A photograph of the Epic Charter Schools team

How Epic Charter Schools are building their own curriculum with Genially

Epic Charter Schools is an education provider in Oklahoma delivering blended learning to over 23,000 students from Pre-K through to 10th Grade. Discover how Epic’s Curriculum Design Team use Genially to create engaging materials that allow students to study remotely, without setting foot inside a classroom.

EPIC’s team of genius Curriculum Designers:

“We design all the lessons, activities, rubrics, assessments and videos that students see every day.”

Asynchronous learning 

Epic is a little different from a standard school. Students study from home at their own pace, and receive 1:1 support and guidance from a State-certified teacher. This education model requires thoughtfully designed and high-quality instructional materials – enter Epic’s dedicated Curriculum Design Team. 

 

“Students use our curriculum asynchronously and then teachers are required to meet with their students once a week,” explains Heather, Instructional Designer for English Language Arts. She first discovered Genially when she was looking for a way for students to play an escape room game digitally.

 

“We were building our curriculum and wanted it to be more interactive and gamified. In Genially I can create an escape room where they're using a magnifying glass and looking over things and it's just, so much more immersive than when students are just clicking next, next, next.”

Heather Anderson, from Epic Charter Schools

I remember creating that initial escape room and just being awed at the fact that when students hover their mouse a little box pops up… I could never have done that with a Google Slide.

Epic Charter Schools Logo

Heather Anderson

Instructional Designer

1,125 Teachers 

23,000 Students

Oklahoma, US

Encouraging active reflection

Prior to using Genially, the team relied largely on static documents like Google Slides and Canva. “It really makes a difference between reading a chapter from a book, a textbook, or an article, and making the content come alive with Genially through, say, an interactive image where students are actively clicking around,” says Heather.

 

She uses interactive questions to encourage students to reflect on what they’ve learned. “I have to make sure that students are critically thinking about the text they read, the videos they watch. So having that ability to ask an open ended question and then have students type it in, I think that's really game changing to kind of check in with students and have them reflect on the learning activity.”

“It's really the difference between passive and active learning”

As well as learning materials, the team also uses Genially to make the virtual classroom set-up more engaging. “We've been able to add gamification to our lesson landing pages so the students aren't just like reading it on a screen. They're actually interacting – Do I know this material already? And they’re doing some reflection pieces with what they know.”

Fostering engagement

Blended learning requires resources that teachers can easily adapt and personalize for one-to-one remediation and enrichment sessions. Many of the Instructional Designers on the Curriculum Design team are qualified educators themselves. They understand the difficulties of keeping students engaged, especially outside of the traditional classroom setting.

 

“We have to make sure that the content and the curriculum is rich and deep and it has awesome interactivity and Genially hits those boxes for us,” says team lead Aubrey.

 

Heather describes sharing an escape game with other staff. “The response from teachers was like, Whoa, this is amazing. I can't wait to use this with my students. Teachers are so excited. For the idea of, okay, my student isn't just going to be bored sitting in their seat, passively just reading material and answering multiple choice questions.”

Aubrey Owen, from Epic Charter Schools

We want students to be engaged in learning and remember it not only an hour later, but maybe months or years later.

Epic Charter Schools Logo

Aubrey Owen

Curriculum Design Team Lead

Epic Charter Schools' Brand kit

Epic Ed: a custom-built curriculum

Designing unique and memorable materials is part of a project to construct a branded curriculum: Epic Ed. The team started out curating resources but have steadily moved to a place “where we own 100 percent of the content,” explains Aubrey.

 

“This past year we really have created the majority of our resources and so being able to use Genially we were able to customize exactly what we want the students to see, to embed our videos, but also add that epic branding.”

“Being able to add our branding is just next level”

“We're calling this Epic Ed 2.0” says Aubrey. By using Genially and other tools to create innovative resources, she’s confident that this upcoming iteration of the curriculum will be “the most robust, beautiful curriculum, in my opinion, ever!”

 

Epic Ed spans pre-Kindergarten through to 10th Grade, so the team need to make sure that resources are consistent and grade-appropriate. To do this, they’ve created a bank of pre-branded team templates that can quickly be customized for any age group or subject. “Pre-K through second looks different, but has the same quality of resources on their lesson landing pages as compared to a high school course.”

Interactive Images

The Epic Ed team are fans of interactive images because they can share lots of information in one single resource. “I feel like we lose students whenever they have to click next, next, but if we can put all the information on one visual we can have them click around and explore the space.”

 

Heather points out that interactive images are great for multimodal student projects. In ELA, she often asks students to create interactive images or infographics based on a scene from a book or play.

 

The EPIC team created this genially to bring Shakespeare’s world to life and help students visualize the relationships between characters.

Embeds: Keeping students inside the LMS

A common challenge in e-learning is keeping students in one location, and preventing them from getting distracted on the internet. Being able to embed geniallys directly on the school’s LMS platform, Agilix Buzz, has helped the team to develop what Aubrey calls “one-stop shop” resources.

 

“One of the perks with embedding is students actually stay in the LMS platform. They're not going to all these different websites, then coming back to then fill out the questions … We've been able to keep them in one location, so we don't lose them in all the different areas that we ask them to go to.”

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The Epic team’s favorite features

Embed Video

The team insert Microsoft Flip videos directly in Genially.

SCORM & LMS compatibility

SCORM packages give teachers an overview of progress in the LMS.

Tooltips 

Hover-over labels provide students with contextual information.

Survey & Quiz Questions

Questions foster critical thinking and encourage students to reflect on the material.

Drag and drop

Drag-and-drop activities make materials dynamic, hands-on and engaging.

Windows

Pop-up windows deliver lots of learning content in a one-stop resource.

Building creative and unique resources

The Epic team combine EdTech tools in ingenious ways. Heather embedded Flip videos in Genially to create this incredible escape room with AI-generated graphics from D-ID, Heygen, and Midjourney. 

 

Students watch interviews with an uncannily realistic Shakespeare and find hidden artifacts to complete the challenge.

“I'm loving how versatile Genially is that I can bring in these AI tools and utilize them in interactive ways”

“The ability to create anything and everything that you want … it’s worked beautifully for our team”

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