Educational content ideas/curricula

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In most western countries there are standards for the curriculum material that is covered in public schools. These have been developed by national organizations of teachers, professors and school administrators, e.g. the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA in the USA. These have the advantage of having been developed by a broad swathe of groups with some stake in the learning and with groups that are knowledgable about what and how students learn. Using these standards as a guide for curriculum development will have these advantages:

  1. Information deemed needed for the future in a technological world has been identified in these goals expressed as standards.
  2. Major textbooks already follow these outlines.
  3. Accreditation will be easier to obtain if such is desired.
  4. The structure is already in place and teachers and students taking education degrees will already be familiar with the structure.
  5. The standards are easily available from many websites.
  6. The organizations responsible for the development of the standards will most likely take responsibility for updating them in the near future.
  7. The books associated with these standards will be a valuable resource for teacher training and therefore a way to share a common sense of community and educational goals to all users.
  8. Evaluation tools such as standardized tests for subject matter are currently grounded in these standards as required by most state department of education policies.
  9. What to teach and how to teach in the broad terms of these standards provide a structured curriculum deemed appropriate by the vast majority of educators.

A useful project might be to survey and compare curriculum standards of several countries.

School books

In many countries, children lack school books. The children don't have an atlas, the schools don't have many maps. The governments should have the ability to put school books on to the laptop. As a starting point, existing paper books can be scanned into DJVU format and displayed by Evince, the ebook reader included with OLPC. This sidesteps any font issues because DJVU compression does not require fonts.