Amongst other topics related to textbook sales, a recent NY Times article discusses Curriki, a nonprofit organization established to support the development and distribution of free educational materials. Founded in 2004 by Sun Microsystems and originally called the Global Education and Learning Community (GELC), Curriki is spearheaded by Scott McNealy, former CEO of Sun. Like many others, McNealy is seeking to find a solution to the rising cost of textbooks; Curriki’s answer is open-source.
“We are spending $8 billion to $15 billion per year on textbooks” in the United States, Mr. McNealy says. “It seems to me we could put that all online for free.”
Curriki’s website is an online environment composed of educators and educational experts where members may share and publish resources, communicate with peers, and build, add-to, and comment on curricula and materials from the Curriki repository. Anyone can contribute to and use the material found on Curriki. According to their website, the community is currently composed of over 132,000 members and contains almost 38,000 resources, which include lesson plans, textbooks, videos, units, simulations, and other community-driven resources.
According to the NY Times article, “Curriki has made only modest strides, but Mr. McNealy has pledged to inject new life.” Mr. McNealy would like to create an organized framework for collecting education informational and build systems to evaluate materials and monitor student performance.