March 2, 2011
The cloud meets curriculum could be another way to describe Common Curriculum’s platform that allows K-12 publishers to create and sell their curriculum on the web.
Here’s the situation: small curricula publishers don’t have the resources to create a web-based version of their materials. Common Curriculum lets them compete with the big players in the market and offers them a new sales channel through a hosted marketplace for elementary and secondary school curriculum.
Here’s how Common Curriculum works: publishers sign up on the site, create their lesson plans, and upload their videos and worksheets. The publisher then offers it for free on the web or lists it for sale in Common Curriculum marketplace. Teachers can create a community around the curriculum by downloading, commenting, and rating materials.
School systems are beneficiaries of this platform as well. Common Curriculum courts this audience with the phrase, “Create curriculum guides that work. No more file servers or huge, multi-page tables in Microsoft Word. Bring organization and sanity to your life.” The site allows the school system (or charter school network, as the website uses in a more illustrative example) to centralize curriculum, allow teachers to add comments and ratings, as well as add suggestions.
The Common Curriculum team’s real-world experience in the field of education has not only helped them to understand the target audience, but the competition in the curriculum publishing space as well. Centralizing the access to the files and creating unique user accounts overcomes many of the current obstacles publishers face with other firms, such as piracy. Additionally, the Common Curriculum platform breaks up curriculum into units/lessons/etc., making it much more difficult to pirate the entire work. Also, most competitors offer a static PDF for download, which we all know isn’t built for engagement or interaction.
This platform lets publishers engage with the teachers that use their materials and dynamically update their materials and collect data on which materials are being used by which users.
The company began when Andy Hlavka and Scott Messinger met while writing curriculum and facilitating professional development with Baltimore City Public Schools. Andy is a first grade teacher in Baltimore City Schools. Scott taught 1st grade in Baltimore City Public Schools for 4 years before leaving the classroom to work on Common Curriculum full time. In his last year of teaching, he taught himself to program. Rounding out the team is Yoav Lurie, founder of Simple Energy. Previously, he was a Director of Synteractive, Inc. and the Managing Director of Development for the DC branch of Teach for America.
Check out Common Curriculum for yourself – and if you’re in Baltimore on Thursday, March 3rd, come out and meet the team at Tech Cocktail’s Baltimore mixer, in partnership with the Greater Baltimore Tech Council.
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