All tag results for ‘curriculum design’

Instructing the Curriculum? Or a Curriculum for Better Instruction?

March 26th, 2007

Evaluation and Assessment of Curriculum

This week, as I write this, I am also in the midst of finding a new job. My past few days have been filled with composing cover letters, browsing online job sites, sending emails out to my network of colleagues, and refining my CV—my curriculum vitae. “The course of life.” When looked at from that perspective, the term curriculum is certainly a weighty one; however, despite the import of the term, clarity about what constitutes a curriculum is still unclear for many people. Definitions become even hazier when restricted to academics and used alongside terms like instruction. The education field, like any other, has its share of jargon; curriculum and instruction are two of these. These two related terms are essential to the education field and deserve to be considered more closely.

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Eliminating the Fear of the Test: Reflections on Assessments

March 26th, 2007

Evaluation and Assessment of Curriculum

Abstract

Our world is full of assessments. This seems especially true to those in the education field who conduct assessments ranging from self-designed assessments for classroom use, to nationally designed assessments to compare students from different states or districts. So caught up are we in the act of either administering or taking an assessment, that we rarely stop to ask questions like, “Why are we conducting this assessment?”, “What will be the added value of conducting this assessment?”, and “Are the assessments we use being used appropriately?” The following questions are addressed in the following first-person narrative account based on some of my experiences with assessments. In the process, I also highlight two experiences with traditional assessments which had drastically different impacts on my perception of assessments.
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Personalization and Standards-Based Assessments

February 1st, 2007

Standards-Based Curriculum and Instruction

Educational standards have the potential to revolutionize access to high-quality education for everyone. Standards can help parents, teachers, students, and administrators cope with the demands of our increasingly mobile environment. They can aid in providing more efficient training for teachers, allowing governments to train more teachers, and to ensure that teachers are more effective in the classroom. Standards can serve as rulers with which students can measure their own progress, and they can help parents discover new ways in which learning can be a welcome addition to the household. Yet, despite its potential, education that is too standards oriented is often highly criticized, a common complaint being the cold and rigid assessments that often go along with standards-based education.

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“Common Language” Standards: Paraphrasing Standards and Objectives into Everyday Language

January 12th, 2007

Standards-Based Curriculum and Instruction

In the education world, there is a slight but significant contradiction in the implementation of standards: one purpose of standards is to serve as a guide to ensure that everyone receives a comparable education—but the standards are not easily understood by all stakeholders. Perhaps most importantly, it is highly unlikely that a student given a copy of the standards for a given subject area would be able to decipher anything about what is expected of them. As there is a movement in contemporary education to adopt a practice of stating objectives clearly for students prior to a lesson this paper is an exercise in paraphrasing the third-grade writing standards for the State of California into everyday language that would be more easily understood by third-grade students. While it may be arguable that even the following can be overwhelming for third-grade students, one expected result of paraphrasing the standards in more accessible language is that students will be able to discuss the expectations more easily. The text for the original standards can be found in the appendix.

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Facilitating Communication by Using Standards

January 9th, 2007

Standards-Based Curriculum and Instruction

Communication is extremely important, especially for a busy teacher. Teachers must communicate on many levels with different stakeholders. For example, communication with administrators and colleagues are likely to look critically at the overall operations of the integrated scholastic environment including curriculum decisions or sharing procedural ideas. Communication with students may often focus on the level of comprehension of the materials. This is not only in the delivery of the instruction, but also in the non-verbal communication that can offer feedback about the direction a course is going. Parents are another group with whom teachers are likely to have regular contact. In some ways, parents are the most challenging group to have effective communication with—teachers may find that parents have inadequate information about curriculum and instruction, making it difficult to verbalize performance standards. In an era when educational reforms are taking place, “clarity” for parents may be even more confusing, but if used properly, standards can be used to help reinforce communication with parents.

