When someone is first introduced to StarrMatica, we always begin by sharing that StarrMatica is a library of content, not a program or a curriculum. This is a very important distinction, and one that we have found is foreign to many educators for a myriad of reasons. Just like our students, we use our prior knowledge to categorize new things, so educators immediately try to compare StarrMatica to what they already know. Being the first and only library of content in the marketplace creates a unique challenge because they haven’t seen anything like StarrMatica before. So in trying to make connections, educators immediately start asking questions that compare us to a publisher-based curriculum or an individualized software program. Neither of which StarrMatica was designed to be. (One of the reasons for this is explained here: http://blog.starrmatica.com/common-question-3-does-starrmatica-automatically-choose-content-for-students/) So to help educators connect StarrMatica to prior experiences, we describe it as being just like a library of books. Educators pick and choose particular pieces of content, just like they choose particular books off a library shelf according to the needs of their lesson and the needs of specific students.
And therein lies the difference between StarrMatica and a “program” or a “curriculum.” StarrMatica is designed as a teacher directed resource. Because as teachers, we know that:
No curriculum or program is complete.
Every classroom lesson is different.
Every student is different.
And teachers know their students best.
It is often a great challenge to help educators move beyond the one-size-fits-all program or curriculum comparison into an outside-of-the-box notion that digital content can be used as an effective tool by knowledgable educators to customize their lessons for specific purposes. Once that connection is made and the difference is clear, it is easy for educators to see the great value of StarrMatica as a library of content that can be used easily, efficiently, and effectively supplement their chosen curriculum.