STORYWORLD Joins the Curriki Toolbox

STORYWORLD logoBy Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, Curriki

Learning a language is hard. Teaching a language can be even harder!

Research in language acquisition indicates that reading is one of the most effective ways to learn a new language. The more students read, the faster they learn. However, for the narrative to be meaningful, 90% of the words have to be comprehensible. That challenges teachers and parents
to find appropriate texts to match each learner’s language level.

Meet Curriki’s newest partner, STORYWORLD

STORYWORLD solves all this. STORYWORLD translates every word of every book with a simple click. Click once to hear the word pronounced, click again to hear and read the translation in the home language. No dictionary needed! Students can also switch the entire page to read and listen to the story in their home language for deeper understanding. This feature helps single-language parents support bilingual learners.

All these unique features unlock the story for virtually any student at any level.

storyworld-illustrationSTORYWORLD makes reading easy and natural. Learners acquire language naturally, listening to each story supported with visual clues. So, language becomes the vehicle for learning, not the end in itself. Narration by native speakers helps learners become familiar with the natural rhythm and sound of the language.

STORYWORLD Truly Makes Learning Fun

Students play the games at the end of each story, winning points while engaging in activities that reinforce core vocabulary and comprehension. At the end of each book read, every word or phrase that was clicked is saved in a personalized vocabulary list so the learner can review his or her own challenging vocabulary.

STORYWORLD’s Lexile® leveled library covers more than 1000 words and phrases, all presented with fun stories and colorful images. Subjects cover animals, body, celebrations, colors, counting, daily life, family, food, friends, locations, morals, school, transit, travel, and weather, so there’s something for everyone.

With STORYWORLD’s unique built-in one-on-one support, kids can easily teach themselves a new language in their zone of proximal development, that space between what they know and what they need to know, where learning happens most naturally.

Research has proven that students using STORYWORLD’s interactive bilingual books are able to learn independently in formal and informal learning settings.

STORYWORLD Aids Brain Development

And…STORYWORLD supports brain development! Learning a second language benefits children in multiple ways. Children who grow up learning multiple languages have enhanced brain development, show greater empathy for other cultures, and enjoy career opportunities in life.

Teachers, parents, join the growing STORYWORLD community.

Janet PintoJanet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, leads and manages all of Curriki’s content development, user experience and academic direction. Learn more at

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Kids Distracted? Use the Holidays to Make Teaching Fun!

Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, Curriki

The run-up to the December holidays presents a huge challenge to keeping kids engaged and learning.  Kids are so distracted by visions of sugarplums, menorahs and the prospect of getting gifts! You will find that Curriki’s website offers a wide variety of holiday activities that give teachers and homeschoolers the opportunity to use the distractions to teach. Here are a few ideas:


Grinch Grow Your HeartDr. Seuss Grow Your Heart 3 Sizes this Season offers fantastic printables and activities, from “The Grinch Grow Your Heart Game” to Seussian word searches  to “The Official Good Deed Tracker Book.” Join Cindy-Lou Who for a fun holiday ride!

Christmas Tale is a free app for both iOS and Android that includes a Christmas Countdown Clock, Christmas Piano musical tree-decorating activity, Christmas Wish List, jigsaw puzzles, Paint-a-Picture, a Counting Game, Memory Match and more!

Hanukkah (Chanukah)

Through Curriki’s Hanukkah collection, kids can learn about the Jewish festival of lights through stories, videos, songs, cooking and more, hurtling through Hanukkah traditions with a step-by-step guide to everything from arranging the menorah to unique holiday customs.


Did you know that Kwanzaa was started by a teacher? Kwanzaa was introduced in the mid-1960s — during the US Civil Rights Movement – by Maulana Karenga, Ph.D., chair and professor of African-American Studies at the California State University at Long Beach, in an effort to pull the African-American community together in pride and unity. The reflective nature of Kwanzaa is based on ideas borrowed from an ancient African Swahili seven-day-long harvest celebration.

In Curriki’s lessons, children discuss those seven principles: unity, self-determination, collective responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.  You might want to start with a Sesame Street video!

