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School Implementation 2010

During our third year, we started working closely with teachers of Catholic High School (CHS) as their secondary 1 Geography was starting 6 months (January 2010) earlier than Xinmin Secondary School (XSS) (July 2010). Aims of the curriculum design were:

  • to help learners understand and advance their own resources (i.e., experiences and ideas) as epistemic communities and
  • to engage learners in meaning-making and experiential learning activities that integrates a computer game and other tools. 
We use the term “integrated” as the computer game is one of the tools that help connecting various concepts, ideas, and experiences. We hoped that this approach encourage learners to create their own academic discourse and build ideas together, so that they can learn the geographic subject matter deeply and with understanding, as opposed to rote memorization. With these aims, we set out principles for our design of curriculum:
  1. engage them in group activities (developing epistemic communities);
  2. start with open-ended questions that could encourage the use of their preconceptions and their own approaches (setting up the meaningfulness of the topic);
  3. engage them in activities that provide relevant experience (using game or other tools)
  4.  require them to produce group or individual artifacts (encouraging their ownership of the process and product);
  5.  develop a sharing mechanism of the class (encouraging making their ideas public and further conversations); 
  6.  and engage them in consolidation and linking activities (understanding the connections and gaining confirmation about their ideas).

For our implementations, instead of using such fundamentally different approaches in few lessons, we, together with teachers, decided to work together for the entire durations of Secondary 1 geography curriculum. We believed that changing the classroom culture and developing an epistemic community could not happen with just few lessons. At the same time, we gain design knowledge by being in the classroom and seeing what engages them in relation to our designs.