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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Readers' Survey 2007: Best Site to Download Free Lessons

Edutopia readers weigh in on their favorites.
By Edutopia
Edutopia Team
Credit: Getty Images

Marcopolo-education.org

Like the Venetian explorer for whom it's named, the Web site at marcopolo-education.org travels to faraway places and finds the treasure of knowledge. For the second year in a row, it's our readers' favorite site for free material. The expansive site offers hundreds of lesson plans, as well as a deep range of professional development and training material. Recently, the Verizon Foundation, which runs the site, changed its label to the clunky-sounding Thinkfinity -- a terrible name, but it has the same great material. Other popular sites of freebies include those for Education World, Scholastic, and PBS.

Our Take

Free Wiki

One of the most promising sources of free classroom lessons we've seen recently is Curriki, created by the computer giant Sun Microsystems. Think Wikipedia for educators, students, administrators, and parents. Scott McNealy, chairman of Sun, launched the site late last year, calling it repository of "open source curricula." Curriki (the name is a marriage of curriculum and wiki) offers educational materials for K-12 students on a wide range of classroom topics, both mundane and controversial. It's a collaborative site, and so its material is reviewed by other teachers and can be modified by users depending on their needs. Curriki follows in the line of other repositories of open source courseware such as MERLOT and Connexions, which truly indicates a bold new direction in what and how students are taught.

NEXT PAGE OF READERS' SURVEY: Best virtual field trip

2007 Readers' Survey Index

Comments (5)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Nicole's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I have a wiki to showcase my children and inform parents as to what their children do on a day to day basis. This has turned out to be a great resource for parents& other teachers in my school, who may want to do a cross curricular lesson, etc.. I love the idea of a curriki, what a great resource to have another place where educators can get ideas and adjust to their own lessons. As an art teacher I love sites like crayola, and kinderart to view lessons and get ideas. Any added resource is a plus to me.

Ann's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Our resources and lesson plans are aligned to the Kansas curriculum standards. We are a partner of Thinkfinity...which is also marvelous. Take a look at ours at
www.kerc-ks.org
Hit the feedback button and tell me what you think!

Michael Carter's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Try hippocampus.org

Douglas Gauld's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

These aren't exactly lesson plans, but I find the short films here wonderfully useful and entertaining: unitedstreaming.com. Old news for some of you, I'm sure. Many school districts subscribe to this site sponsored by the Discovery Channel. I'm glad mine does.

Charlene's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Hi Edutopia,

Could you report who your respondents are to your polls, how many people responded, and if you have a set number of possible responses in your polls? I found your survey about who has been the Best Public Advocate for education, and was surprised to see George Lucas on there, until I found that he founded the organization that funds this site. Shouldn't you disclose that in all your poll results?

Also, I think it's appropriate to remind readers of your results that you are not conducting a random sample survey (unless of course, you are, in which case you should explain your numbers and the degree of accuracy of your results). Such self selected surveys are notoriously biased and unreliable.

Thanks,
Charlene DiCalogero, M.A.

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