SOS ClassroomAt the end of the school year, LAUSD, the second largest school district in the U.S., canceled summer school for K-8 students. Reports estimate 225,000 students affected, but surely this is an understatement because every child is affected when children in their class have not received the instruction they need. This summer, my students at the University of Southern California have been tackling this problem using social bookmarking tools, namely Diigo and Delicious. The project aims to crowsource education.

SOS Classroom

What would it mean to crowdsource education? Send all of LA’s students to New Delhi? (No, that would be outsourcing.) To crowdsource education is to take something very time consuming, like tagging free online educational sites buy viagra buy cialis buy cialis professional buy viagra professional, and to distribute the labor across the playbor factories of Internet users. Nana and Granddad can find sites along with the teacher of room 24 and the average person on the street.

That last term, playbor, came up in a heated IDC discussion that Trebor Scholtz began when he started the thread: The Internet as Playground and Factory.


While Trebor and the IDC-ers debated the various traps and advantages of siphening work from Internet keystrokes, my students and I were contemplating submitting a work order to the Factory/Playground.

The result is the SOS Classroom, the initial version of a site dedicated to serving those in search of free online resources for their K-8 students. Rather than create this list ourselves, we did what any Net-loving Web 2.0 class might do, we put out a call to create an Open Season for all free resources.

Donors had 3 ways to submit resources:

  • email us
  • Twitter with #sosclassroom
  • bookmark the site with the tag “sosclassroom”

That initial tag brings the resources to our attention. Additional tags would help us differentiate subject, grade level, and even quality of the resource.

Of course, it’s bigger than just 1 website.

The secret of SOS Classroom is that anyone can access the tagged resources by checking either the Diigo or Delicious tagged pages for “sosclassroom.” In fact, what we’re really promoting is NOT a website full of resources, but a tagging practice with an eye toward sharing resources in a way that benefits teachers and students.

Imagine if resources neatly tagged with grade level and content.

Of course, they wouldn’t all be perfect resources, but the tag would serve to put them into the stream. Once there, any user could filter results based on their personal needs, popularity of the site, or some other system.

The students are testing the site at a K-5 summer camp run through Champions. So far, the campers seem quite pleased with the resources. They plan to tell their parents about them. Here are educational resources that kids want to go home and tell their parents about. One student wrote on his or her evaluation form (I heart sosclassroom). More than the buzzword of crowdsourcing, such a project of tagging resources according to educational resources could even go viral.



1 Response to “SOS Classroom: Crowdsourcing Education”

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