Online Curriculum Selection – Thinking It Through

Selecting a curriculum to serve the needs of your students today, tomorrow, and beyond can be a daunting task.

There really is no short cut for providing students the instruction and practice in reading. The GED® Test is a reading based test and will continue to be a reading based test with the launch of the 2014 Assessment. Students must develop the critical reading skills necessary to pass the test, and to move forward into career and college. This requires the ability to read long passages, text heavy websites, textbooks, and/or training materials. The i-Pathways Project does not provide our instruction through animations and videos. Rather, the animations and videos we create and select support the intended instruction that is text based. We have had many internal conversations about the best way to integrate multi-media into our curriculum, and with our updated content for the 2014 Test, our users will see more instructionally appropriate media used. However, that does not change our fundamental belief that our students must read. They must read complex text and interact with the materials that they have read. The videos and animation that we will intersperse into the content will support the reading material.

It is the belief of the i-Pathways education team that a curriculum that relies heavily on videos and animation for the teaching content is missing a critical instructional opportunity. A potential GED® student may find a video and animation approach easier – engaging in a video presentation of content does not require the amount of work that reading the content involves. However, one must examine longer-term goals for our students. We are here to not only prepare them for a test but also to provide students with a skill set that will result in success on a test that requires reading for approximately 8 hours and then also beyond that for a productive life beyond our classroom walls.

The i-Pathways Team encourages you to review a few resources when making a decision about the curriculum that best fits your instructional needs. First, this video reflects the reading crisis – and supports our instructional approach in providing students with a variety of complex and appropriate tests.

Next, check out the Common Core Standards in depth.

The standards are all written around the students’ ability to engage in and read a diverse set of complex text. Also check out our previous blog entry

As you compare any curriculum, please consider how the content is presented. ‘Easier’ content may be a hit with students, as we are dealing with a YouTube generation, though will easier really get our students to be college and career ready? Will it give them the practice in reading for the required 8 hours that it will take to pass the GED® test?

Here is a comparison chart that those exploring new curriculum might want to consider using to help make a sound decision about the direction in which to take their program. This will help to make sure that all bases are covered when investing in something as important as the learning materials used to prepare students for not only the test, but life beyond the test.

When selecting the appropriate curriculum that fits your instructional goals and student needs, there are a few final technical thoughts to consider. There is a great deal of discussion about mobile learning and Internet access. As far as our students having access to the Internet, downloading videos to a mobile device can actually cost students tremendously as data plans can be very limited.

  • Will your students be able to fully engage in your program with mobile technology if it will cost them?
  • What about access to high speed Internet?
  • If a student has an older computer or limited connectivity, how will they engage in video based instruction?
  • Is the curriculum accessible for learners with disabilities?
  • Are the videos scripted for a deaf or blind student?
  • Can a student with limited mobility navigate the curriculum?
  • Do students have the appropriate Internet speed to download content that is based on video and animation?

If the objective of using a distance learning curriculum is to provide learners with access to content away from your program’s facility, then looking at the technical issues is as important as the curriculum.

One thought on “Online Curriculum Selection – Thinking It Through

  1. I agree with the above statement, but many times students have little success in reading because they do not have the background information or the vocabulary to understand it. If by using multimedia they gain background knowledge, they will then read better, Using multimedia along with text based instruction gives the best hope for the struggling student.

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