Monday, June 11, 2007

Curriculum Mapping

There are software packages available which make the process of school-wide curriculum mapping easier, more efficient, and encourage collaboration among teachers. One such program, Atlas' Rubicon, - Atlas Curriculum Mapping - Pedagogy
has been used at many schools. We are purchasing this program over the summer and will begin slowly phasing it in at our school over the next 3 years. I would love to hear any comments from anyone familiar with it. Any tips for successful implementation would be greatly appreciated as well.




minnield said...

Hi Cathy,

I enjoy your site. I wanted to tell you that at my school we are using rubicon Atlas. I was picked as one of the team leaders to learn about the program and then explain it to other teachers. This is going to be our second year with it, and I love using it. The only problem is that since this is not mandatory many teacher's refuse to use it. Curriculum team members me included, created a master curriculum, but all teachers did was to copy the master plan and have not worked on it at all. I hope this program works better in your school. I think that at Maya we still need a lot to learn about the backward design and why it is important for us to use this program to create our curriculum.

BIS said...

Hi Cathy,

I love your site and have been able to get some great ideas from it. We have just completed our third year of curriculum mapping. I believe in the concept and wish that I could say that the implementation has gone smoothly. About four years ago, five of us went to a workshop given by Heide Hayes Jacobs on curriculum mapping. She was awesome. We purchased her tapes to show the faculty. Here is a link to a site that can tell out about her - it is somewhat commercial.

I am going to discuss some of the issues we have had and are having regarding curriculum mapping. Hopefully, this will help your school with the process. First, we have a lot great veteran teachers, but unfortunately they are Digital Immigrants. This being said, we are beginning to understand how important technology is becoming to education. At about the time we implemented curriculum mapping, we were implementing a new grade program and also a web based homework program, e-boards. Put this with new phone systems, computers and e-mail and this is a lot for any teacher to handle.

Second, a lot of teachers felt it was busy work and that we were recreating the wheel, which based on other stuff we have to do, is somewhat true. If mapping is done right, it can serve a multitude of purposes beyond sharing with others. There are many types of reports such as syllabi and scope and sequences, that can be generated and it can also serve as a PR tool. Additionally, one could incorporate it into part of a web site for students and teachers. We have our evaluation next year so the maps have to be in great shape. I hesitate to use the word completed since they should be dynamic.

Third, is the time issue. For me, this is a big factor and is part of my summer to do list. Most teachers have there "act" together, but it takes time to place it in the maps. The program is somewhat slow as well. However, once the intial map is done, it can save time in the long run. Also, the maps can be copied from teacher to teacher or year to year which can be helpful if used properly. One thing we have done which has worked is to have a mapping day where one department brings in substitutes and maps together. This has worked out great.

Last, we were ready to "share" our maps with the outside world, but there doesn't seem to be as many available schools as we originally thought there would be. We are on hold right now.

Overall, I believe in the concept. We also use Atlas. I do question if it is worth the cost as it is expensive. Especially after taking this class and learning about so many other available tools that are free. I hope this has helped you.

Beth I. Smith

Cathy said...

Thank you, Beth. Your comments were extremely valuable and give me much to think about and discuss with our administrators. I greatly appreciate the time you've spent in writing (and sharing)the thoughtful response.