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Authoring Student Success: The Power and the Peril of Customized Curricula for K-12 Schools.

by XanEdu | Aug 10, 2020 | K-12, News

ANN ARBOR, MI (August 10, 2020) — XanEdu, a pioneer in open source and custom publishing for K-12 schools, today released a new report which explores the benefits, and practical challenges of customized curricula, as a growing number of districts work to curate more customized content solutions for students returning to schools with widening learning needs. Titled “Authoring Student Success: How K-12 Educators Navigate Copyright Law to Create Custom Curriculum,” the report spotlights work by districts and educators across the country with the goal of providing actionable insights for school and district leaders.

“Custom curricula have a unique ability to support engaging learning experiences that are tailored to students’ unique needs. But districts, states, and individual educators are struggling to navigate the guideposts of copyright and other requirements that govern the use of published materials,” said Brett Costello, COO at XanEdu. “This paper was developed to help close the knowledge gap and provide a resource that the K-12 community can draw upon when considering their curriculum design and strategy.”

To help educators and district and state-level leaders explore custom curriculum creation, the report includes best practices for developing custom learning content that provides students with engaging, personalized learning experiences while also complying with state curriculum guidelines and copyright laws. Drawing upon interviews with district and association thought leaders, the report covers the following topics: 

  • The Case for Customization: Customization provides districts with increased control of the content, quality and costs of instructional materials, as well as additional relevancy and flexibility in lesson planning.
  • Challenges of Customization: Districts already have a variety of content available to them from traditional textbook content to blogs that can be incorporated into a custom curriculum. However, not all of these resources align with state standards and many are copyrighted, making proper usage potentially complicated and challenging.
  • The OER Conundrum: Open Educational Resources are a growing component of states and districts’ digital content strategy and are commonly viewed as “safe” from copyright issues. However, some OER providers haven’t secured the proper permissions themselves for use of third party content in their lessons, leaving districts open to liability.

To provide real-world examples of the highlighted benefits and potential challenges, the report also includes case studies showing how District of Columbia Public Schools and the Louisiana Department of Education successfully used custom and OER curriculum to provide students and educators with engaging, relevant learning materials. With quotes from school leaders, the case studies provide an opportunity for readers to hear directly from their peers.

The white paper is publicly available at no cost and can be found here.


About XanEdu: XanEdu has been a leader in the development of innovative solutions for creating, delivering, and customizing course materials and training materials since 1999. Over 1,200 education institutions per year work with XanEdu to help educators and learners save money, improve efficiency, collaborate, engage more with content, and improve learning outcomes. More than 1 million students per year access XanEdu course materials on iPad and Android tablets, via a cloud-based reader, and in print. XanEdu is a privately held company headquartered in Ann Arbor, MI.

Media Contact: Chris Posa, cposa@xanedu.com