Blog – Curriculum Planning and Implementation #EDUC5302g

Week 7:  Revisiting my Definitions of Curriculum and my curriculum unit plan

Since some asked. Here is a copy of my Curriculum Plan from Atlas Rubicon curriculum mapping software.
Anthony 10052468 CUD Atlas_Developing_Computational_Thinking_STEM_initiative.pdf

Here’s the accompanying screencast. Thanks to everyone for conversations,  ideas and laughs as I am a better educator and curriculum developer because of contact with everyone in the course.

Posted by Anthony Chuter at Thursday, June 18, 2015 9:51:00 PM
Coming into the this course, I thought I had a clear definition of curriculum in practical terms as an active educator. Using my experience with Atlas, I considered a good curricular document to include all the sections included in this document. Atlas Learning Plan.docx

However, the course has provided me a widened scope and road map for future scholarship and research. The different types of curriculum document has given me a new critical eye that I now apply to all curriculum documents. In specific, considering the hidden and null curriculum allows me to give voice to alternative perspectives in the classroom. Considering class, sex, race, sexual orientation, cultural groups, social or economic class among countless other “labels” is vital to deliver a balanced perspective in a course.When examine curriculum, I now consider what is NOT written as opposed to only what is on the page.

However, I think I do think that practitioners need to make choices (always tough ones!) in terms of viewpoint and content and should whenever possible use a voice or perspective (i.e. their own not forced) when working with students. Not only will this make educator work from a position of strength but will also encourage the best possible experience for learners. The most vital step is to acknowledge open the educator’s perspective, stress the presence of alternative perspectives and whenever possible invite other students to explore those perspectives. This exploration of perspective will help learners find and discover their own.


Week 6 – Crunch time

Posted by Anthony Chuter at Sunday, June 14, 2015 11:31:37 PM
This week proved to be a busy one with the winding up of the school year (last week next week), school trips (3 days and nights in Montreal), many report cards and a multiple assignments, blogs, screencasts, discussions posts, reading and planning for the final essay. etc. The biggest regret is having prioritize my time on the basis of whether things “counts” rather the intellectual exercise that I was hoping for at the beginning of this course. (The summer will be a nice time to “catch up” and revisit ideas and readings.) One of my particular goals for taking this programme was,whenever possible, to align assignments to support specific professional goals and objectives, This is no always easy but SO helpful as my professional work to not only reduce my workload but to aid my academic endeavors and vice versa.

One of my goals was to design a scope and sequence on coding and programming for students from K-12 for a Computer Science course but also to encourage programming or computational thinking in all areas of the curriculum. The Curriculum Unit Plan assignment a worked into this plan but after some scrutiny of the assignments and discussions I was encouraged to focus on a particular group (in my case Gr.4&5) which worked well. Next steps, would be to use this template for other ages and stages. That is why I am looking forward to hearing feedback.

The theorists from the course had a tremendous influence on my research and the development of my ideas particularly those who encouraged an individualized approach where lesson are learner-centered. The importance of restructuring activities to encourage (dialogue) critique teams, collaboration (ISTE), Also the place of Vygotsky’s Zone of proximal development (ZPD) was highly influential in my use of screen casts and variety of stimulus resources like poster, guides, supplemented by some whole class teaching when appropriate scould provide a good structure for creativity to thrive. This creativity if nurtured and celebrated in the class can be help student to self-actualize due to the tool aspect of this open ended software. When educators place less emphasis on content and rather than this this reflects individual and humanistic approach appropriate to the world of Scratch. Both Piaget and Papert would applaud this use of programming as a way children can build their world around them. Finally, a design journal emphasizes the importance of refection (Lafortune) in this process as learners.

Overall, Scratch has clearly influenced my practice and thinking and have been please to see the connections between my instinctual regard for this tool is support by the thinking and many theorists from the course. In fact, this year I encouraged programming as means of expression in other courses too. The Grade 5’s gave students the option to write a computer program in Scratch to demonstrate learning in Science. (A nice change from Power Point but I would say that!)
Choices:human body project-slide deck, bristol board, video, graphic organizer& Scratch program! #bvglearns #5thchat pic.twitter.com/w13JOAlenK

To learn more about Scratch, here is a video.

