Review by Melissa Powers, Common Sense Education | Updated May 2018

Curriculum Pathways

Supplement core subjects with lessons and online tools

Subjects & skills
Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Math
  • Science
  • Social Studies

Skills
N/A
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
K–12
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Pros: Certain resources like Writing Navigator and Explore! Primary Sources are strong tools with wide appeal.

Cons: Variety in formatting, device compatibility, and progress-saving options create an inconsistent experience.

Bottom Line: Curriculum Pathways offers a lot of content, but hit-or-miss resources keep it from reaching its full potential.

Teachers can use Curriculum Pathways in so many different ways. Some teachers may not use the curriculum content but benefit from workflow apps like Flash Cards and Gloss (PDF annotation). Others may use the supplemental games like Punctuation Rules and Math Stretch, or virtual science lab interactives to set up learning stations. Social studies teachers should take note of the primary source database. Each primary source is shown in its original form (image), transcribed and accompanied by an audio recording read by an actor. Every item is also supported by a short historical context article and several thought-provoking questions.

Writing Navigator is probably the most popular resource on the site. Designed for grades 6-12, this suite of tools walks students through every step of the writing process, from creating a plan to citing sources. ELA teachers could build a course around this resource, but non-ELA teachers may benefit most. Science and social studies teachers can use Writing Navigator to assign research papers and focus their energy on research and content, letting Writing Navigator support the composition and editing process.

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Curriculum Pathways is a collection of more than 1,700 lessons, interactive tools, data sets, and apps. The content is standards-aligned and designed to supplement curriculum in five core subjects: math, English language arts, science, social studies, and Spanish. A wide range of resources includes Writing Navigator, which guides students through the four-step writing process; Explore! Primary Sources, a large collection of historical documents with contextual info; Data Depot, where students analyze real-world data; about 20 virtual science labs, and many more. Most tools are accessible via the web, iPad app, and Chrome app. All of the resources are completely free, but teachers and students must have accounts to access the content. Students can sign up with email, with Google or Microsoft accounts, or by using a unique link and student code. Curriculum Pathways also includes nine online asynchronous professional development courses to help teachers make the most of the resources.

At first glance, Curriculum Pathways contains an overwhelming amount and variety of resources. Some resources have their own websites, like Writing Navigator, or can be accessed as mobile apps (so you may be using Curriculum Pathways already and not even know it). Curriculum Pathways is a philanthropic project of global software company SAS Institute Inc. From lessons to apps to interactives, Curriculum Pathways feels like a hodgepodge of lesson materials without a cohesive purpose. Most lessons and resources are well made, though lacking pizazz. You may find some real gems, but most teachers will file Curriculum Pathways under supplemental tools, not go-to curriculum support. Unfortunately, many of the lessons and simulations are text-heavy and may not be a good fit for all learners. Also, some of the older simulations rely on Adobe Flash Player, which many classroom devices don't support.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Well-crafted lessons will help students learn and stay on task, but resources lack highly engaging elements like collaborative/social tools, videos, and interactive images.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Solid curriculum resources help students think critically, though some require more teacher guidance than others.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Despite excellent teacher support, help isn't easily accessible to students, who may be further hampered by text-heavy content and cumbersome file management.


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