At a Glance
Visual Communications instructors at Central Montco Technical High School (CMTHS) created a website designed to help other instructors build a school-wide or class website that can function as an education tool for using interactive, web-based curriculum.
Steven Bross and Fred McCarthy, Visual Communications Instructors at CMTHS, developed a concept for a website that would act as an interactive online textbook for students. Via the website, students would have access to the curriculum, projects, notes, practice tests, and links to program-specific information. This concept, referred to as Intelligent Curriculum, focuses on the need for instructors to build a structured curriculum plan that allows technology to fit naturally into the curriculum, rather than being forced into it.
For Bross and McCarthy, the goal of a classroom website is to put into action an interactive web-based curriculum that allows students to take their education into their own hands. Through the website, teachers would share their class information online and also allow them to pursue other technological tools such as video tutorials, podcasts, online games, blogging, and journaling. Ideally, it even would allow students to take part in the individual program development.
In short, the class website becomes the hub of the educational process. Ideally, students would be able to interact with a lecture through their smart devices and then refer back to the information as needed on their own time.
Origin / Implementation
For the Central Montco administrators and instructors involved in the project, classroom websites are a powerful tool to make learning more accessible and engaging for students. Building a class website allows the instructor to continually develop their curriculum and make it available to students.
Instructors Bross and McCarthy rebuilt the Visual Communications program to work with the Intelligent Curriculum model from about 2005 through 2015. For each class lesson, the website contains the lecture slides, project information, instructional guides, and vocabulary. They also use online tools such as Edmodo and Socrative to interact directly with the students.
As of the 2014-2015 school year, a group of instructors have been meeting during lunch on their own time to develop an Instructional Guide Book. This book is a website that staff members can use to begin building their own class websites. This group of teachers has set a goal to have all teachers curriculum online by the start of the 2017 school year. Currently, there are some test groups to observe how a few extra tablets or large monitors can help the students take the information into the work area. They will be testing this idea in the Culinary and Construction program areas during the 2015-2016 school year.
In the course of their meetings, this working group of teachers also included all the requirements needed by the State and the school administration on the website. For example, each program website has the task list on one of the pages. From that list, each task can be linked to the lesson in which the task is covered. This small example hits about five different sections on the teachers evaluation. In the past, teachers have provided this information on paper.
Results / Impact
During the 2014-2015 school year, instructors Bross and McCarthy started teaching colleagues how to develop their own classroom websites. Instructors from seven of the 14 program areas are taking steps in this direction.
Central Montco Technical High School
Walt Slauch, Administrative Director
Instructional Guide Book:
This also has link to current teacher websites in progress.