Back at Munich International School we used Atlas Rubicon curriculum mapping software. It was a very expensive package, and quite time consuming in terms of getting everything online (we spent about 2 years getting everything up and organized). But, it was great for me, as an IT facilitator, to be able to see, on a whim, what was going on in any subject at any time during the year. I found it a great resource to start planning projects and I relied on it constantly.

So, here at M’KIS, where we do not have Atlas, I have decided to start mapping our IT curriculum (thanks to the impetus of my tech director) using wikispaces. I’m just in the early stages now, and our Elementary and High School IT facilitators haven’t gotten started yet, but I’m already seeing huge advantages:

  • Um, it’s free. That’s a pretty big one.
  • It will allow force every teacher to start using web 2.0 tools to successfully do their job.
  • Open access to all files makes it so much easier to collaborate, update, connect and share work.
  • The linking, oh the linking! Being able to easily connect to completed student and teacher work is like a dream come true.

And the disadvantages:

  • Tables. So far I have not figured out how to embed a good looking table in any wikispace. They always end up being all stretched out or all crammed up; bullets don’t seem to work; I can’t get the spacing in each row to work properly. And I love tables so much. This is a big dissappointment for me.
  • General formatting issues. Sometimes things seem to turn bold and I can’t reverse it. I’m sure there is an easy way to solve this one, but it frustrates me, so I know it’s going to frustrate the teachers.

As I mentioned, this is a work in progress, but so far things are looking pretty good. Hopefully we will introduce the tool to our Curriculum Coordinator this week and we can get mapping all of the subject areas. Has anyone else tried curriculum mapping using wikis (or other web 2.0 tools)? How was it?

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7 thoughts on “Curriculum Mapping – Web 2.0 Style

  1. Your table issue is a common one with wikispaces. I think the issue is the WYSIWYG editor. Have you tried doing it via the text editor? It’s confusing, but it works.

    Dokuwiki may be a good one to look into, they have macros you can use to export from Word, maybe Excel too.


  2. Thanks Chris!

    Someone has to figure out how to make it work with the WYSIWYG editor though. It’s one thing for me to be able to work through the code to get it right, but your average teacher probably doesn’t want to mess around with that…

  3. As someone who has used both Rubicon and Wikispaces, I understand the issues in cost and desire to get teachers to use web 2.0 tools.

    The issue is tied to who owns the data, or the curriculum in this example. By using wikispaces, you now open your curriculum into the creative commons, which means that anyone can mash your curriculum. Your school may not appreciate the fact that you have opened the curriculum.

    Use of atlas rubicon means that the school still owns the curriculum. Now this may not seem like a big deal, the non-web 2.0 administrators may feel uncomfortable giving away the curriculum.

    It comes down to the question who owns the curriculum at your school? Who owns the experience? Which of these makes your school unique? Questions that remain to be discussed and answered before we are truly able to migrate to school 2.0.

  4. This is an interesting question that never would have occurred to me. I’m anxious to get input from as many areas as I can so I see the “two heads are better than one” concept really taking flight with these web 2.0 options.

    What about if the wiki was private? That would allow the in-school collaboration (still using web 2.0, still free, still linkable), but not the mash-up. But, what if the mash-up is better than the original? Isn’t that the goal in the first place?

    Actually, I didn’t realize that schools owned curriculum in the first place. Maybe this is an administrative-level discussion, and therefore out of my normal realm of thought…

    Thanks for getting me thinking!

  5. Did this ever get off the ground? I would love to try to get my school to map our curriculum using software or a web app instead of lots of separate word documents. Though it seems much of this can be accomplished with tables. Maybe I need to learn more about curriculum mapping design.

    Also I have thought about trying to publish some of the stuff I have worked on with others in order to make it available and get feedback for refining and improving.

    Any update or tips?

  6. Mr. Owens,

    Yikes – has it really been already been 5 months since you left this comment? Time really flies when moving to a new school!

    We did have some success with this model while I was still at the school. I’m not sure what they’re doing now, but all teachers were mandated to put their curriculum on the wiki to ensure transparency.

    Even though I’ve moved to a new school, I would definitely try this again. It was so much more meaningful to actually be able to link to completed work, and to have multiple people working on one document. The whole curriculum becomes so much more powerful when it’s truly collaborative. Wikis are just one way to do it, though – there might be an ever better way!

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