The First Question: What Resources Are Teachers Using?

The first step in a digital conversion is to find out what’s actually happening in classrooms. What instructional materials are teachers using—and not using? What promotes engagement? What is easy to deploy—and what is a pain?
Six Red Marbles introduces a first-of-its-kind instructional material analytics tool called Curriculum Insight—an online service that gives you the information you need to answer these important and timely questions.
Research indicates that students are learning in more ways than ever, that purchasing decisions are not centralized, and that the shift toward digital learning materials adds value.

  • The Blended Learning Implementation Guide tells us that due to the explosion of mobile and web apps and open resources over the last three years, students are learning from a much broader array of instructional materials than school board–adopted textbooks. Determining what teachers and students are really using is more important than ever.
  • As noted in the Smart Series Guide to EdTech Procurement, often there are many people buying instructional materials for classrooms—principals, lead teachers, and central office folks including Title 1, curriculum, special ed, and ELL staff.  With so many involved, there is a very good chance that your school is wasting precious budget resources on subscriptions that are underutilized and that this money could be shifted to provide a smarter return on your investment.
  • The U.S. Department of Education’s Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) also released guidance that in order to promote student privacy, districts should approve online instructional resources.

Curriculum Insight helps you address all of these challenges by offering an easy-to-administer teacher survey. Teachers anonymously rate and review curriculum they use in their classroom. The survey takes about 10 minutes for each teacher to complete, and their ratings are automatically compiled into useful data. Reports highlight data such as usage percentages, ratings, and teacher comments for each resource. Curriculum Insight also makes educational assets visible—teachers are able to see what others are using. You can think of Curriculum Insight as a Yelp for K–12 curriculum materials.
With a lightweight survey like Curriculum Insight, districts and schools can leverage teacher leadership, acknowledge teacher expertise, and see the data-driven information needed to personalize a curriculum plan with a central focus: what works best for students. By eliminating underused materials, your district can stretch budget dollars and make aligned and informed purchasing decisions.
Six Red Marbles launched Curriculum Insight with a number of schools that work with Mass Insight. As the number of schools taking the survey grows, so will the database. This is a particularly exciting opportunity for schools in the area to compare curriculum usage with similar schools.
“The data from Curriculum Insight helped us look at how we can better allocate our budget for instructional materials and make better-informed decisions,” said Jill Lachenmayr of Andover Public Schools.
Look around your school, and you can’t deny that the shift to modular and mobile content is changing how students learn and how schools deploy resources. Curriculum Insight gives districts and schools a powerful way to create an inventory of resources and gain valuable teacher feedback in order to direct the future of student instruction.
For over two decades, Six Red Marbles has helped schools, leading universities, and all the major publishers design powerful learning experiences.
Six Red Marbles is a Getting Smart Advocacy Partner.

Jessica Slusser

Jessica is the Senior Director of Impact at Getting Smart. She leads business development and growth of advocacy campaigns, advisory services, product development, marketing, and Getting Smart's blog. As part of her role, Jessica also oversees team events, conferences, and speaking engagements.

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