Towards a more open curriculum

I’ve been busy working on a small project for the last several weeks. Initially it started as a way to easily share the resources I’ve been using in my class with other teachers in my building. It quickly morphed into something more. As long as I was organizing things in this manner, why not just publish it all online?

I believe education related materials should open and available to use by anybody who has a use for them. Materials that are locked behind stringent copyright regulations or locked up on a teacher’s hard drive aren’t always able to be used by students, educators, parents, or others in ways that they may like.  If someone finds what I’ve created useful I want them to be able to use it in whatever manner they find it the most useful. Alec Couros has done a lot of thinking about what open teaching is all about, and I’ve come to take many of his ideas a challenge to think about how I choose to control the materials that I create (see his recent posts: Visualizing Open/Networked Teaching and it Revisited). The way I control media- and mentor that to my students- should reflect the values that I hold.

A timid step

Towards becoming an “open/networked teacher,” I’ve decided to release my curriculum resources to the internets. Curriculum Science is a wiki I’ve set up where I’ll be posting all my handouts, presentations, and projects under a GNU Free Documentation License (hat tip to Dan Meyer who planted seeds he posted his full geometry curriculum). Though it won’t matter to many people, I’ve also aligned them with the Connecticut standards for 9th grade Integrated Science. It’s a work in progress that will be updated as I make my way through this semester’s curriculum. Not all the material I would categorize as “my best stuff,” but it is “my real stuff.”

A little help

I don’t have this whole teaching/technology thing figured out. I’ve spent a lot of time considering how to be the most effective teacher possible, but that requires constantly revisiting what it is that I’m doing and how it is that I’m doing it. A few things I’d enjoy hearing my readers thoughts on:

  • Is the GNU Free Documentation License the way to go for this? Would a Creative Commons license be a better match? I’m a little fuzzy on the specific definitions of the various licenses.
  • If you have ideas for how to get at the content in a more effective manner than I’ve done in my curriculum please let me know. Lately I’ve been feeling that my ideas for new materials have been stale and not as effective as I’d like.
  • If you use or remix anything I’ve created it’d make me happy to hear back on what you thought of it or how you changed it.

The Resources

Curriculum Science