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Curriculum Mapping EDIT 6320 – Fall 2004 Donna Ahlrich As we have all found out the term “curriculum mapping” was at first hard to define. And we found out that the documentation from our schools, under that title, was not what we were looking for. As I visited the various sites (the typical Galileo, ERIC and Google), obviously Dr. Jacob’s name and research came up as benefits the “guru”. But I felt like I was in a circle with each article basically referencing the same sources. There were the buzz words of collaboration, communication (I loved the vertical and lateral analogies, I had never thought in those terms in regards to my children’s teachers before), assessment methods and standards. Then I found the reference/article that made it “real” to me. In Notes & Reflections (North Central Regional Educational Laboratory) there was an article titled: “Curriculum Mapping: A Process for Continuous Quality Improvement”. Their quote read “curriculum maps facilitate a process of critical inquiry for continuous improvement” (NCREL 2003). To me, curriculum mapping is a way of applying a continuous quality improvement plan to the teaching cycle by comparing the realtime (what has been taught) to the expected (lesson plans based on standards) by a measuring tool (assessment) and then continually updating and improving the overall process. [A bit of background here – I come from a corporate background where I spent a number of years on QIP (Quality Improvement Program) and striving for the Deming Award. So this article made sense to me and I finally felt at “home”] The parameters of different theories vary a bit, whether it is in seven stages using the calendar year (HHJ – Rubicon) or by arrangement of major units or themes. It can be done on paper, white boards, databases or combinations of these. Though there is an agreement that an electronic program is the best in the long run, one such program is Atlas, a Web-based application based on the seven phases outlined in Dr. Jacob’s book. (Rubicon). I especially like the field for “reference materials used” which lends itself to technology collaboration. There are also differences as to how long to stay at each stage, especially the first stage of curriculum development as seen in the state mandated pilot in Arkansas (Mills). Now on to the questions…. How would a curriculum map impact what I know about my school? A curriculum map for my school (I am using the school that I did the Baule Reflection on) would be a real eye opener for me. As a parent, outside looking in, I had always made certain assumptions. The first was that everyone taught to the standards (or why else were the AKS there? and why were there always references to the AKS met by a certain unit?). Secondly, where that might be variations on methods, ie. lectures vs. book reports, the material was consistent through the grade level. And third, that there was communication and collaboration between my teachers, whether vertical, lateral, or sideways. Apparently these things don’t always hold true, or I have been extremely fortunate in my teachers and/or schools, or else a very pretty picture is painted/presented to the “outside”. In a less polly-annish mode I do realize that issues do exist. I think that a curriculum map would be an excellent idea for my school. Once the initial development was over, choosing the units, doing the brainstorming, training on the on-line database, the benefits would be enormous. I like the idea of collaboration between grades, especially in some of the science and social studies units. That way a unit on electricity could be introduced and revisited as needed, each time building on past lessons. As collaboration laterally I see that more in the middle schools where there is team teaching (at least in my cluster). The collaboration at my elementary school would probably be in the form of shared resources. From the standards (AKS) point of view, it would be enlightening to see how in depth certain AKS are taught, and if perhaps those were the units that might show up as deficient in the testing. One of the benefits of curriculum mapping has been the idea that it would catch the overlaps and gaps. I think that would benefit everyone, not just in what is “missing” but where resources could be better utilized. Also recognizing what is “missed” leads to improved teaching and learning methods. The few drawbacks to Curriculum Mapping would be the initial stage, making sure the follow up and commitment is there, and the ease of entry in the data-base. How could a curriculum map influence either the role of the media specialist or the role of the technology coordinator? The influence of a curriculum map on the media specialist or technology coordinator is up to that particular individual. One of the reflections, I believe it was Anjas’, mentioned self-promotion. That is it in a nutshell. These roles are viewed as support staff in the majority of schools. It would be up to that individual to take a leading role in the process. She/he would need to either be the lead person or at the very least on the planning committee. She/he should house the map in the media center, if just to have it in a central location (all the better to imply ownership). In the discussions and training, the role of the media specialist and how they can help/assist would need to be emphasized. Whether this be verbally, written, and/or in fields in the database. The media specialist would then need to follow up on the units (those with the potential for technological integration), and approach the teachers with ideas. I especially liked one of the ideas for a centralized resource page (what a great asset) – however, there would need to be the commitment to maintaining it. The media specialist is in the perfect position to have the holistic overall view of the school. She/he fits the role of a planner, can recognize the gaps (and where technical integration is already taking place), and has the insight to anticipate the needs of the school and it’s staff. Since she/he also controls the media resource budget, the media specialist has the wherewithal to meet those needs whether threw purchases or intra-library loans. To mis-quote an armed forces commercial, the curriculum plan gives the media specialist the chance “to be all that you can be” – if they just step forward. How should a curriculum map influence the technology plan and technology planning for my school? The curriculum map should have a great influence on the technology plan for a number of reasons. First, it is technology and therefore will need training, a data-base, and continual support. Secondly, within that framework there is the budget for materials and personnel for that support. And thirdly, and the most important, is that the curriculum map should show either those gaps in technology or where there has been an unperceived need for technology. The technology plan then could plan for those items needed. It also would provide an assessment of the utilization of some of the existing technology. Sometimes the schools remind me of children at Christmas wanting the latest “in” toy. The curriculum map would show whether the “latest and greatest” whatever actually lived up to it’s sales pitch. In conclusion, the idea of curriculum mapping is a good one, and should greatly affect the role of the media specialist and technology coordinator, while then impacting the technology plan. The only caveat is that there needs to be a full commitment to the idea due to the extra workload put on the staff. Resources: Clough, Dick B. "Curriculum Mapping and Instructional Supervision." NASSP Bulletin 80 (1996). p79-82 Retrieved 04 Sep 2004. ERIC number EJ532293 from http://web8.epnet.com/citation/asp? Curriculum mapping. Rubicon Atlas, Retrieved Sep 04, 2004, from http://www.rubiconatlas.com/mapping.htm Curriculum mapping: a process for continuous quality improvement. Notes & Reflections (North Central Regional Educational Laboratory), Issue 4, Spring 2003. Retrieved Sep 04, 2004, from http://www.ncrel.org/info/notes/spring03/index.html Dr. Heidi Hayes Jacobs - Mapping the Big Picture. Rubicon Atlas, Retrieved Sep 04, 2004, from http://www.rubiconatlas.com/hhj.htm English, F. (1984). Curriculum mapping and management. retrieved Sep 04, 2004, ERIC number ED251972 from EBSCO Host Research Databases Web site: http://web8.epnet.com/citation.asp? Hayes Jacob, H. (2000, June 08). Interview with Dr. Heidi Hayes Jacob, June 8, 2000. Retrieved Sep 04, 2004 http://disney.go.com/disneylearning/teachercenter/community/events/jacobsar chive.html Hughes-Hassell, Sandra, ed. The Information-Powered School. Chicago: American Library Association, 2001. Mills, M. S. (2001). Ensuring the viability of curriculum mapping in a school improvement plan. ERIC number ED460141 retrieved Sep 04, 2004, from EBSCO Host Research Databases Web site: http://web8.epnet.com/citation.asp?
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