs Wikipedia, promises a hi-tech way to share best practice.

Gerald Haigh 

Put together the word “curriculum” with “wiki” (a type of online software that permits easy collaboration between a community of users), as in “wikipedia” and you have Curriki, which describes itself as a “global education and learning community”

Curriki exists to collect high-quality curriculum resources from across the globe and make them freely available. It is potentially ground-breaking which has now captured the attention and support of the Innovation Unit. 

Sharing curriculum online isn’t a new idea. The difference here lies in the global vision. Curriki’s founders, deeply committed to the concept of “open source”, aim to develop Curriki as a means of promoting equality of educational opportunity across the world, offering free access for all children and teachers to the best of materials. Curriki’s mission, according to its statement of intent, is “to empower people worldwide through open source curriculum and to eliminate the educational divide by moving learning into the participation age” 

It’s still early days for Curriki, but there’s a considerable amount of material on the website, much of it from the States. Anne Eardley, a Cambridgeshire primary deputy, features as UK pioneer. Curriki is the brainchild of Scott McNealy, chairman of Sun Microsystems and an evangelist for “open source”. 

Curriki’s growth potential is huge, and it is the vision and the quality of the people involved that interest the Innovation unit. The unit is in the business of gathering and promoting cutting-edge practice and sees Curriki as a possible means of spreading the word. One forthcoming IU project, for example, will involve parents in producing a course in supporting children in school, and this might in future be disseminate through Curriki. 

Gavin Dykes, IU associate director, says: “We’re looking at whether Curriki can be a vehicle for some of our projects, but really it’s just one possible choice….All our projects are practitioner led, and it’s about best fit.” 

There will be people who will knock it the same way they knock Wikipedia, but I for one am very confident that it stands a very good chance of being a really great innovation in education.   

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