Transforming Strategy

The major technical barrier for instituting CT into the K-12 curriculum is the political complexity of the curriculum development process. Curriculum is the result of the influence of a number communities, both internal and external to the school district, as shown in Figure F.3.

*Operations = Instruction + Management

ï Superintendent ï Administrative Staff ï Teachers

*Operations = Instruction + Management

ï Superintendent ï Administrative Staff ï Teachers

Figure F.3. The curriculum communities.

The CT Initiative must identify and work with all the appropriate K-12 communities to successfully create and integrate new curriculum — perhaps addressing a K-16 continuum. While teacher institutes occasionally can be useful, participatory partnering in real curriculum development promises to leave a lasting mark on more students and faculty. It is key to successful curriculum development to put together a coalition of teachers, administrators, students, parents, local citizens, universities, and industry for curriculum development. The virtual lack of any interdepartmental or cross-discipline courses in K-12 curricula is indicative of the gap that must be bridged to teach CT.

From the CT Initiative, courses can be created, but for curriculum development, the courses must be institutionalized or put into the context of the other courses in the school district. This institutionalization requires the involvement and support of the entire range of communities shown in Figure F.3.

There are approximately 50 million K-12 students in 15,000 school districts in the United States, its territories, and the District of Columbia. Reaching these districts or students individually would be virtually impossible. Rather, a major strategy should be to take advantage of the leverage available through impacting the national science education standards and emerging state standards (Figure F.4). At the national level, development and inclusion of CT curriculum involves development of national CT standards as a part of the national science education standards developed by the National Resource Council (NRC 1995). CT scientists should work for a regular review of the current standards and be prepared to provide CT standards as members of the review and standards committees.

Locally Taught Curriculum

CT Leverage Points (Proposed)

National Science Education Standards

Locally Taught Curriculum

/56 State LevelN Entities____/

State Standards and Assessments

National Science Education Standards

Figure F.4. Relationships between national and state standards and local school districts.

Because there is no U.S. national curriculum, having national CT standards serves only an advisory function. For these standards to be used in curriculum development, they need to be accepted by state boards of education in development of their separate state standards (Figure F.3 and Figure F.4). Each state must then have courses available that meet the standards it adopts. Many states have developed statewide assessments or tests for various subjects. A major step toward implementation of CT curricula would be positioning CT questions on statewide science assessment tests.

Complementary to the development of a K-12 curriculum per se is the development of a CT mentality in the general population and in the next generation of teachers and parents. Thus, development of CT courses at colleges in general, and in their teacher preparation departments in particular, is desirable.

Thus the transforming strategy for educational content has the following components:

• Influence over the National Science Education Standards (NRC)

• Development of CT science content standards

• Development of CT courses for K-12 to support the CT standards

• Influence on each state's science standards and assessment instruments

• Development of CT courses for schools of education and in the general education of the next generation of university students

• Development, in cooperation with a writer of children's books, of "early reader" (ages 1-5) books containing CT concepts

Ethics

There will be ethical issues that arise regarding the ability to analyze each child's capacity to learn and develop. Categorization of humans relating to their abilities, and perhaps to their inferred potential in any area, may challenge many of our Western traditions and ethical values.

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