These are my notes from Jim Askew’s afternoon presentation at the Crescent Public Schools‘ 1:1 learning conference on 4 June 2010. Jim teaches chemistry at Crescent, develops curriculum with Crescent teachers, and leads their TAH (Teaching American History) grant. The title of his session was, “From Lesson Plans to Online Curriculum.” MY THOUGHTS AND COMMENTS ARE IN ALL CAPS. See my notes from Jim’s morning session today as well.

MY ASIDE: THE STORYCHASERS MOBILE LEARNING TEAM BLOG IS A PLACE FOR EDUCATORS IN 1:1 SETTINGS TO SHARE IDEAS.

I JUST NOTICED AT THE TOP OF THE CRESCENT PS WEBSITE, IT SAYS “TIGER SEARCH DOES NOT INCLUDE WIKIPEDIA.”

Tiger Search at Crescent PS

Jim’s homepage on the Crescent Public Schools’ website. Jim has a phenomenal website about web-based instruction.

If you tell kids to type in a URL to start a lesson, it will take you 10 minutes to get them to a website
– those are the kind of problems you’ll run into

MY QUESTION FOR JIM: WHAT ARE YOU ABLE TO DO WITH THE ONLINE CURRICULUM THAT YOU COULDN’T DO BEFORE. JIM’S ANSWER: NOTHING. INTERESTING.

What I am going to share with you today is 15 years of online curriculum work. Your curriculum is not going to look like mine to start. Don’t let this discourage you.

The virtual learning environment is where you are able to do things DIFFERENTLY that you couldn’t do with just a textbook.

When I was hired my superintendent said, “I don’t care about your test scores. Find out a way to use the laptop in class with students every day.” The culmination of Jim’s learning and educational philosophy is available on his Web Based Instruction Internet Resources website.

Now let’s look at my online curriculum for chemistry. Remember this is the culmination of fifteen years of work.

Jim Askew's Chemistry Curriculum

WOW! THIS IS AMAZING!!!!

I retired from full-time teaching 3 years ago. Mr Sheiver stole me away from Mr Parks with an offer to help us with curriculum development and teach 1 chemistry class. The rest of the day I play with curriculum.

Anywhere in the curriculum where you see a tiger paw, it is a podcast
– those podcasts are on the web, NOT on our “podcast server”
– I have EVERYTHING on my box
– I am fanatical about redundancy
– 30 years of teaching is on my box (computer)
– I have converted/ (digitized) everything

My box / computer belongs to Crescent public schools, but all my curriculum fits on a flash drive that I can take with me if I need to.

MY THOUGHT: THIS IS WISDOM.

What do I do with podcasts?
– I teach using PowerPoint for class discussions
– I took those PowerPoints, sit down in my nice, quite office, and created these podcasts
– I had to shorten them, because I believe when it comes to curriculum students have a maximum of a 10 minute attention span
– kids MIGHT watch something for 10 minutes, but they are NOT going to watch it for 30 minutes

I kept all under 10 minutes
– if a student is absent or wants some review other than looking at print, they can use those
– I don’t teach with those, they are supplementary

The versions of the PowerPoints I’m using have been done in the last year
– I’ve had PPT since 1995
– Those PPT files are not on the website, but the podcasts are

There is a link that lets you also switch to an alphabetical list.

Alphabetical view of Jim Askew's Chemistry Curriculum

Now showing us his actual Moodle site (we’re logging in as guest)

Guests on Moodle can’t see student material: They can just see teacher-prepared materials

Moodle will let you do polling
– polling is really just a single multiple choice question
– that polling device is built right into Moodle

Moodle topic discussions are asynchronous
– this is the virtual learning environment
– this is what REALLY makes the 1:1 learning environment special

You can teach kids how to think and learn without laptops
– but this asynchronous environment is what makes 1:1 so special

When I came to Cresent, teachers had been instructed to build their online curriculum in Moodle
– I don’t have to know any HTML in Moodle, I can save as a text page or a webpage
– I am really a dinosaur when it comes to technology
– I want to build this on MY BOX
– I want it ALL on my box, THEN I want to upload it to the web
– I do not like the idea of going to Moodle and building my curriculum there
– If Moodle goes down, then I can’t get to my curriculum (I would have to connect to the Moodle server)

In this room if I was teaching and the network blew up, I don’t even know it if I’m working off my curriculum saved on my box
– I am constantly tweaking my curriculum at home in the evenings

I live less than 2 blocks away from the school, but if our Internet server is hit by lightning / we lose power, servers can go off and then I can’t get to my stuff
– I can tweak everything except Moodle

That is why I’m not a real big fan of building everything in Moodle
– we build in Moodle for security reasons, and for a confidence reason (if you know just you and your kids can see it – you don’t have to worry about what other teachers in the world think about what you are doing.)
– I am confident enough to put my own work out there, but most people when they start building their own curriculum aren’t that confident

