Curriculum Tools | News

Free Platform Provides Educator-Developed, Common Core-Aligned Curriculum

A group of educators, an education foundation, and two ed tech companies have come together to launch a free online platform that provides curriculum materials to schools and connects with student achievement systems.

The platform, called Activate Instruction, provides materials aligned with Common Core State Standards and individual state standards, with resources available for students in grades K–12. (Materials are currently targeted primarily at students in grades 6 through 12, with K–5 materials expected to be added soon.) Materials are organized by "playlists," and users can rate and comment on individual items. Activate Instruction is also designed to integrate with schools' student data systems

The platform was developed over the last two years by educators at Summit Public Schools in Northern California, High Tech High in Southern California, the Girard Education Foundation, the Alvo Institute, and Illuminate Education.

"A student's learning should never be constrained because of lack of access to great resources," said Diane Tavenner, founder & CEO of Summit Public Schools. "Activate ensures that at all times, all students can connect with high-quality curriculum and learning. We believe that once Activate is in the hands of every teacher and student, our nation's public schools can make significant gains."

According to information released by the Girard Education Foundation, which is funding and managing the project, schools in "dozens" of districts and some KIPP Public Charter Schools will begin using Activate Instruction beginning as early as this fall.

One of those schools is Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District in California. "Activate Instruction has been instrumental in our district's efforts to increase instructional rigor and better align our curriculum to the Common Core standards," said said Elizabeth Kaufman, assistant superintendent at CRPUSD, in a prepared statement. "It's been a catalyst for our transition to the CCSS."

Two schools in the Summit network piloted the tool last year.

"Like all teachers, my incredibly diverse students have varying passions, interests and learning needs," said Kevin Bock, a high school teacher at Summit's Everest Public High School in Redwood City, Calif. "In a single playlist on Activate, my students can now choose from a host of learning resources based on their individual needs — or explore completely different material across separate playlists. I can personalize instruction in a way I've never been able to do before."

Activate Instruction Overview for CCSA from Illuminate Education on Vimeo.

"As a former teacher, I am excited to see Activate Instruction — which is essentially a curricular Wikipedia — provide teachers with a new type of professional community, where they can easily find and share high-quality lessons. Activate helps students learn in a fun, personalized and effective way," said Michele Hansen, president of the Girard Education Foundation. "Large school districts today are putting out multi-million dollar bids for technology to prepare for the Common Core — expensive bets that could, in large part, be satisfied by Activate Instruction for free."

The Activate Instruction platform is live now. Complete details can be found at

About the Author

David Nagel is editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Technology Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal and STEAM Universe. A 25-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at or follow him on Twitter at @THEJournalDave (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education).

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