Curriculum development is an area of concern for many schools that have to comply with regulations and meet the standards of the state but also have to align these standards with their values, goals, and methods used. Harmony Public School is one of the educational establishments located in the Houston Texas HISD. The school focuses on math as well as such subjects as science, computer technologies, and engineering. This is a K-12 charter school that aims at preparing students for college. The school has come up with a new curriculum for English (9th grade). This curriculum aims at addressing the focus of the district to improve students’ skills, knowledge, and abilities associated with the use of technology.
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One of the most important characteristic features of the curriculum is its integration of technology. Clearly, such subjects as math or science are closely related to the use of digital resources, but the English curriculum can be quite difficult to bring closer to the use of technology. One of the spheres where technology is linked to the subject is associated with assessment and tests. The school makes extensive use of such software as Study Island that is aimed at helping students to prepare for tests as well as improving their knowledge and skills (Harmony Public Schools, 2016).
As for the curriculum planning and development process, teachers and curriculum writers had in mind the principles of the district’s improvement plan. One of the major provisions of the plan is concerned with the need to increase the use of technology as well as improve students’ digital literacy. The developers of the curriculum started with identifying areas where these principles could be manifested.
The developers identified such areas as research, writing, digital literacy. Therefore, the curriculum was enriched by goals that included the use of technology in research, writing (especially persuasive writing), digital literacy, and so on. As far as the area of digital literacy is concerned, it was decided to focus on sources’ relevance and information credibility that is crucial for the proper use of the Internet during academic research.
It is necessary to note that this curriculum is effective as it enables educators and students to reach their goals. Students receive the necessary skills that can help them in their future academic (as well as professional and personal) life. The use of technology is properly incorporated into the overall curriculum that is consistent with the state standards. Remarkably, students acquire the skills that are required at their level, but they receive a deeper understanding of the way technology can be utilized in the most effective way.
At that, the focus on assessment is one of the flaws of the curriculum. A significant part of the technology use is associated with the preparation for tests and exams. However, this focus is likely to limit students’ knowledge, skills, as well as the thirst for learning and can confine the process to mere answering a set of questions. It can be much more effective to concentrate on the use of technology in academic research and writing as even creative writing can be facilitated by technology.
In conclusion, it is possible to note that Harmony Public School has come up with an effective curriculum for English (9th grade). The curriculum extends students’ knowledge and broadens their horizons associated with the use of technology in language learning. However, the focus on assessment and exams is a considerable downside of this part of the curriculum. The school’s curriculum developers should concentrate on the development of students’ skills and abilities associated with such areas as academic research and writing rather than passing certain exams and taking some tests.
Harmony Public Schools. (2016). English I (9th grade). Web.