Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Group Activity 5 - Curriculum focus of a recent case

As discussed in the notes there are THREE types of curriculum focus:

- Single subject focus
- Thematic focus
- School-wide focus

We may study the IPPUT cases that have the above subject focus, and understand more about each type of focus first.

I suggest to use, again the Maine's "Laptop Program" case, and analyse it in terms of its curriculum focus.


  1. I read from the M2 database. From the three types of curriculum focus, some example cases are identified.

    Below is my brief summary:

    Single subject focus:
    Based on the lecture notes, cases in this group focus on one particular subject. ICT is used to improve students' understanding of subject contents and concepts.

    CN003: Focus on Art subject; ICT is used to teach students' drawing skills

    KR004: Focus on Earth Science; ICT is used for communication and information searching, and for producing simulation experiments in a technology lab.

    My view is that, these cases are very focus. Teaching practices are on specific subject areas, and use of ICT is concerned with that subject too.

  2. Thematic focus:
    Based on the lecture notes, cases in this group focus on cross-disciplinary subjects. ICT is used to facilitate the implementation of life-long learning.

    AU001: Focus on cross-disciplinary subjects; ICT is used in planning, teaching and learning phrase.

    DE007: Focus on Biology, Economics, and Civics. ICT is used for writing, creative works, and for information searching in some project works.

    These cases include teaching of multiple subjects. Use of ICT is to facilitate students' learning process, but not about the subject contents.

  3. Finally, the school-wide focus:
    ICT is included in the whole school curriculum (not just a theme).

    AU004: Students work in groups and perform ICT based activities; students also determine their own learning schedules and strategies

    NO004: Students are involved in own learning process and the learning program. ICT is used in the activities that concerns with the school curriculum.

    I think there cases are of larger scale. Also, unlike the thematic cases, these cases are concerned with the school's curriculum and students participated in designing their own learning progress using ICT.

  4. Some comments about the Maine's "Laptop Program" about the curriculum focus:

    In Maine, students worked in groups and carry out project work. I think that the curriculum focus is not "single subject based". Projects included are of cross-disciplinary - subjects related could be art, science or language subjects.

    Regarding the ICT used, as each students were provided a laptop computer for their project work, students use ICT for information search, writing, and producing creative works (similar to DE007 above).

    Yet, the "Laptop Program" is also a school-wide project (not limited to a theme) - each students are given a laptop, which realizes the school's view on teaching and learning.

    I believe the "Laptop Program" can be seen as having "school-wide" focus.

  5. Based on Ken's analysis of single subject focus
    thematic focus and school-wide focus, I would like to compare the application of three types of curriculum. In general, the less a certain courses focuses on, the easier for students to catch the major points. So single subject focus curriculum may be suitable to students in relatively low grade while thematic and school-wide focus curriculum may be more suitable to those who are in high level.

  6. Also, Maine's initial project focused on an ethos of education and tech integration which can be seen as a forerunner of Apple's Challenge Based Learning project http://ali.apple.com/cbl/ . Often called enquiry based learning in non-Apple environments, this method urges students to tackle real-life authentic issues, be they global or local, and work on designing solutions to them.

    New Media Consortium review of CBL from 2008 can be read here; http://goo.gl/sR5Dx

  7. In Maine “Laptop Program”, students worked together in their group project. In my opinion, Maine’s case should mainly belong to the school-wide curriculum focus! However, other ‘one-to-one laptop program’, it can fulfill to single-subject based curriculum focus if the student work together through laptop to do a single discipline subject project. Projects can be cross-disciplinary and multiple-theme OR just concentrate on one subject-based. “Laptop” is just a tool to use to it that allow learners to connect, collaborate, and create with other learners, mind-to-mind, anywhere and anytime to work with each other! So I think ‘one-to-one laptop’ can work through those three curriculum focusing!

  8. It seems the Apple's CBL (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Challenge-Based_Learning) that based on Problem-based Learning (PBL) on its root. However, CBL is a better way that can share their learning experience between teachers and students by working together to fix and tackle problem, find out solution to the real trouble case and take suitable action on it as well!

  9. Although the later two types of "focus" seems more complex and many abilities are expected to be developed ,does it mean that they are more innovative?
    Personally, I think it depends on the effects, in other words, what students get from the courses.

  10. Yes, I agree with what Jacqueline has said. I think how innovative a practice is would not be determined based on the curriculum focus. Even subject-related curriculum can be designed to be an innovative learning practice to students.