The care and feeding of living curriculum

December 18, 2005 § Leave a comment

Redmond WA, USA

Curriculum is a big deal for Curriculum on basic IT skills. Entrepreneurship and management. Community development and grassroots marketing. Curriculum for people who come into telecentres, and curriculum to train people who run telecentres. These are all things that needs to either develop or distribute.

The problem with curriculum in areas like these is that it gets stale fast. Big training guidebooks like the Telecentre Cookbook are great when they are written, but new practices and technologies quickly emerge that make them outdated. More importantly, trainers immediately start to adapt and innovate on top of these materials as soon as they get them – yet these innovations rarely make it back into the original guidebook.


This problem is, of course, also a huge opportunity. What if telecentre trainers had way to easily share their adaptations? What if there was a good way to integrate those adaptations back into the ‘big guidebook? What if we had a way to encourage the care and feeding of living curriculum? The result would certainly be something richer and more useful than what we have now.

I had a fun meeting at Microsoft yesterday where we dug into these questions. The meeting was with a number of people involved in managing the Microsoft Unlimited Potential Curriculum, which is one of many curriculum collections that will be available on the web site. The Microsoft folks are asking the same questions I am: how do we capture and share the innovation that happens on top of this curriculum? It’s not clear what they want to do yet on this front (nor is it clear what will do). However, there was enough energy in our spirited conversation that we’ve agreed to dig deeper into this ‘care and feeding’ question.

I should say, there are a number of people I’ve been talking to recently about this issue – people working on both telecentres and schools. It may be time to convene a small meeting to talk about concrete ways we could experiment with some sort of training commons.

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