MY THOUGHTS: WOW! THIS IS A HUGE ISSUE IN TERMS OF SHARING, TEACHER CONFIDENCE, ETC. I AM SO THRILLED THAT JIM HAS HIS CURRICULUM ON THE OPEN WEB AND IT’S NOT ALL LOCKED UP ON THE CLOSED WEB / THE DISTRICT’S MOODLE SERVER. I “GET” THAT MANY TEACHERS ARE NERVOUS ABOUT PUTTING THEIR WORK ONLINE, BUT I THINK IT’S INCUMBENT UPON US AS EDUCATORS TO OPENLY SHARE AS MUCH AS WE CAN. THESE ARE VERY IMPORTANT ISSUES TO REFLECT ON…

Technology can help you engage students who don’t want to be motivated
– some kids are very intrinsically motivated
– some kids are motivated by grades
– the laptop can help you reach those kids who don’t really want to be involved

If you are using the steps included on the blue card in your packet, “The Perfect Web-Based Lesson Plan,” it is guaranteed you will be able to enagage even those students who don’t want to be engaged.
– that came from the DBQ project (document based questioning – a commercial outfit that is paper-based)
– I stole it!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Document-based_question

On Copyright law: If you are using things for instruction with your kids in your classroom, you are within fair use. You don’t have to worry as long as you are not selling it.

MY COMMENT: THAT IS NOT QUITE THE ENTIRE STORY ON FAIR USE…. I THINK THIS IS A COMMON MISCONCEPTION… THIS IS DIFFERENT ESPECIALLY WHEN WE REPUBLISH THINGS ONLINE. FAIR USE HAS 4 ELEMENTS, AND TRANSFORMATIVENESS IS KEY…

I am not paperless in my classroom, I still hand out lab handouts

Start your online curriculum development NOW!
http://crescentok.com/staff/jaskew/WebBased/converting.htm

Online Curriculum Building Starts Now!

Every one of my webpages has been created from scratch using TextEdit.

MY THOUGHT: WOO HOO! LET’S HEAR IT FOR OLD-SCHOOL HTML CODING! (THIS MAY MAKE SOME OF OUR PARTICIPANTS PASS OUT HERE, BUT I THINK IT’S GREAT… NOT BECAUSE I THINK ALL TEACHERS NEED TO LEARN HOW TO CODE HTML, BUT BECAUSE THIS BRINGS BACK A LOT OF MEMORIES AND SHOWS HOW POWERFUL BASIC WEBPAGE AUTHORING SKILLS CAN BE!)

Before I came to Crescent, I broke down my pages for 1 concept per page. You can do that now with a very small number of “tags.”

I started this iterative process, building my curriculum bit by bit
– when I started adding assignments, I had to start thinking about how long this would take

At some point I learned students do NOT like to scroll down through webpages
– this is the reason I broke everything down by concept

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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2 Responses to From Lesson Plans to Online Curriculum by Jim Askew #ok1to1 (Amazing open Chemistry curriculum)

  1. Brett Dickerson says:

    “Remember, today’s standardized tests DO NOT measure recall….” Really?

    Jim’s work is great! That’s why this assertion on the referenced page seems so out of place. It could be that he has mostly been in Chemistry, which involves mostly skill-oriented testing. I have taught U.S. History since the pilot test was introduced, have been on the state committee that writes questions for the USH EOI, and this is just not the case in our area. History knowledge testing does very much involve recall of unique facts, vocabulary, time-line knowledge, etc. Only about 10-20% of the tests on our state EOI are skill-based. The rest demand varying levels of knowledge recall. Most of those are level 2 questions which, yes, involves the skill to think through the question, yet, presume that the student brings much detailed knowledge to the test. This is what is hard about teaching and learning history in preparation for any kind of exam at the end, whether it be for the state or for the teacher. No matter what passionate assertions are made by teachers who instruct mostly conceptual classes, there is some hard and not always exciting work to be done by history students as they move toward the cool stuff like History Day, etc.

    I do fully agree with Jim’s fundamental concepts. For years I have been using Kathy Nunley’s Layered Curriculum approach which is very similar to Jim’s. Student’s learning how to learn and how to think in the process is the most productive approach.

    Teachers who are new to U.S. History and that EOI need to fully understand the foundational work (which can be done with sites like Quizlet.com) that must be done in parallel with the larger concepts that will allow students to become strong history thinkers.

    I want to close by saying that I have been a real fan of the amazing professionals and their work at Crescent PS. Every year they raise the bar for the rest of us in their skillful and creative use of technology and curriculum.

  2. Anne V says:

    I’ve been digging through the Chemistry webpages and am totally in awe.

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