Scratch Overview from ScratchEd on Vimeo.


Week 5 – Exploring SAMR and TAM
Posted by Anthony Chuter at Saturday, June 6, 2015 11:05:42 PM
This week we explored the WBLO’s of teams on the specific curriculum theories. Both these theories, provided an excellent opportunity for critically examination. (Thanks to the well-presented research and summaries from the groups!) I looked at the TAM (Technology Acceptance Model) and Dr. Puentedura’s SAMR model for the use and integration of technology for learners. Both models are contrasting in their approach as they explore technology from completely different angles. TAM seems to focus on the technology and its usefulness (i.e. the tech itself) whereas the SAMR model explores the use of technology from the learner’s perspective (i.e. their learning experience with the technology)

In a critical examination of the TAM model, I wonder that its focus on “usefulness” seems quite undefined and vague. While a degree of vagueness is necessary to cover the diverse types of technology increasingly available to learning, the need for specificity is vital in curriculum planning and good practice in the classroom. Useful to whom? Purpose? Audience? Environment? Too much time spend learning a specific technology seems wasteful given its evolving nature (i.e 2.0..3.0….) Why spend time learning a specific type of technology when it quickly goes out of date? This type of thinking seems to support 20th model learning (good education=good job “so listen up kids” as articulated in Ken Robinson’s famous TED talk.) It seems to offer more questions than answers.

Perhaps the SAMR model offers more opportunities in the 21st century because of its “learner-first: perspective. In this model, each technology is rated based on potential act as a substitute or even slightly augment a current practice or aspect of the curriculum (i.e. writing on paper becomes writing on the computer.) The augmentation station might involve the use of spell check or easily accessible graphics for example. The higher two levels involve a modification of current practice with an eventually goal of re-defining the original experience to something greater. This theory encourages curriculum innovation and use of technology to help learners have experiences never before possible. However, this model, although inspiring, is not quite specific enough either, especially in the middle stages, (augmentation or modification – what’s the difference?) Today’s edtech blogs are full of explanations on moving activities as quickly as possible to the redefinition stage, mostly dismissing ideas written in Microsoft Word and inviting students to create iMovies. I can’t say I am convinced that an iMovie is not necessarily MORE rich a learning experience than a clear articulated prose or narrative in Word. The application or software is not enough despite the prevalence of handy models, graphics and diagrams posted on blog (including mine!) which nicely outline what app goes with what level of the SAMR model. Using the specific app in a learning experience, is not in itself enough, curriculum designers, innovators need to go further and Puentedura aknowledges this through expanding his theory with other models like TPCK and lots and lots of examples. (Puentedura, 2014 http://www.hippasus.com/rrpweblog/)

However, Puentedura’s SAMR model does encourage an innovative approach to curriculum which is a reasonably lofty goal for educators. Perhaps my apparently “redefined” iMovie could be “augmentmented” by a specific audience, purpose and intent that affects change (i.e. documentary highlighting a charitable reason or a promotional video for upcoming triathlon for kids.) In conclusion, both the TAM and SAMR model both aid thinking about learning, curriculum and change but true change agents need to go further with much greater detail to truly provide a redefinition experience for learners.

Here is a link to my post on SAMR (Ready for a slight update as indicated from above.) – https://ict4kids.ca/teaching-and-learning/technology-integration/puenteduras-samr-model/

Cash, Jim The SAMR model was not created to classify apps (blog) http://makelearn.org/2015/03/04/the-samr-model-was-not-created-to-classify-apps/


Week 4 – Exploring Theorists and Theories

Posted by Anthony Chuter at Saturday, May 30, 2015 12:06:43 AM
In this week’s class we explored all our theorists and most importantly considered overlaps, similarities and differences. This chart below outlines of discussions and the development of our ideas.

Some of our key findings include: the theorists tendency to champion oppressed and opposed minorities in many different and diverse communities, the opportunities of education to give them a voice through productive and honest dialogue. In addition, most theories studied which explore the disparity between the established majority or “establishment” continues to be true as 2015 as in the past. Newly revealed and previously oppressed groups in terms of race, class, sexual orientation and politics are feeling “shut out” of the consciousness of learners (and educators) through their absence in curricular documentation. Increasingly, the need for a diverse curriculum and education is vital to individualize, as opposed to standardize, education for today’s learners.

