Thursday, February 24, 2011

Selling My Course and Reaping a Fortune?

Recently, I heard from a nice gentleman at Michigan Learns Online who expressed an interest in adding my bookless American Government materials to their online resources for teachers, administrators and students.  There would be a small fee involved, which is incidental.  I'd like to do it, but would need to add a few more pieces to the course and find the time to gather all the materials in order to "zip" it to him.

But the whole thing got me thinking more about shifting to a "hybrid" design for American Government.  That is to say, much of the core information for the course has been packaged for my students to be accessed 24/7.  We don't need brick and mortar meetings for "lectures", though of course I still want to use class time for questions and discussion.  Nevertheless, by placing less emphasis on information dissemination in the classroom, I would have more time for experiential learning.

Consequently, I have been floating ideas for projects with other teachers during our professional development meetings.  I call these "pipe dreams" at this point since we a months away from our 2011-12 roles at school, let alone in a position to plan course curriculum.  But here is some of the bait I am trying to use to hook the imaginations of others:

* I already use an elaborate legislative simulation which is technology intensive.  But the interplay among students is limited to our class.  We always include an immigration bill.  Could we possibly shift the game's focus entirely to immigration or Latino issues?  I'd love to collaborate with a Spanish teacher on this!

* One of our PCG teams is working on a media challenge.  It has gotten me thinking.  Wouldn't it me great to assign the students to create political ads?  Could I collaborate with a drama class for on camera talent?  Our "design" wonder-teacher, Susan Smith has already shown an interest in this.

* Our "Reimagine Detroit" team has produced a social justice challenge that Ann Lusch is going to use in her religious studies.  Hey, social justice?  Wouldn't that potentially be a great theme for an interdisciplinary collaboration?  The "Detroit" focus won't quite work for me, but this theme has legs!

* In the same way, our "right to life" group's focus on abortion is far too narrow for even my AP Government class curriculum.  But if we could broaden the life focus to include capitol punishment, end of life issues, or perhaps the social policies that contribute to or mitigate against the desire to get an abortion, I'd have a lot more room to operate in terms of connecting the project with the core curriculum.

My pipe dreams drifted over to my English courses too.  I have enough grounding in German or French films to feel confident in a film course collaboration with a foreign language teacher.  I also modestly believe that if I could convince the drama department to collaborate on Shakespeare, we might create one of the most popular courses in the school.

Do you have any ideas about a joint venture with me?  You certainly don't have to be a Mercy teacher to share a pipe dream or two with me.

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