You’ve been tasked with selecting a tool to manage your curriculum. Where do you start? Doing an online search, asking your peers at other schools, and looking back at emails and materials you’ve received from vendors and industry professionals are all common activities.
You also may want to begin by talking with your school colleagues and stakeholders to find out what features are most important to them when considering a curriculum management platform.
In this blog, we will focus on several platform features you should consider, as you examine which ones are most critical to your organization.
One factor to consider is the capacity for growth. You may not be ready to bring all your staff on board at the beginning, or you want to begin with a curriculum leadership team writing courses and units. Are you able to add new users to your contract at any given time or only at contract renewal?
Another growth aspect involves curriculum management platforms that have multiple components or modules. Is there flexibility with growing your use of the platform, or do you have to purchase everything? Can different people access different components?
With Eduplanet21, you’re able to start small and think big. If you would like to begin working with a small cohort of leaders and teachers and add additional users when you’re ready, you can do so at any point during your contract. Additionally, you can choose to roll out certain platform modules and then add on when you’re ready. For example, you could choose to begin with Professional Learning and Unit Planner, and later add Course Planner and Curriculum Blueprint.
Next, you will need to think about how and if the platform can support your lesson/unit/course template. If your school/district has its own template, ensuring that the platform you choose can support it is critical. If you’re using a universal template, like Understanding by Design®, you’ll want to ensure that it is either embedded into the software or can be effectively supported.
When considering the template, the output is as important as the input. It is one thing for the template to look nice in the software, but oftentimes the curriculum is not just living on the platform itself. You’ll want to be able to export your lessons, units, and courses. Does the export neatly reflect the formatting of your template in an exported version?
At Eduplanet21, the Understanding by Design® template is embedded right into the software, producing a neatly formatted export when you’re ready for that next step. Eduplanet21 can provide customization and flexibility when it comes to your template. With our Curriculum Blueprint, you can publish selected course documents directly to your school website, offering curriculum transparency with the click of a button.
Depending on where you’ve been housing your curriculum up until this point, chances are you have had to copy and paste or write your standards into your planning documents. Many curriculum management systems eliminate this cumbersome task by having national and state standards and goal sets readily available in drop-down menus.
While this is great on its own, you should also think about the specific needs of your school/district. If there is a standard or goal set that your school/district needs, is the platform able to get those in quickly for you? Are you able to add standard and goal sets that may be specific to your school/district?
The Eduplanet21 platform has hundreds of national and state standard sets readily available in the platform. Anything you may need that isn’t there is added for you during the onboarding process. If you have any school/district-specific goals, such as portrait of a graduate, we can make them available in drop-down menus. Eduplanet21 also allows you to prioritize standards, allowing for a more thorough and efficient curriculum mapping process.
When creating your curriculum in Google Docs, or something similar, the ability to analyze that curriculum is non-existent. As you explore platform options, you’ll want to make sure that they can meet your analysis needs. Are you able to run reports to check for vertical and horizontal alignment? Are you able to see your gaps and redundancies?
With Eduplanet21, you’re able to run frequency reports to see where your gaps and redundancies are - not just for standards but for any other learning goals you may have. We also offer a comprehensive Unit Status Report that is an in-depth look at curriculum completion.
Providing professional learning that directly supports curriculum development and design is something often overlooked. Do you have the capacity to offer professional learning from K12 experts that support the curriculum writing that you are doing? How will your team learn about writing curriculum, creating performance tasks, ways to differentiate effectively, and/or integrating social-emotional learning (to name a few) into their curricular units?
Eduplanet21’s curriculum management platform offers asynchronous professional learning that directly supports curriculum writing. These professional learning institutes can be personalized in content and delivery. It’s a true learn-and-apply model - as teachers work through professional learning modules, they can apply what they learn to their curriculum writing. Not to mention - your team learns from world-renowned experts like Carol Ann Tomlinson, Jay McTighe, and Bena Kallick, to name a few!
Implementing a new platform school or district-wide is no small task and is definitely not one that should be taken on alone. While most platforms offer general troubleshooting support, you’ll want to think about whether that will be sufficient or not in successfully implementing a curriculum management platform with faculty. Explore what services are provided, and what additional services are available to ensure success.
At Eduplanet21, each customer is assigned a designated Customer Success Manager (CSM) to support you in taking on our curriculum management platform. Their role is to set you up with an implementation plan, train you on how to use the platform effectively, and set up periodic touchpoints to ensure you are meeting your goals.
When researching curriculum management software and platforms, consider any current concerns or pain points you are having across the school/district. Using those concerns and the features discussed above will help you pinpoint the platform that best fits your needs.
Selecting a curriculum management platform may seem overwhelming. However, with the right platform and team, you can create a powerful management tool for teachers and leaders to develop an engaging and meaningful curriculum.
Brittany Haines is a Customer Success Manager with Eduplanet21, working with schools and districts to effectively design and manage their curriculum. She is a graduate of York College of Pennsylvania with degrees in Human Services and Spanish. Brittany is pursuing her MEd in Language, Culture, and Curriculum at Loyola University of Chicago.
Courtney Udanis is a Sales Associate with Eduplanet21, talking with schools and districts around the world who are searching for a curriculum management solution. She is a graduate of Penn State University with a degree in Elementary Education.