Some questions for further exploration include: What is the role of knowledge in a diverse and individualized curriculum? Or Should learners have input on the knowledge acquired in curriculum while educators and curriculum designers focus on skills? Or is there room for both?

One interested aspect of the class discussion was the debate over who (learners, educators, both) should decide on objectives for course and likewise with outcomes. From my perspective, individualized education is critically important and possible in today’s climate through technology and other effective pedagogical strategies and is welcome by learners. (Wishing this was possible when I was in school 🙂 Educators and facilitators have a key role as experts on their subject area to develop outcomes for learners using the Backwards Design model. Considering the “goal posts” is an important driver of curriculum along with the process of differentiation for the specific needs of learner in a class. However, learners can have much choice in the structure and journey to meet those outcomes. “Educators choose the map, whereas students choose the app!” This is my admittedly jingoistic summation of the potential student-teacher relationship. If learners want to demonstrate how they meet those outcomes set by the educator in diverse ways then I think all benefit. From the learner’s perspective, they feel empowered with choice (yes, motivation) and during a sharing opportunity they could learn from peers whereas educators receive a diverse selection of work (i.e movie, written report, computer program…anything) so long as it meets the learning outcomes. After all, in today’s learner first climate, the opportunity to assess a body of work as individual as the students completing it seems appropriate. Perhaps it even improves the quality of life in terms of effort and maybe even its execution too. And I think that our diverse-championing curriculum theorists would agree too!


Week 3: Web Based Learning Object Presentations (Half), Reflection and Reading Response

Quite a busy week as indicated by the reading of two articles, completion of our WBLO collaborative assignment and kicking the week off by sharing a graphic/picture of our progress so far. I created this graphic in Google Drawings which is one of my favourite edtech tools this this . I feel like I am slowly emerging from the water backed by some good reading, research and collaboration on collaboration. (I would imagine that this graphic would look much different next week as project get completed and I emerge higher from the water.)

This week we explored different types of curriculum implementation (fidelity and adaptive-evolutionary) and different curriculum types (overt, hidden, technology etc.) which were helpful but felt we only scratched the surface with the types.

Notes on collaboration with Paulo Freire

So very lucky to work with Roxanne and Jennifer who both were excellent team members and researchers and made this process of creating a WBLO but extensive and helpful in terms of depth and understanding. For our WBLO, we used Google Drive to collect research and articles, Slides for presentation and Documents for our handout. Using a combination (call it “App Smashing”:) of Screencasting software, Google Slides, we recorded and edit a narrated version of our slides. We included a background of Freire’s work, how his work and theories could be applied to curriculum and specific examples of how we need integrate this research into our learning environments. I especially like Roxanne’s administrator perspective to incorporate the ideas of all faculty to drive curriculum implementation decisions. Jennifer’s idea of bringing conscientization into ESL classroom is also an empowering and exciting idea for her environment. For myself, there seems to be many parallels between 21st century learning and Freire’s approach as both are learner centered, emphasize critical thinking, creativity and collaboration to solve today’s and tomorrow’s challenges. The fact that his theories continued to evolve over the course of his life (i.e adding eco-pedagogy…) also seems appropriate in our current and future climate of our always editable and never quite finished (Google) projects in the go…Speaking of which here is our WBLT with a few edits of its own 😛 but here it is in its most current form.


Week 2: Reflection and Reading response

1. Chatting with Laura Pinto was an excellent stimulus for (current and future?) curriculum discussions. My biggest takeaway  the power of politicians rather than education leaders and curriculum designers in the writing of curricular documentation. As someone who has taught  Grade Four Medieval Studies, the fact that its origins were a politician’s experience with their child at “Medieval Times” theme dinner were quite as revelation. From a our educator’s perspective,  would like to that topic decisions based on research from academic combined with practical studies. In addition, topic should be part of a  scope and sequence and developmental appropriate to age groups. In fairness, the new Social Studies in Ontario seems to reflect a more inquiry based approach where students can research a many of cultures based in interest, readiness and link with other learning materials.

