Last month, Getting Smart highlighted “30 Ways to Learn Almost Anything.” On this SMART List of 30 open resources for K-12, postsecondary, and anytime learning, was Gooru, a search engine for education.

This year, Riverside Unified School District will be piloting Gooru, which allows administrators, curriculum specialists, teachers, and students to access, create, or edit collections of online resources that are aligned to specific Common Core or California standards. These collections can be made up of videos, websites, interactive learning objects, questions, slides, textbooks, handouts, lessons, or exams. Basically, Gooru can provide teachers with their own personal online library, which can be easily shared. These resources are open source in nature — you can use resources already within the system and/or add-create your own.

RUSD has created small pilot groups consisting of teachers and Instructional Services Specialists that will assist in supporting and training teachers to integrate technology into the classroom, and contribute to the RUSD “Build Your Own School” initiative. The yearlong project will allow Gooru and RUSD participants to collaborate and integrate Gooru technology into the classroom planning and instruction, as well as co-develop and implement product improvements and features. This collaboration will occur in three phases (exploration, prototype, and release), and will allow teachers to leverage Gooru to build the following skills:

  • Creating a CCSS digital curriculum in alignment with RUSD’s Technology Plan Vision 2020

  • Differentiating instruction to meet personalized learning goals

  • Teaching 21st century skills of digital citizenship, digital writing, and web publishing

Jay McPhail, Director of Innovation and Learner Engagement at RUSD, sees Gooru as, “Having the potential to transform digital content the way that iTunes transformed the music industry.” His belief is that it will take an outside organization like Gooru rather than a traditional publisher to provide easy to use resources that may contain free and paid content from a variety of sources including traditional publishers. “Ultimately,” McPhail says, “My hope with the pilot is that we will provide RUSD teachers (and by proxy any other teacher or student using the Gooru system) with an easy to use and adapt content management system so they (and their students) can pick what they believe is the best resource to teach and learn a standard or concept.”

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