Winter Solstice

Children on a globeThe Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year, marking the moment the sun shines at its most southern point, directly over the Tropic of Capricorn. It’s a major pagan festival, with rituals of rebirth having been celebrated for thousands of years, and it’s a fascinating scientific phenomenon. This year, the solstice will occur on Wednesday, Dec. 21. Check out Curriki’s many resources!

Holidays Around the World

Younger children (K-1) can learn about winter holidays around the world with OER on Curriki’s website, traveling from Mexico (by re-enacting a traditional posadas party,) to Sweden (by role-playing Santa Lucia Day),  to Africa (by eating homemade Kinaras on self-made woven placemats for a harvest celebration), to  Israel (by making dreidels and latkes for Hanukkah), to the United States (by decorating a Christmas tree, making cards and caroling).

Christmas Around the World Webquest and Holiday Customs Around the World transport older students to many countries so they can experience their cultures and their unique holiday celebrations.

Enjoy Curriki’s whole Winter Holidays Learning Collection!


Janet Pinto - Curriki CAO/CMOJanet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, leads and manages all of Curriki’s content development, user experience, and academic direction. Learn more at

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Open Educational Resources:  A Powerful Means for Educational Equity

By Lani deGuia, Guest Blogger and Curriki Member

OER logoEducation provides families and communities the opportunity to thrive. However, educational systems and curricula differ across communities, states and even nations. These inequities can prevent many children from having adequate opportunities to learn.

According to the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality, almost one-third of the U.S. population is living in poverty. Coupled with additional barriers such as under-resourced schools, societal and cultural expectations, teacher shortages, illiteracy and lack of access, gaps in education are severely challenging to address. As a consequence, generations of young people are slipping through the cracks and their potential for contributing to society is diminished or lost. The impact of inequality is even heavier on gender and minorities. We simply cannot sit back and wait, perhaps for decades, for these inequities to be resolved.

OER to the Rescue!

With the exponential growth of technology and the Internet, Open Educational Resources (OER) give communities around the world the ability to meet their educational needs. UNESCO coined the term “OER” in 2002, describing it as teaching, learning and research resources in the public domain or with license that permits free use and re-purposing.

Curriki seeks to fill in instruction gaps by providing a free global OER platform for educators, parents, and students to access and share courses, curriculum, textbooks, videos, assessments, lesson plans, simulations and a multitude of other teaching and learning resources.

Computer learningHere are some ways that OERs can foster educational equity:

  • Access to Free Quality Resources. OER resources exist in the public domain or are released with intellectual property licensing that allows the public to use them for free for educational and personal purposes.  Therefore, anyone can access these resources, use them in their classrooms and disseminate among staff and educational peers.
  • Ease of Accessibility. OERs are readily available wherever there is internet access, via computers, laptops, mobile devices and cell phones. This can happen at school, at home, or even at a library, restaurant, or even a mall where public Wi-fi is available. Public domain and permissible content can be downloaded onto USB drives and continue to be shared.
  • Provide Personalized Learning Experiences. Differentiated instruction to meet individual needs of students is a cornerstone of effective teaching. In addition to the unique qualities and interests of every student, legislation requires the customization of instruction to meet the needs or defined groups such as gifted and talented and special needs students.
    OERs allow educators, homeschooling educators, parents, and students to search for topics and complementary teaching materials. Imagine being able to find engaging videos, simulations, units, and activities targeting unique interests ranging from NASCAR to Harry Potter and the Hunger Games.
  • Curated collections of resources also help provide targeted materials at all levels. Curriki offers standards-aligned collections on Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Geometry, Calculus, Physics, Computational Thinking and more.
  • Fostering a Diversified Curriculum. Effective education is no longer viewed as a “sage on stage” scenario where teachers lecture and students rely on textbooks for learning. But challenges for adequate curriculum development and limited planning time make it difficult to meet the needs for 21st century learning. The Framework for 21st Century Learning emphasizes creativity and innovation, critical thinking, problem solving, communication and collaboration. Research and investigation are the prime vehicles for learning, and OERs hone in on this with valuable resources on problem-based learning, flipped classrooms, technology integration and inquiry.
  • Collaboration on Successful Practices. Curriki’s large repository of high-quality materials — shared by educators, parents and students — can be linked or uploaded to share around the world. Teachers have shared their personally developed units, lesson plans, videos and more to create an abundance of classroom-tested instructional materials.  Curriki makes it easy to find these resources by keyword searches, subjects, grade level, resource type (unit, lesson plan, video, assessment, etc.), and even by standard (Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core Standards).