2. Sharing our Curriculum Theories

The jigsaw method was an excellent method to share our all theories in a short time. (I must admit to wondering about that before the class!)  In our group, there was much to digress. Here was a graphic in Google Drawings to represent our sharing discussion.

My takeaway from the discussion was yet another lens to examine curriculum design and implementation. In 2015, with greater and prolific student access to technology and devices means that theories that avoid the “transmission model” and focus on the individual (Self-Actualization, Reconceptualized Curriculum, and their ability to affect change (Social Efficiency, Social Reconstruction) will be increasing popular in our learning environments.

3. Response to Michael Young’s article Overcoming the crisis in curriculum theory: a knowledge-based approach

Young’s main thesis of this article argues that schools have a “distinctive role in education studies” and curriculum theorists need to assert their distinct position to address what and how it is taught rather than relinquishing to theorists from other fields of thought and our current “curriculum leaders”, politicians eager for votes. Pinto’s assertion (from our class discussion)  that curriculum leaders and theorists have been shut out of curriculum building discussions at the expense of politicians and political agendas parallels with Young’s observations about curriculum policies in the UK education system. (This was well timed curriculum design in our course!) In specific, an emphasis on an epistemological approach is important as invested parties like parents expect that educators are helping students access knowledge that they could not possible have at home. However, a skilled based curriculum (how to make an inquiry) when explored with a student-centered approach could allow students to apply this approach to any topic or even multi-disciplinary task. In other words, a skilled based curriculum could be more useful to a greater number of students unlike the select group he suggests would be interested in a knowledge-based curriculum. Perhaps, we need both.

So how do we address the place of epistemological approach AND an emphasis on skill-based approach in schools. Educators (and curriculum designers) are both in a unique position to showcase ways of thinking critically, creatively, collaboratively and emphatically to students. Although in 2015, students may have access to these tools free and easily on the web, (i.e. coding and programming for example, they need to understand why and the place and importance of computational thinking and design in their future. The educator is so important as they provide validation for specific tools, sites and research. From the curriculum designers perspective, they could provide a model for learning allows student access to educational materials (e.g. Google Apps for Education, code.org, Scratch.mit.edu among countless others) BEFORE, DURING AFTER lessons and units of study to explore, examine, create, collaborate and share at their own pace. Therefore, Young’s assertion that schools and educators have a unique position is a valid point as they can champion and illuminate an approach to learning but also bodies of knowledge rich for critically examination appropriate to a student’s age and stage.

Statements I would question…

“Teachers are increasingly under pressure towards to shift the balance from the feedback role of assessment towards its accountability role as a policy or curriculum driver.” (Young, p.111)

As an educator, my reflection does include an analysis as to whether I have adequately addressed the learning goals and curriculum expectations but only with the progress of learners and lesson planning. I would argue that individual feedback is as important as ever and in fact in the world of Google Docs, feedback and assessment are taking their rightful place WHILE students are completing their projects rather than our experience as students where majority of teacher-student assessment conversations and feedback take place AFTE assignments are handed in. As students (admittedly oversensitive ones like myself) are wondering when considering professor/ teacher feedback “where was this suggestion earlier?” In short, the place of feedback in today 21st century classroom has moved with technological breakthroughs from after the learner completes the task to during and I think that is helpful and yet challenging to keep up!


Week 1: Reading Response – Egan’s What is Curriculum?

what is curriculum Q's

1. The main thesis of this article is that curriculum is the study of all educational phenomena. This may include, but is not exclusive to, what should be taught, how it should be taught using a variety of methodologies with an emphasis on the learner’s accumulation of knowledge and skills. Also it is vital that curriculum designers and educators “summon the nerve” to boldly determine the needs of society and design curriculum to help learners survive and thrive in the future.

2. Egan’s article offered greater insight into historical progression of thought with curriculum planning. In short, the importance of considering the individual in all learning. I particularly liked Rousseau’s idea and logic that making the assumption that children are “good” provides reasoning for allowing them to input into “what” curriculum should be addressed. I will incorporate certainly this idea into planning and implementing lessons and curriculum when appropriate.

