> Mrs. O'Neill's Blog: What's next?

Saturday, December 02, 2006

What's next?

The Seattle Times reported last month on a grant given to the Bellevue School district (Washington) to allow them to put their entire curriculum online.Read the article

According to the Times , 'The grant ... will develop the district Web site to help teachers build and share lesson plans and ideas and help parents stay on top of what their children are being taught'.
The current Bellevue School District Curriculum Web already gives detailed information about what is being taught at each level. But the long term plan, according to the executive director of the school district, is to have everything a child is doing at school available to parents. This would mean for example, 'a parent who has a child who comes home baffled about a lesson plan can log on to the site and look to see what the student was supposed to learn that day.' There would even be 'the possibility for the child to watch the lesson again'.

Teachers from other districts (countries?) would also be invited to the 'wikipedia' like site, to log on and offer their insights and practice.

Do you like the sound of this level of openness?
Please comment.


Tony O'Neill said...

Like a lot of these things there are pros and cons. It is possible that if the parents had access to the curriculum it may aid them in working with their children. I think also that teachers have to have some accountability for what they are doing (or in some cases not doing) in the classroom. However, one big potential problem is that it could lead to over interfering from parents. Most teachers have had the experinece of an overzealous parent who wants to question evrything and after a while just becomes a pest. I cringe at the thought of some of the lessons I've taught being filmed and ending up on the web. Not to mention some of the things I've said to pupils. Would probably be in the video nasty section.

Mrs. O'Neill's Blog said...

I'm sure you are exaggerating ;) Somebody told me you were nominated by one of your pupils for an an award. What was it for?

Do tell.

I think it would be more likely that parents would be able to access a textbook lesson 'prepared earlier'. I can't imagine it being cost effective to be filming classes every day. You would also need to protect the privacy of pupils, and not expose them to the criticism of other pupils or parents.

I think it would be quite good for schools to be a bit more upfront with their curriculum at any rate.

Tony O'Neill said...

When I was teaching in Detroit. One of my past pupils did well and made it to the national honour roll. They then get asked to nominate a teacher who had an influence on them. She nominated me. Subsequently your name gets included in a list of who's who of American teachers. It was one of those nice things that happens every now and then that makes the whole thing seem worthwhile.
The school I worked in was a very unique school that tries to approach urban education in a new way. It is a a private school, however the parents only have to pay about a third of what it costs to educate their child. The school fundraises the rest of the cost. The parents sign a covenant saying that they will support the aims of the school and will volunteer a number of hours per year in the school. It has become very succesful and nationally known. Check out their website for more info. www.cornerstoneschools.org.

Keep up the blog. It's very enjoyable reading and stimulating, even though I'm not teaching anymore.

sid said...

I should be writing an essay about Martin Amis' "Time's Arrow", but strangely enough this post reminds me of my current situation... The idea, I think, is a good one. In moderation, that is. Where I think it might come in handy is in Revision. Most of my University classes have teaching schedules and lecture notes available online, which is an indispensable resource come Exam Time. Similarly, a system like the one you describe would be awfully useful for pupils, and also would help parents guide the student's revision.

However, obviously moderation is essential when dealing with this kind of information. Parents don't generally really need to know exactly what happens in the classroom, down to the last detail.