In addition, Curriki’s platform allows its community of users to rate and review each resource. Teachers, parents and students can also create their own groups, public or private, and participate in forums on a variety of topics to advance collaboration.

Education for All

Educators, parents, and students don’t have to be restricted from limited resources, geography or their current learning environment. The global community is working through OERs to help provide quality education for all. Curriki is proud to be a prime facilitator of this educational progress!

LaniLani deGuia is a Norfolk, VA-based Educational Consultant with experience writing and developing curriculum and managing school technology.

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7 Tips that will make You a Guru in Open Educational Resources

Kim Jones is the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Curriki.By Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

A more flexible and adaptable and even personalized approach to teaching is now available, by incorporating Open Educational Resources (OER) in the classroom. Curriki is a leader in providing K-12 OER to anyone, anywhere, at no cost.

Here are 7 tips for using OER. Use any 3 of these and you will already be a Guru of OER!

1. Use OER to supplement textbooks in those areas that are weak or have limited coverage. Benefit: stronger syllabus

2. Use OER as a source for, and/or to enhance, homework assignments. Benefit: better assignments

3. Use OER for a classroom project or for some portion of a project. Benefit: improved projects

4. Modify OER to your requirements and reshare with the global education community. Benefit: content adapted to your need and you help others

5. Assign OER content to help students who are struggling with a topic, or conversely those who want to explore a topic in further detail. Benefit: personalized learning

6. Use OER as a full course (if you are not mandated otherwise), or as a supplementary unit in a course. Benefit: free standards-aligned full courses

7. Search on Curriki for the best resources to meet your requirements. Benefit: choice of tens of thousands of resources means a high likelihood of finding an applicable resource

Open Educational Resources

Curriki has tens of thousands of OER classified and searchable by subject area, type of resource, format, standards-alignment, ratings and recommendations and more. Employ some of these free resources in your classroom this month!

EdTech Trends for 2016

Photo of Janet PintoBy Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki

WCET is the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies, under the umbrella of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), which is a partnership of 16 states and territories in the western U.S. WCET recently commented on edTech trends and developments during 2015:

“In 2015, trends in edtech included more emphasis on open educational resources, less hype around data analytics, and a nail in the MOOC coffin. Informal and formal blended learning models, including competency-based education, continued to grow. Adaptive learning emerged as a compelling business model for edtech companies and a strategy for increasing student success and completion at institutions. IoT, the Internet of Things made its way into lexicon of higher education, despite no real strategies for managing IoT in higher ed. What edtech trends and issues will impact WCET members in 2016?”

So WCET noted that in 2015 major trends included:

  • Increased emphasis on OER
  • Decreased hype on data analytics
  • Blended learning models continued to grow
  • Increased emphasis on adaptive learning (computer-assisted learning)
  • IoT (Internet of Things) starting to become an issue

It’s useful to look at the trends they have identified in higher education, because these can often foreshadow developments in K-12 education down the road.Photo by Marcin Wichary via Flickr Creative Commons

Thus for 2016 in the K-12 arena, we would expect to see continued increased emphasis on Open Educational Resources (OER) and on blending learning models. And we may start to see conversations around Internet of Things (IoT) as tools for augmented learning, along with the already significant mLearning and adaptive learning growth – learning with the use of mobile devices and computers.

Curriki’s OER library, containing tens of thousands of resources, is well placed to provide materials in support of blending learning models, mobile learning, and adaptive learning. These are in the cloud and available 24×7. There is no doubt that OER is growing rapidly. Here’s the Federal government’s view:

“The Federal government is supporting the use of open educational resources to provide equitable access to quality education.” – White House blog site

What do you see as major trends for 2016? Please share your comments.

