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OACS explores secondary level curriculum developer network

Written on January 7th, 2009

Goal is to expand people power, enhance resources for smaller schools

The Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools (OACS) is exploring creating a network of secondary level curriculum developers to exchange resources and best practices.

Gary VanArragon, OACS director of secondary services, says the network is in the development stages and they are currently moving forward with a couple pilot projects.

“The objective here is to create a network of curriculum developers so that people can talk to each other online through our ShareSite or through some other platform to share ideas (and) ask each other questions,” he says.

The idea is to use a wiki, an online encyclopaedia for curriculum units, accessible to teachers and others who have expertise to make additions, changes and updates to content. The hope is to post draft course outlines so everyone can draw from it and adapt their thoughts.

The OACS has started to issue its course guidelines electronically so people can adapt it for themselves, post their changes and comments and connect with one another, says VanArragon.

VanArragon says through the network they hope to expand the people power the smaller OACS member schools will have at their disposal.

The larger schools will likely be more of a contributing source than a drawing source as they have larger departments and more specialists on staff.

“They won’t need this as much in a practical day-to-day sense as some of the smaller schools but they are on board in terms of wanting to participate (and) contribute,” he says.

“Teachers, I think, are the most effective when they can collaborate with colleagues and this becomes the platform for that collaboration and that’s the huge benefit,” he says.

So far there is a lot of material ready and the technology is mostly in place. The OACS is moving to a new location in the spring, and once they are in the new building they will be able to pull the elements together, says VanArragon.

“The end result will be an ongoing, active collaboration between high school teachers across the system,” he says.

The hope is to rollout the curriculum network later in 2009.

“This process will make our schools just better schools,” says VanArragon.

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