Curriculum as a platform
I spent a good part of this weekend reading and talking about discussions of Steve Yegge’s escaped internal letter to his colleagues at Google, called “Stevey’s Google Platforms Rant.” You can find one of the discussions here, for example: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3101876 It has been spreading in programmers’ circles.
It provoked a revelation for me – words and images I can use to explain what my work is all about. Natural Math motto: “Make math your own, to make your own math” means curriculum as a platform, rather than a product. The platform has curated content created with an open API, so to speak. The community of practice co-producing the system needs a flat structure – a rather distributed, fractal network.
Features of curriculum as a platform:
- Materials are extensible, so users – students, study groups, developers – change them continuously
- User groups are peer-to-peer partnerships or co-ops, helping everybody to contribute
- Contributions are transparent, acknowledged, honored and commented upon
- Groups have tools for sustaining the flow by tracking individual tasks, time, and progress, possibly in playful ways
- Tracking tools help creative, social and monetary economies of the system to stay sustainable
- The platform has starter high-quality content: “killer apps” created on the platform
- Ways to contribute are simple, open and creative: neither rocket science, nor worksheets
- With special tools, users curate the content based on shared values within user groups: they make collections, distill most useful parts, sort, and tag
For example, we are building “Moebius Noodles” as a platform for advanced young math. During the crowd-funding campaign in September, we announced “Moebius Noodles” as an extensible, live and open system. This invited a very heartening stream of content offers, both from excellent veteran educators and authors, and from parents who wanted to share, for the first time, what they are doing with their kids. I consider this fact an early proof of concept. I can’t wait to see the system in action.