Wednesday, March 09, 2005


A Draft to work From

After reading and thinking about everything that has been written in the Blog about curriculum I thought I would take a shot of coming up with draft of curriculum. I have tried to reflect the ideas expressed in the entries. Call it my detailed outline if you would. This is a draft.



As St. Mary’s Schools move into the 21st century we need to begin changing how we teach. St. Mary’s has made a commitment to becoming a student centered school that encourages its students to develop the habits of independent thought and life long learning that will help them to become productive citizens and solid questioning Roman Catholics.

Just as the printing press ushered in the new societies of the renaissance so too has the Internet now ushered in a new renaissance of learning and exploration that is changing everything human beings are learning and doing. To explore that new world we are committed to putting digital tools into our students’ hands and integrating those tools into the evolving curriculum of St. Mary’s schools.

What our students learn will become less important than how our students learn. To facilitate our students’ progress toward the goal of becoming life long life long learners, we are making a commitment to the reality of one-one networked computing for appropriate student levels at St. Mary’s over the next 5 years.

To do this we are making a commitment to a new paradigm of learning that puts the student and the student’s interests at the forefront of our educational effort. St. Mary’s schools is making a commitment to connecting our curriculum to the life interests and goals of our students. Whereas many schools view computing devices as teaching machines, we at St. Mary’s schools, in our student centered viewpoint, consider them to be learning machines with many teaching functions. We also make the commitment to the usefulness of all digital computing and communication devices in our students’ lives and pledge ourselves to their imaginative and responsible use in school.

The Need for change

St. Mary’s schools have been educating children throughout a period of great change. From her founding after the war, St. Mary’s schools educated our students with the tried and true methods of the School Sisters of Notre Dame and the Redemistrist Fathers in very successful ways, ways appropriate for the world in which those students lived. That world has changed drastically since the launch of Sputnik in 1957, growing more technological and more diverse with every passing year. We are no longer in an industrial world. We have moved from a world of stuff to a world of information, from a world of atoms to a world of bits. We are now in the information age where all human beings will need to be facile in information tools and self-directed life long learning.

Industrial Age Information Age
Standardization Customization
Bureaucratic organizationTeam-based organization
Centralized controlAutonomy with responsibility
Adversarial relationshipsCooperative relationships
Autocratic decision making Shared decision making
Compliance Initiative
Conformity Diversity
One-way communication Networking
Compartmentalization Holism
Parts oriented Process oriented
Planned obsolescence Total quality
CBO or boss as “king” Customer as “king”

Key markers that distinguish industrial-age and information-age organizations.

St, Mary’s is an industrial age organization in transition. Over the last five years we have made great strides in moving towards an information-age organization while maintaining our spirituality and faith. We have increased the use of technology in our whole organization. Our technology however still remains rooted in a centralized structure that supports the broadcast
method of education. Much of our technology use aims at creating electronic blackboards and the presentation method of teaching. Projectors,
SmartBoards, Laptop carts, and the like simply make us an electronic teacher centered school, and while important in our development and transition, not the networked student-centered school that we seek to become. The network infrastructure is in place, and improving everyday. Now we have to put the power of connection into the hands of every student with a sense of ownership and control. With tools like laptops, hand helds, video and audio communication devices, and collaborative social software combined with the standard productive software options, our students will develop the new literacy of the information age.

We will move from a school where learning is seen as knowledge acquisition, where the teacher is the primary source of knowledge, to where learning is knowledge construction, where the teacher is guide and mentor, where everyone teaches and learns from everyone else in the community. We will move towards a school where the social interaction of the community will take place both within our walls and beyond our walls all at the same time. We will deliver curriculum to each student at their desks, both in school and at home, or wherever the student or teacher is through our connected digital devices. That curriculum will be meaningful and connected to individual student lives and needs in ways we can do now.

A Networked Learning Community

St. Mary’s over the last five years has made great strides in putting the infrastructure in place that will make it possible for us to become a networked learning community. We now need to use that structure to connect our community, faculty, staff and students into community of learning and spirituality 24-7. We need to make learning a community process of meeting our needs as human beings. We must give our students a feeling of ownership of the technology that they use by putting it in their hands and making them responsible for its care and function. Every student will have wireless access to our network while at St. Mary’s and Internet access to our repository of learning materials on-line 24/7. We will accustom the community to staying connected to each other through synchronous and asynchronous technology. We will increase the range and
scope of curriculum through developing an on line presence for St. Mary’s schools. Our classes will become 24-7 learning environments by incorporating the Internet and readily available communication tools. We will put the same technology into our student’s hands that they will use in the college and work world.

The essence of teaching and learning is communication. Technology connects us over space and time so we may teach and learn 24/7. We will begin to give our students responsibility and control over their own education as they move into a world where less and less learning will occur in school.

A Plan of Action

• Over the next five years St. Mary’s schools will map their curriculum and then set about to gather the learning resources or objects that meet the need currently being met by textbooks and other static learning materials. We will begin to build permanent subject repositories for use by the whole school as well as enter into partner relationships with other learning object developers.

• Over the next five years St. Mary’s school will create electronic portfolios of our students and teachers based on using their own computer and communication devices as permanent records of their achievements and growth while at St. Mary’s.

• Over the next five years St. Mary’s schools will encourage the development of interdepartmental classes that will utilize our learning objects, and human resources at all levels.

• Over the next five years St. Mary’s schools will develop mobile language labs through the use of laptops and digital media such as IPODS and cell phones. We will make a concentrated effort to adapt social communication programs to school use.

• Over the next five years St. Mary’s schools will increase the use of video in both instruction and presentation to enhance the communication within and modes of expression available to our students.

• Over the next five years St. Mary’s schools will meld all of its face to face classes with fully interactive websites in the hybrid mode of offering. Students will need to be self directed and teacher directed at the same time

• Over the next five years St. Mary’s schools will develop an On-Line AP course and elective program in order to extend our offerings and enrich the present curriculum. This will also include staff development programs in various technology uses and professional growth.

• In order to achieve these programs, St. Mary’s schools will put Tablet Laptop computers into the hands of our students and teachers at all levels. We will encourage our students to use appropriate hand helds, MP3 devices, and cell technology in responsible ways for the development of our learning community. We will become a learner centered program focusing on connecting the interests of the students to the map of our curriculum. St. Mary’s schools will become the greatest constructivist center of networked learning in the Diocese of Baltimore.
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