3. In our discussion and while reading I wondered…what approaches should educators and curriculum designers use when attempting to address the needs of individual learners? As with everything, the gulf between theory and practice is crucial and so examples of how we design and adapt curriculum to meet the needs of different learners is a logical step perhaps beyond the scope of article. I think that the “how” and “what” to learn aspect of curriculum design is perhaps easier with only the author’s perspective front and center. However, work and research on learning styles, learning theories and certainly best practices with regard to individual learning plans will provide more tools when educators are designing a curriculum roadmap.

Here is a tweet which seems to emphasize the importance of good curriculum planning and implementation.

4. In our discussions, we also briefly discussed connections with Dr. Puentedura’s SAMR model which encourages curriculum designers to create experiences for students with technology that go beyond what was possible before. A student-centered approach is vital for educators working with students using advice from Egan “while we ponder how questions, another child has learned two things…” (Egan p. 16) and models from Pundendura. Educators and curriculum designers, through the use of technology or otherwise engaging pedagogies (i.e. dance) can determine their sequence, methods and a shareable product to a specific audience using online tools. This sharing and perhaps even collaborative options provides a methodology which involve a specific purpose and audience not found in traditional school projects (i.e. the audience is the teacher) This upgrade to products would no doubt be appreciated in Puentedura’s model (i.e. augmentation to redefinition) or perhaps approaches the “nerve” Egan desires in his article. Feel free to explore Puentedura’s model in more detail in another blog post.

5 and 6.

“The difficulty in admitting the question, how, into curriculum matters is that there becomes little of educational relevance that can be excluded from the curriculum field. This means that one can do almost any- thing in education and claim plausibly to be working in “curriculum.” p.14

This statement is problematic because it assumes that curriculum just happens and educators would act in a way that is impractical  in their  classroom. Educators by the nature of their employment ( and hopefully disposition) are naturally inclined to impart knowledge and methods to help students even if those methods are less effective than more experienced practitioners. In other words, I would argue that for purpose of discussion we should ONLY consider situations that educators are actively engaged in situations where educators and learners are striving to (perhaps one harder than the other 🙂 to meet curriculum expectations.

“Who can specify what skills will be needed in the future? This manner of stating the problem exemplifies the failure of nerve: it suggests we have no control over the future; we cannot make of it what seems best to us.”

I am not sure that a failure of nerve is accurate or justified. Designing curriculum with a vision of the future and skills, knowledge and methodology is certainly vital for creating an exemplary curriculum yet it has to be flexible enough to acknowledge the uncertainty of the future. I believe that acknowledging an uncertain future can be a position of strength for an adaptable approach to curriculum design. Being bold is important but I would argue that building in a reaction to change even more so.

Puentedura, Ruben R. “Ruben R. Puentedura’s Weblog.” Ruben R. Puentedura’s Weblog. N.p., 2015. Web. 11 May 2015.
Egan, K. (2003). What is Curriculum? Journal of the Association of Curriculum Studies, 1(1), 9-16.

Pre- Course thoughts on Curriculum

Curriculum is all-encompassing term that refers to a number of elements or ingredients designed by instructors and academics to help learners. As educators seek to aid learners at all times, planning beforehand with specific ingredients can aid success in the classroom and beyond. Some of the ingredients for include essential questions, learning goals, content of lessons, vocabulary, instructional strategies, assessment, differentiated instruction, teaching strategies, critical thinking strategies and 21st century fluencies. No doubt some of these details would fit into multiple categories and some may not be relevant to all learning experiences but these categories are worthy of consideration to add depth to curriculum design and implementation.

Using a backward design approach, where essential questions and learning goals as the “end game” for a unit or course would also be a good strategy for curriculum design. Finally, adapting the curriculum to meet the individual needs of learners would aid successful curriculum implementation and should be considered in design (i.e. flexibility!)

Overall, curriculum is a broad in definition but rich for dissection for educators and curriculum mappers and designers. In my professional practice, we use a tool called Atlas Rubicon which is the origin of these headings and is the platform for our curriculum planning, discussions (sometimes heated:) and implementation. Link to Wikispaces version

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