Github for lessons… another post

For the best background start here:

(TL,DR: Teachers want a searchable archive but don’t use what’s out there because they either can’t find it or it takes too long to modify to their needs.)

First read: http://chrislusto.com/lessons-for-other-people/

Then: http://blog.mrmeyer.com/2016/why-secondary-teachers-dont-want-a-github-for-lesson-plans 

As someone who has created and shared quite a bit of curriculum, I’m always curious when someone says at a workshop, “I used your xyz activity in my class, thanks!”. As in, did they use it how I thought they would? Did they modify it and make it better? How did they adapt it to their students?

I brought this up on Twitter a few months ago in regards to Google Docs. There are a lot of great resources and links and lessons on Google Docs, but if someone “Makes a Copy” there is not a record of that copy being made. Github on the other hand is a system that would record such differences, but is very difficult to use for the average teacher and doesn’t allow concurrent collaboration on documents, which is important for many teachers working in teams…

There are a few ideas in play here:

  • People want lesson ideas and instructional tags (ie, visual learners, ELL, growth mindset etc) not just lesson plans
  •  Videos of the teachers teaching the specific lessons would be cool
    • Let’s add student work perhaps “Math Mistakes” style too!
    • And blog posts about certain lessons from teachers so teachers can know what to expect before they give it? Is this too, “meta”?
  •  Version control and the ability to show different variants of the same types of lessons that may be useful: Ok, this might be only something I want,
  • A ranking system for the best lessons for a given
  • Topic/Lesson/Unit/Standard/Style of Learning (capitalizing for emphasis) so that lessons can be taught in continuity
  • The best lessons from the so-called MTBOS websites to be updated automatically as well…
  • Not tied to any one LMS or system or format but yet cohesive enough to be cloned and edited from this one interface

Again, as Dan and others mention often teachers are just going to search the night before they do a lesson – goes back to how curriculum mapping is incredibly important in or out of an LMS or public system as well in the long-run.

While my very own company site OpenEd.com is a great source for student-facing assessment and learning content that fits within any LMS (through LTI etc) that you choose and thus the content is not tied to one site or system – but doesn’t have the “ideas” such as three act math tasks, Desmos lessons etc. mentioned in the other blog posts.  However there are enough open tools out there (Drupal? Wiki’s?) I feel like it could be built but is beyond my code knowledge and time scope – and unless it’s easy to use and pretty, teachers won’t use it.

Side note: We’re about to start the Mathematical Mindsets Summer Book Study! Come join us.  

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