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Wiki Content Management for Efficient Document Creation: Part 3

October 2nd, 2006

Instructional Design

This is the last in a series of three papers written for my instructional design class. Unlike the previous two, which focused on a needs assessment and on how I would plan to conduct my evaluations, this post is basically an outline of what I would want my (extremely crammed) one-hour of instruction to look like. For this I made some assumptions about the audience (see intro paragraph and the two other posts) to help with the time requirements—but the workshop times can probably safely be simply doubled to be able to have enough time to cover everything…. While this is certainly based on my current workplace, there are several reasons that I don’t think it would work, but I certainly can see the advantages to trying to make it work!

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Wiki Content Management for Efficient Document Creation: Part 2

September 25th, 2006

Instructional Design

This one-hour workshop will take place at the upcoming staff meeting. These meetings typically span two full working days during which staff members share progress on their research projects and also receive project-related feedback from other staff members. The total desired attendance would be all 47 potential participants; however, since a considerable number of the learners are abroad, the in-person attendance is expected to be 30 participants. All learners are equipped with an internet-connected laptop. Prior to the workshop, password-protected user accounts will have been created for all learners and the MediaWiki software will have been installed and tested on the research institute’s webserver. The conference room used for these staff meetings is equipped with a projector and a screen.

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Wiki Content Management for Efficient Document Creation: Part 1

September 18th, 2006

Instructional Design

At a certain research institute, many of the employees collaborate on documents intended for publication. Documents range from short (1,000 to 2,000 words) articles for website or newsletter publication, to longer (20 to 80 pages) reports and working papers. The authorship and editing process is sometimes shared by up to four people. The problem is that these groups of authors working on papers together often have a difficult time managing version revisions of their co-authored papers. Often, the authors are uncertain about which version is the most recent version of the paper.

Most of the learners in this setting are in their mid- to late-twenties. Most of them live and work in different parts of India, but some of them are visiting PhD students or project interns who also spend part of their time abroad at their primary university. In all, there are 47 learners, including the local researchers, the visiting PhD students, and project interns.

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(Extra)-Curricular Concerns: Bilingual Education and Out-of-School Time Programs in Curriculum Design

July 20th, 2006

Foundations of Curriculum and Instruction

Knowledge advances each day. With the passing of time, among the many changes we can observe are new scientific discoveries, people migrating to different parts of the world, and information being easily disseminated using technology. Indeed, the world today would probably seem very surreal or fictional to people living generations ago. For starters, the cliché that the world has shrunk definitely has a lot of truth today. During one of my previous classes, I traversed the Pacific Ocean twice within four weeks and was still able to complete my assignments by making posts from internet “hot-spots” in Thailand and Singapore on my layovers between my flights and by writing papers on my laptop while flying. Just as I write this paragraph, I am sitting at a coffee shop in south India and I have just gotten off a voice over internet phone call to my mother in California which has cost me absolutely nothing. I am composing responses to my classmates who are scattered globally in locations such as the United States, Germany, and Japan as if we were just sitting in a classroom together.

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The Potential Negative Effects of a Hidden Curriculum

July 10th, 2006

Foundations of Curriculum and Instruction

“Mom! I’m home.”
“Hi Dear! How was school today? What did you learn?”
“Well… I learned about the Vikings… and I learned how to add fractions… and I learned that it is disrespectful to talk to Johnny while the teacher is giving us a lesson.”

Admittedly, the above dialog is not entirely likely, but it illustrates what a child might say if he or she were aware of what is referred to as the hidden curriculum in education. Few of us will argue that all that we learned at school was contained in the subject matter we were taught. If we were to carefully look back upon our scholastic experience, we would realize that the experience was one that was full of socialization. We learned what an appropriate response to an insult would be; we learned that we should address adults with respect; we learned that it is proper to queue for things instead of shoving our way to the front of the line. Indeed you could say that we were not just taught our right from left, but also our right from wrong. That is exactly where the hidden curriculum becomes tricky. Should moral education be a part of a school’s curriculum, or is this something that should be left to the socialization a child gets at home?

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