Edgewood Education Center News
Check out the Channel 12 news feature on the Minnesota Partnership for Collaborative Curriculum. It features Osseo teacher Amy Goodrich and 287 Curriculum Director Jon Voss.
Jan. 28, 2016
On Thursday afternoon at Woodland Elementary in Brooklyn Park, a group of third graders filed back into their classroom. Their teacher, Amy Goodrich, then prepared them for social studies. But this year, she's not using a traditional social studies textbook. Instead, her students have to pair up and use iPads.
"Personally I always had a hard time teaching social studies," Goodrich said. "In a textbook, you always had to find additional things to kind of really bring it alive."
Now, Goodrich has no problem taking a subject, such as the land forms of Egypt, and making it so that her students stay engaged.
"They love using the devices and the freedom with that, that they're able to explore and do their learning on there and then show what they know," Goodrich said.
This particular curriculum is the direct result of a partnership of more than 200 school districts across Minnesota (known as the Minnesota Partnership for Collaborative Curriculum), where teachers get together to create content for courses in grades 3-12.
"It's a crowdsourced effort to create content," said Jon Voss, director of teaching and learning for Intermediate District 287. "But with a strong review process so that the districts can rely on it to use in the classroom, either as a supplement to textbooks or in place of them."
Voss is the project administrator for this digital curriculum initiative.
"So each of the districts contributes a dollar per student, and we create the courses using teams of writers from all of the partner districts," he said.
Saving on textbooks
By creating these digital courses, school districts are able to save money from not having to update textbooks every 5 to 10 years.
"Instead of adopting a text book that cost them $200,000, [a district] paid a team of teachers $20,000 to write the curriculum and then they have it for continued use and again, they can change whatever they need to," Voss said.
It's a relatively new model that, at least for Goodrich's social studies lesson, won't be changing anytime soon.
"Yeah, third-grade social studies. We're in," Goodrich said. "This is our curriculum that we use."
The ultimate goal of the partnering school districts is to create a digital curriculum for 40 courses in math, social studies, science and language arts.