Dr. Robin Dada, Director of Graduate Studies, Zayed University College of Education, United Arab Emirates
1) How did you originally hear about Curriki?
I learned about Curriki when I was working for the UAE Ministry of Education. At that time several of our teachers were participating in a Digital Learning Academy course taught by Anna Batchelder, Curriki International Consultant and Founder of Bon Education. Anna introduced us to Curriki as a tool for finding and collaborating on instructional content.
2) How do you use Curriki?
At the moment I am leading two pre-service teaching courses at Zayed University—Learning Technologies in the Classroom and Education Studies II: Instructional Strategies.
The students in my Learning Technologies course are just starting to use Curriki. In particular, they are using Curriki to find and create WebQuest ideas and other Web-based and interactive student assignments.
The Education Studies students are using Curriki to find lessons for their practicum experiences. We are also critiquing and rating Curriki lessons based on the presence of the 5 Es—engagement, exploration, explanation, elaboration and evaluation. Next semester I plan to have the students modify and adapt existing Curriki lessons directly on the Curriki wiki.
3) Why do you use Curriki?
I like Curriki because it is more than just a bank of lesson plans, but rather a rich source of full units and multimedia interactive content. I also like that Curriki makes it easy to adapt and modify existing content to local contexts, as well as tomonitor how content has been changed over time.
4) What is your favorite feature on Curriki?
I like several of Curriki’s features. I like the idea that teachers can find, modify, and improve lessons over time. I like that they can search by topic, standard, and ratings to find ideas they didn’t know they wanted to have yet. I especially like that Curriki is free!
5) How do you plan to use Curriki in the future?
In the future, I want to develop teacher academies at Zayed University to produce integrated and locally contextualized content to put on Curriki, especially Arabic language content.
6) What do you see as the larger impact of Curriki within schools?
The time has come to really consider the use of open source content. The truth is, we spend a fortune on books that are usually shipped from overseas. Not that books are a bad thing, but schools and students don’t always need to purchase an entire book to just access a few chapters or bits of information. When schools spend money on books, there is often little funding left for professional development and local curricula development efforts. By utilizing open source content, such as the units on Curriki, schools can reallocate some of these resources towards activities that truly build teacher skills and effectiveness in the classroom.
7) Is there anything else you’d like to share with the Curriki community?
I think school district administrators get concerned about quality when they hear “open source content”. While this is a valid concern, my experience with Curriki and other open source content repositories is that the lessons and curricula teachers post is quite good. At the end of the day, teachers that put their content online really just want to share the best of themselves.
“By utilizing open source content, such as the units on Curriki, schools can reallocate resources towards activities that truly build teacher skills and effectiveness in the classroom.”