Curio Learning Founder, Ashley Lamb Sinclair, Creates Collaborative Pinterest For Educators
The Washington Post’s Answer Sheet educational section ran an amazing guest piece on Sunday from Ashley Lamb Sinclair. Lamb-Sinclair teaches high school English and creative writing, oh and she’s a budding entrepreneur.
Many say that teachers are life long learners and principal’s are the lead learners. For some it’s just a line, but for folks like Lamb-Sinclair it’s the way they live. The founder of Curio Learning has spent her entire life, not just her young life or her professional life, her entire life, inside a classroom. First she was the student and now she’s the teacher.
Like many good teachers, Lamb-Sinclair is starving for more education for herself but as most educators know, that comes in the form of professional development and let’s face it 90% of most PD just sucks. So she took it upon herself to launch her own startup, and in the process, soak up as much professional knowledge as possible.
Curio Learning is a pinterest of sorts specifically for educators. Teachers create their own authentic classroom experiences and then share them with the Curio Learning community. As more and more teachers sign up for the platform, more and more ideas will be shared. Teachers can then make stacks of ideas they want to make their own.
Teachers can create “stacks” around ideas and strategies that make sense to them. Or they can create stacks around ideas they may want to use in the classroom.
For Lamb-Sinclair, her entire experience with Curio Learning is one of those innovative ideas in itself. She knew when she launched the new company that it would take away some of her classroom time. But she also knew she could turn that into a learning experience for her students.
In order to build my business, I am losing time from my own classroom. I stood in front of a room full of parents during open house and watched their faces contort into expressions of near panic when I told them the amount of time I would likely miss in order to do this work.
But then I saw some of their expressions shift again when I explained to them how my work had already enhanced their children’s learning. I told them that the day I had to miss school so my co-founder and I could pitch our startup, I slyly recorded our presentation with my phone in my pocket. As an English teacher, I teach students how to argue, to persuade, and how to present ideas in appealing ways to a target audience.” She said in her Washington Post guest piece.
This is all fueled by how much learning and education has changed over the years. Long gone are the days that students got o school, then to auto mechanic class or nursing class and go out in the real world. Students want to become entrepreneurs as early as 4th grade, but how in the world can a 4th grade teacher, who’s never seen outside of the classroom really teach entrepreneurship.
Lamb-Sinclair is showing it’s possible.
Teaching has never been a 9-5 or 9-3:30 job. There’s a lot more to teaching than just class time. But with technology and things like social media, the line between work time and non-work time is quite blurry. Maybe mom is friends with your 9th grade science teacher on Facebook. Now you know that your teacher spent the weekend at an Orioles game or out on the bay riding in a boat. Maybe she went horseback riding. Teachers are able to take more authentic personal experiences and turn them into lessons.
I heard a story at ISTE about a fourth grade teacher who was out on a boat over the weekend and ended up falling out of the back of the boat. Her husband had video taped the whole thing for Facebook and Monday, after all of her students made sure she was ok, she turned it into an assignment.
The reason I bring this up is because Lamb-Sinclair’s piece in the Washington Post is about using an authentic experience and projecting that authenticity to her high school students. It makes the whole educational process seem more real.
The reality about the creation of Curio Learning was that no one is doing professional development quite right, so teachers need to co-learn together in order to collaborate, share and become better teachers.