1950s-1980s Reflections

Franchetta Beckford

You would have to have a wide lens to capture all the events of the 1970’s. This decade experienced the disappointment of losing a president to impeachment, desegregation controversies, and the promise of educational and technological reform due to Sputnik’s influence. What I found interesting was learning how teacher organizations and NOW seem to have gained strength simultaneously. Could it be because women dominated the profession? Possibly. A panoramic view of this decade symbolized an inclusion of students who were formerly out of the picture: black, special education, and bilingual students. It took a great deal of legal muscle and money to see educational reform in the 1970's, but giving every learner an even-level playing field was worth the cost.

Bonnie Green

I would not call this assignment a “Wiki Wonderland”! However, I would affirm that being a part of the development of the History of Curriculum Wiki has been quite a significant learning experience. The technology aspect of the Wiki, although not extremely difficult, did require a great deal of practice. I am a visual kinesthetic, learner so I found value in actually jumping into the activity and learning by doing. I also enjoyed the research component of the project because I have discovered so much more about the decade of the sixties. I just THOUGHT I knew what happened in education and society in the 60’s prior to the Wiki, but I have become engrossed in knowing more about the changes that were taking place across America during this time. Consequently, I spent SEVERAL hours working on this assignment. My studies enabled me to question and ascertain the reasons for curriculum and educational reform during the decade. I now have such a better understanding of how social reforms changed education. Some of these were for better, others for worse.

I have had the opportunity to gain insightful information on the history of curriculum development, social and educational reform, and progression from my own research and the studies performed by my classmates. As many of my colleagues state in their own Wiki page reflections, I also understand the tremendous value of this curriculum project and feel like I have a worthy product that will be usable and significant to others who view my pages and artifacts. However, being the "teacher" that I am, I feel a passion to continuously revise my Wiki pages to add more information as I discover it.

Clay Jolly

The idea of being able to implement an assignment like this one into my classes is very exciting. In fact, after receiving the initial assignment, I shared it with my colleagues in social science and they took the assignment and adapted it for a school wide project for Black History Month. It was a great deal of work for them as they had to finagle some of the technological aspects of the assignment to accommodate the censoring software used in our network. The work that we, my group for Mercer, put into the assignment was sizable and we were able to fully use the wikispaces page. A project of this magnitude deserves a great deal of investigation and discussion. It was a learning experience that required a lot of hours and tutorial experiences to make sure that it was done correctly.

I would have rather had some training using the tool first before building the page. It seemed that some of the time that I spent on the page was wasted because of my ignorance of the tool. However, this really did force me to learn how to use the tool. Unfortunately, I cannot use it to it's maximum potential with my students. I will, however, consider using this medium for future projects and presentations throughout this cohort. I prefer this tool over the powerpoint presentation as I know that we will probably never use keynote, which is the Mac tool.

I wished that I had had more time to really polish the final product and make sure that everything was exactly as I wanted and everything that I wanted to use was included. There came a point where I just had to stop and allow it to be done. I will probably still go back to this first example with wiki and fix the things that can be better just so that I can really be especially proud of it and so that I can properly understand all the features of the tool. I will certainly continue to use it in the future.

Kelly Jones

For me, a wiki is much less about technology (since the tools are pretty much built in and easy to use) and much more about organizing information. I spent many, many more hours that I anticipated locating sources and searching for primary sources, but that kind of research was great practice. I hope my pages turned out to be extensions of the textbook. It seems to me that using a wiki assignment for that purpose would encourage students to read deeper and spend time building the content they learned from the book into a multimedia data source. I can honestly say that I learned much more about the 1950's than I would have from just reading books. Seeing photos, reading Rosa Park's arrest record, finding the full text of Bloom's taxonomy instead of learning the summary of steps, watching commercials from the time period, and viewing video footage from Brown vs. Board of Education was a multi-faceted experience.

The most challenging part, of course, is finding a stopping point. There is so much to cover, and there are so many amazing resources available online. If this project did not have a deadline it would be almost impossible to declare the pages "finished." I imagine that the dissertation process is going to feel a lot like that, too. In fact, I have decided to build a wiki to help me stay organized as I begin to research my dissertation topic. Not to organize journal articles (that's what RefWorks is for), but to organize all the other data like links and web sites and books to be read. It's great to have access to a project without needing a flash drive and you can access a wiki from any computer (unless your school IT administrators have blocked access). It is such a shame that resources like WikiSpaces are being blocked by so many schools.