One of the large tasks that I am doing right now is taking all of the courses that our online school taught during the first semester of this year and revising them according to the changes that the teachers made while teaching them. This means that I am copying over any assessments or assignments made, revising any activities introduced and pretty much making sure that every piece of learning is coherent with the next one. While this may seem like a huge undertaking that might not be all that much fun (which, at times, it is), I wonder how many of us are really in a position to look at curriculm this closely. How many of us really get to say that we are revising learning, taking what has gone before and forever changing it into something that works better.
Now, I wish I could say that I did that in my own classroom. I wish I could say that every year I was able to change my curriculum so that it stayed “changed for the better” after I left. However, that could not be further from the truth.
While I was at my previous school, I was able to go from one blogging unit (6 weeks long) to a fully integrated blogging/writing curriculum with teachers and students blogging together on our team. Well, within a few months of my leaving, I realized that the team was no longer using much of the systems that I had set up. Because I wasn’t there to constantly push forward, many of the students and teachers simply reverted back to what they were doing before I joined the team. That is not to say that I did not create a great deal of change, but that the changes were not lasting, at least not in all of the ways I had hoped.
So, what I am proposing now, is that if we are going to make things better in the long term within schools, we must be able to archive everything that we have done and continue to revise it and make it more polished so that if we should ever need to take leave of that role, other can pick up where we left off.
I guess all of the learning objects and project wikis are not enough. We must package learning for others, allowing them to copy it and improve upon it. We must revise our learning continually so that everyone can see the edits we have made and the direction we would like to go.
As much as I might dislike going through each lesson of our online school with a fine tooth comb, I know that it is the only way in which we will get better. I know that any change I make, is one that will stick, one that will make that next change easier.
(As I am reading this post back to myself, I realize how mad I am at myself for not ensuring that more of the work I had done would stick. I really didn’t know how much I was leaving behind…)