Curriculum Mapping

August 7, 2008

         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.


TAL First Attempt

July 29, 2008


Elements of Modern Curriculum

July 4, 2008

My educational philosophy is based on my experience in several educational settings and several countries. Curriculum should be a dialectic between the subject matter and the learner.  There is long lasting content, but how each generation and each learner interacts and adds to the content is the ultimate challenge of education.

I believe there is a division in education between brain functions and content.  To use an information age analogy, there is hardware-the way our brain thinks, and software–what it thinks about.  Two of the most prominent human processing systems are language and mathematics.  Others may exist as well, such a artistic representation.  The systems could correspond with Jungian archtypes.  It is essential to fully develop these modes of reality interpretation at an early age.  I think this somewhat corresponds to the perennialist philosophy.  I support deep and profound study of languages and mathematics at a very early age.

As students progress through late grade school and into middle school, my view becomes more essentialist This world view believes that there are basic subjects that should be learned thoroughly and rigorously.  As students mature and reach middle school and high school age, it is important to connect them with what is truly human and the big existential questions that have engaged people for ages.  I believe that all kids can learn these challenging ideas, but not all in the same way.  It is, however, important that adults stand up for the world and present it to students.  As the philosopher Hannah Arendt wrote;  “…the educators here stand in relation to the young as representatives to the world for which they must assume resposibility, although they themselves did not make it, and even though  they may, secretly or openly, wish it were other than it is.” (Between Past and Future)  The curriculum in middle school should be heavy on core subjects, and include lots of literature, science, foreign language, mathematics, history, and the arts.

As students mature and progress into later high school and university, they become more and more interested and capable of engaging the world.  Here my philosophical beliefs are based on two great teachers: 1) Socrates, “know thyself” and 2) Jesus of Nazareth, “Love they neighbor”. At this stage, curriculum should become at the same time, more individualized: students learning more about themselves, and more community oriented:  they need to engage in the community.  I think subjects as diverse as philosophy and economics need to be part of the later high school curriculum.  One of the strong elements of many American high schools is the emphasis on community service.  The ultimate goal of education is creating a better common world for all people.  The end goal is essentially political, that is, creating people who are aware of what it means to be human and then being courageous enough to go into the world and change it

It is ultimately radical.

Hello world!

July 4, 2008

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