5 Facts Everyone Should Know About Open Educational Resources


By Janet Pinto, Curriki Chief Academic Officer Photo of Janet Pinto

Open educational resources (OERs) are free and openly licensed educational materials that can be used for teaching, learning, research, and other purposes. They are freely available to anyone over the web.

Fact #1: Digital technologies like OERs allow you to personalize the learning experience so that students can learn at their own pace and have instant access to the latest information. For example, you can download and share thousands of K-12 OERs on Curriki and modify them for your individual teaching/learning purposes.

Fact #2: OERs can improve education by allowing costs to be shifted away from expensive, proprietary resources (e.g., textbooks) to open, shareable ones. OERs can ease the budget burdens of buying textbooks or subscriptions by shifting to online content services.

Fact #3: Despite the many advantages of OERs, nearly two-thirds of faculty in U.S. higher education are unaware of OERs according to a study from Babson Survey Research Group and Pearson. How do we increase awareness of these high-quality, free learning resources? (Hint: share this post.)

Fact #4: MIT started a global OER movement by launching OpenCourseWare in 2002. OCW covers an extensive range of topics, primarily in science and engineering. These are free and open materials that span across the complete MIT curriculum. Today, they offer materials from 2260 courses, with more than 175 million visitors.

The MIT Collection on Curriki contains 49 relevant topics in Calculus, Physics, Chemistry and Biology. Most of the material is selected to support the College Board Advanced Placement Program offering college-level examinations to high school students.

Fact #5: Curriki is the largest global K-12 learning community, with 10+ million users worldwide, where you can find more than 74,000 free learning assets, ranging from lesson plans, videos, and worksheets to multimedia activities and courses.

All of the OERs have been created and contributed by educators, curriculum designers, curriculum partners, and school districts. They are “mashable,” which means that teachers can select resources (e.g., lesson plans, videos, animations, photos, etc.), tweak them, or combine them with other resources to generate their own custom teaching tools. And many OERs have already been mapped to standards.

Please share this with a friend, parent or colleague and encourage them to sign up (free) today!

Digital Learning and Achievement

By Kim Jones, Curriki CEO

Tom Vander Ark wrote a blog earlier this month entitled “How Digital Learning is Boosting Achievement”. He pointed out that digital learning is proven technology, with extensive usage in business and in the military in addition to a rapidly increasing set of applications in K-12 education.

There are many success stories. The author makes four key points, and provides many examples to support these points; we just repeat a few of those examples here:

  • Blended schools can and do achieve high performance
    • Example: Proficiency in reading, math, science up from 68% to 88% in Mooresville, NC with laptops for all.
  • Hundreds of studies of online and blended learning are showing good results
  • Technology-enabled math products are demonstrating positive results
    • Example: Reasoning Mind claims struggling 2nd and 3rd graders could catch up to grade level in math in one year.
  • Digital learning is cost-effective in the face of a ‘decade of deficits’
    • Example: US Department of Education study shows 9 ways that online learning boosts productivity.

Mr. Vander Ark states “The digital learning revolution offers the first opportunity in history to extend quality secondary [education] to every young person on the planet.” And it also increases the college-readiness and career-readiness of high school graduates.

Image Credit:

Curriki’s open educational resource repository is focused around digital learning content, including many videos, presentations and interactive resources. These digital learning resources are available to anyone on the planet with Internet access for free.

Broadband, tablets and the Cloud are all enabling technologies that support access to the best methods and the best teachers for anyone, anywhere, at any time. Personalized learning is spreading across the globe, and Curriki is proud to provide a free, open education repository as a Cloud-based service.

Got a Question for Curriki CEO Kim Jones?

Kim Jones, Curriki Chairman and CEO

I’d love to hear your questions, so please send me an email at  and I’ll answer you in an upcoming  blog.

Why the big deal about Open Educational Resources and Curriki?

Great question!  Let me share my Top 3 list:

  1. Open Educational Resources (OERs) are created by our peers – educators, curriculum partners, and school districts – so they understand what works in the classroom.
  2. OERs are free. I’ll repeat that, they’re free!
  3. OERs are “mashable.” So if you’re a teacher, you can select specific OER resources and combine them with other resources you’re already using to generate your own custom teaching tools.

