ERIC Number: EJ762486
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Online Collaboration: Curriculum Unbound!
Waters, John K.
T.H.E. Journal, v34 n3 p40-48 Mar 2007
Freed from the nuisances of paper-based methods, districts are making creative use of digital tools to move their curricular documents online, where educators can collaborate on course development and lesson planning. Back in 2003, Amarillo Independent School District (Texas) had begun using the Blackboard Content System to provide lessons online. Blackboard, the popular internet-based file-sharing network, is designed to deliver online courses, store content, and host discussion boards. Dirk Funk, the district's instructional technology facilitator, found that, with a little tweaking, the system could be used as a collaboration tool for curriculum development. Among the district's more innovative tweaks to the Blackboard system is the addition of a set of add-ons from Learning Objects, maker of social learning applications, which supports the use of wikis. Documents published on a wiki are subject to what is known as open editing--anyone with a web browser can modify them. The set of add-ons, called Campus Pack that Amarillo has employed, uses wiki technology to provide tools for collaboratively creating and editing rich-media websites. Enhanced collaboration capabilities--particularly the sharing of lesson plans--were also at the heart of a culture-changing simultaneous rollout of a new curriculum and a new lesson-planning approach at the Acadia Parish School District. Acadia's OnCourse Lesson Planner, a webbased lesson-planning application from a New Jersey startup called OnCourse Systems for Education, automates much of the lesson-planning process with online templates. It is also designed to allow teachers to copy and paste lessons from week to week, or year to year, and to share them throughout a school or across a district. Teachers, principals, and other administrators can review and react to these plans online. John Bourque, Acadia's superintendent, was struck by this capability and its potential to facilitate collaboration among faculty members.
Descriptors: Teaching Methods, Curriculum Development, School Districts, Online Courses, Educational Technology, Teacher Collaboration, Cooperative Planning, Web Based Instruction, Online Searching
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Texas