Personal Professional Development
“Toward a System for Online Curriculum-Sharing”

Rob Lucas
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Kevin Driscoll
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Presentation Title
“Toward a System for Online Curriculum-Sharing ”

Rob Lucas taught 6th grade social studies for two years in North Carolina. While teaching, he created a lesson-sharing wiki called the Teachers’ Lounge. He spent last year earning a master’s in Technology, Innovation, and Education at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. While there, he was an inaugural recipient of the Reynolds Fellowship in Social Entrepreneurship and developed a plan for a new nonprofit lesson sharing site called TeachForward.

Kevin Driscoll is a computer science teacher at Prospect Hill Academy Charter School in Cambridge, MA. In the classroom, he teaches an original curriculum for grades 6-12 with emphasis on identity, community-building, cut’n’paste cultural production, free software, literacy, and independent learning. Kevin has experimented with wiki-based curriculum sharing at his school and is the lead developer of TeachForward. Along with this work, he is a hip-hop DJ and intimate collaborator with Internet-based artist Claire Chanel.

Each year, the world’s teachers plan millions of great lessons. But after they’re taught, nearly all of them end up in dusty filing cabinets, never to be seen by another soul. Teachers are currently unable to build upon the best work of colleagues around the globe. Social web technologies hold promise for addressing this need, but current systems of online lesson-sharing are inadequate. Teachers struggle to find resources that are of high quality and appropriate for their grade level, subject, topic, teaching style, and local context. This presentation reviews previous lesson-sharing efforts and then presents a few key difficulties of curriculum sharing, our own preliminary answers, and the ways we’re applying them in our new site, TeachForward.

This presentation includes a podcast and a PowerPoint slideshow. It’s best to download both, listen to the podcast, and advance the slideshow when you hear the beep. However, the podcast should make sense without the slides, and if you’d prefer just to read, there’s text in the ‘notes’ section of the PowerPoint to guide you through.


On this day..

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4 Responses to “Personal Professional Development
“Toward a System for Online Curriculum-Sharing””

  1. […] At the k12 online conference, in their presentation titled “Toward a System of Online Curriculum-Sharing”, Rob Lucas and Kevin Driscoll discuss and show many examples of websites that allow teachers to share lesson plans and curriculum.  As a young teacher, I have explored these website on my own and these resources are important to both me and the educational industry.  However, it is much more important to me to have live collaboration, meaning my colleagues.  I do find some time during my lunch or my conference period to talk to others about my teaching and curriculum, but so many schools are going away from giving much time at all, especially in high schools. […]

  2. Cheers to Rob and his team,

    I am part of a parallel effort working on a similar vision for “open source” unit and course plans: Open Planner. ( Rob has graciously reached out to us and brought us into a circle of others who are working in a similar vein, and the opportunities for collaboration abound. We are a non-profit whose sustainence comes from the development of school community portals that improve the school-level as our planning portal supports a larger social and professional network of teachers.

    For any who want to give us a try…our site enables a team-based structure, with team manager, where a group of educators can develop and hone set of resources within a social networking environment…Our goal is to focus on coherent curriculum units and courses, wherein collaboration yields a common set of resources that evolve and get better over time. We look forward to learning about the healthy diversity of approaches as educators begin to explore this new domain of web-based collaboration.


    Andrew Stillman
    Open Planner

  3. […] I wrote this past spring about “The Ethic of Open Digital Content.” I heard a pastor last night say that “hoarding promotes moral decay.” Is this also true in the arena of knowledge and education? Perhaps so. If you want to be digitally relevant in the education space, increasingly you need to find ways to give your content away. Not a financially viable economic model? Maybe you need a paradigm shift? Rob Lucas and Kevin Driscoll’s preso for K-12 Online, “Toward a System for Online Curriculum-Sharing” offers some great food for thought in this regard. WikiBooks and Wikiversity are also projects worth checking out. I like the tagline of Wikiversity: because knowledge should be free. […]

  4. dbarber59 says:

    Could I ask a question here? My daughter is studying to be a teacher. Part of her curriculum involves a study of computers in the classroom. Would anyone be willing to assist in this study? Please let me know and I’ll send a questionnaire to you. Thanks! Dave Barber

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