The exercise in analyzing the three curriculum mapping software programs was an excellent backwards method of getting the class to discuss the role of curriculum mapping. By comparing the three programs we discussed scope and sequence, EARL’s and state standards, assessments and software design.
Our group established a template to evaluate the three program websites of these programs. This was beneficial in evaluating web design, but proved less efficient in truly assessing the programs, as the day to day functions of each program definitely required access to a demonstration program. One day we did get access to these programs, and this did affect the analysis of the programs. Furthermore, we had a live video conference with a representative of one of the programs, which did put that program in a favorable light, although it did turn out that this program ended up in 2nd place in our analysis.
I have one lagging question. The costs of the programs are difficult to ascertain. With that in mind, it would seem to me that a savvy tech person, using basic office software, could probably design adequate mapping tools without a lot of the bells and whistles. In cash strapped school districts, this could possibly be a wise way out. In addition, two of the programs did not include student assessment tools with the software. Results are important to knowing the efficacy of any curriculum. Thinking backwards, it may be a thought that some of the major school management systems, such as Skyward, could design a curriculum/calendar template and add this to their system.
In summary, the activity was enlightening. While it would be advantageous to purchase such software for having the benefit of being in an extended learning community, I am not sure it is worth the cost, given that we don’t know the cost. It could very well be that one could format a basic in house tool and customize it to fit one’s needs. The “wow” factor is not there for me.