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Share Globally, Adapt Locally: Software Assistance to Locate and Tailor Curriculum Posted to the Internet

By G. Stahl


Many teachers yearn to break through the confines of traditional textbook-centered teaching to present activities that encourage students to explore and construct their own knowledge. But this requires developing innovative materials and curriculum tailored to local students. Teachers have neither the time nor the information to do much of this from scratch. The Internet provides a medium for sharing innovative educational resources globally. School districts and teacher organizations have already begun to post curriculum ideas on Internet servers. However, just storing unrelated educational materials on the Internet does not by itself solve the problem. It is too hard to find the right resources to meet specific needs. Teachers need productivity software for locating sites of materials across the network, searching the individual curriculum sources, adapting retrieved materials to their classrooms, organizing these resources in coherent lesson plans, and sharing their experiences across the Internet. We have designed and prototyped a Teacher’s Curriculum Assistant (TCA) that provides software support for teachers to make effective use of educational resources posted to the Internet. TCA maintains information for finding educational resources distributed on the Internet. It provides query and browsing mechanisms for exploring what is available. Tools are included for tailoring retrieved resources, creating supplementary materials, and designing innovative curriculum. TCA encourages teachers to annotate and upload successfully used curriculum to Internet servers to share their ideas with other teachers. In this paper we motivate the need for such computer support and discuss what we have learned from designing TCA

Year: 2009
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