Curriki encourages you to add, subtract, and edit any resource that will make the materials better for your purposes.

Do I have to pay to download resources on Curriki?


Does it cost anything to join Curriki?

No, membership is completely free! Curriki is designed to make your job easier, so join now.

I have specific needs – does Curriki have resources I can use in my classroom?

Yes! We’ve made it easy for you to search by grade and subject area. Use Advanced Search to browse by type of media to suit different learning styles, for example, or to find the highest rated resources.

I don’t have time to search Curriki every day, so how can I easily learn about new resources?

Sign up for Curriki’s monthly newsletter and subject-area emails (opt in when you join). For example, in last month’s emails, we highlighted the Top 5 Most Popular Resources in different subject areas. You can also subscribe to Curriki’s blog via RSS, follow us on Twitter (@Curriki) and join us on Facebook.

Do you have an opinion to add regarding OERs?  I encourage you to share your thoughts with our community.

Best Open & Free Educational Resources for Students

Photo by ~Brenda-Starr~ via Flickr Creative Commons


Share these top 10 Open & Free Educational Resource sites with your students: they are a great compliment to classroom instruction, and they can give students the opportunity to study personal interests in depth!

  • Curriki – Thousands of open educational resources for all subjects and grade levels for students to use in for personal pursuits or as support materials to what they are learning in class.
  • eThemes – “provides free, fast access to over 2,500 collections of websites, on topics ranging from Aerodynamics to Zebras and everything in between!”
  • FactMonster – Check facts quickly, and enjoy free access to encyclopedia, dictionaries, atlases, almanacs and more!
  • Finding Dulcinea – this website is a wonderful curated collection of best-of-web sites for kids with many excellent resources for elementary, middle and high school students. Upperclassmen especially should check out these guides for Applying to College!
  • Illuminations: Resources for Teaching Math – Filled with activities, lessons and links to math websites and study guides, this is a great resource for students looking to increase their math skills at any level.
  • Internet Public Library – An extensive online public library, this is a great research tool for students. The library also hosts collections devoted to kids and teens.
  • Khan Academy – Thousands of videos that provide a full course on instruction in a variety of topics, from social studies to statistics.
  • Learning Science – A fabulous site for science learners of all ages. This website contains an array of science websites and interactive simulations for students and teachers.
  • Open Learning Initiative – Carnegie Melon University is offering free courses in French, Physics through this initiative. Students may take an entire course, or access relevant topics for help in their own studies.
  • Shmoop – Free, student-friendly and jargon-free study guides in subjects ranging from Shakespeare to Economics and everything in between.
  • Thinkfinity Student Resources – A project of the Verizon Foundation, this website contains loads of interactive lessons, simulations and more, all easily searchable by grade level and subject area.
  • Wolfram MathWorld – This excellent, free resource from Wolfram can answer any question you have about mathematics, from arithmetic to linear algebra and beyond.

Hey, students! What open & free educational resources do you use? Let us know!


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Photo by ~Brenda-Starr~ via Flickr Creative Commons


Creative Commons Speaks with Curriki’s Christine Mytko


I want my students and colleagues to understand that, by sharing materials, they are contributing to a collection … that will benefit learners far beyond the walls of their own classroom.

-Christine Mytko, Curriki Lead Science Reviewer

Last week, Creative Commons’ Jane Park spoke with Christine Mytko, a California Science Educator extraordinaire, about her involvement with Curriki and the Open Educational Resource movement. Their very informative conversation can be found here.

Mytko, the lead science reviewer for Curriki, discusses her perspective as a teacher on the impact that open content learning materials are having in the education community. She highlights the movement towards open source textbooks, including California’s Free Digital Textbook Initiative, what challenges educators may face when adapting an open content curriculum, and what steps the OER community must take to address these obstacles.

Finally, Mytko shares her vision of an open classroom:

Ideally, the classroom should be a place where students are not merely passive consumers … but rather active collaborators, synthesizers and publishers of their own work … rather than falling back on the default of full copyright, or worse, not sharing at all…This is a significant shift in current educational philosophy, but sites like Curriki are a great step in facilitating a move in the right direction.

Read the full article here.


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