Case Study 1- A Teacher and CROP
CROP Case Study #1 -
An Introduction to 21st Century Curriculum Development
A Unit Plan Problem
First, read the directions. If you later need
to recall these directions, scroll back to this point and take these text links, including How to Use This Case Study Web Page. Correlations
with NC's teacher/faculty computer competencies are also available. You may find it useful to print out the text which narrates the actions in the tutorial videoclips.
If you know which videoclip demonstration you want, you can go there directly
instead of scrolling by clicking on its number below:
Evoke 24 25 26
27 28 29 Assess
30 31 32 33
34 Publish/Perform 35 36
Mrs. Morris had a curriculum problem. She had a unit plan coming up
again on Asia that she did last year that was required by the state curriculum
guidelines in North Carolina. Though she chose to focus on China, she did
not feel as comfortable with this social studies topic as she did with
other subjects that she taught in her third grade class. Mrs. Morris was
not sure if it was just the content, or if it was the methods that she
used, and planned to reconsider both. She wished to update her unit plan
while using the most current and powerful information systems at her disposal.
That is, she wanted her desktop computer to be of more use to her. To guide
her curriculum development, she chose the CROP web site and its four stages
of problem solving: Look, Evoke, Assess and Publish. The process and problems
that she encounters are universal to a wide variety of educational settings.
- 1. How To: Connect to the Internet using
the Netscape Application.
To help work through her concerns, she found software that connected
her to the Internet.
How To: Reach the CROP site.
Once connected, she linked to the CROP web site. CROP is a set of
online and desktop resources for both personal problem solving and working
with groups of people in a team or teams to solve problems. Her needs at
the moment are personal to her classroom. She reads the explanatory information
about the basic idea of CROP again just to review its basic design.
3. How To: Make a Bookmark in Netscape.
Realizing that she is coming here more and more frequently, she makes
a bookmark to the site. From this computer, the bookmark will allow her
to return to this site with a single click at any time.
How To: Find Higher Order Questions.
Knowing that a clear statement of the question speeds her work, she
takes the link to the THINK branch and calls up and browses a list of question
formats and their definitions for higher order thinking: recall, analysis,
comparison and so forth. Comparison! How does China compare with the United
States? That's it. Though they could repeat facts about China and the United
States, Mrs. Morris recalls that her students had trouble in making comparisons
between China and the United States. She will need to present more about
the structure of and response to comparison questions. The material also
reminds her that comparison is about both similarities and differences.
Her students also need better ways to put information together for making
comparisons. As she searches for current information on China, she will
look harder for information categories in which one can more clearly make
How To: Explore LEAP.
Now that her question has focused her efforts, she is ready to work
on answering this question. She clicks on the LEAP link. LEAP is an acronym
for a process: Look, Evoke, Assess, Publish. Each letter leads to a different
set of activities and tools. LEAP is a distillation of problem solving
processes in many fields.
How To: Study Concepts in Problem Solving.
Mrs. Morris begins by Looking for information. She finds that it
helps to look at the phrases and words from many different fields of learning
which focus the process of looking for information. She calls up this LEAP
comparison table and scans it for concepts that will assist her looking.
She notes the different terms that different fields use for the activity
of Looking for information. In her Unit Plan she will use terminology appropriate
to to the field of her Unit Plan on China, social sciences.
How To: Make a Folder on a Diskette.
Knowing that she will be collecting information in a word processing
file and perhaps saving other files as well, Mrs. Morris makes a folder
on her diskette to place her collection of files. She can close and open
this window to her disk at any time. To remove her disk from the computer,
she would drag it to the trash can. This does not erase it. This process
only ejects it.
How To: Make a Word Processor File, Save it, and Place it.
Next, Mrs. Morris opens a word processor window and resizes the window.
The word processor window will hold the information she copies from the
Internet. When you work with more than one window, windows can be resized
so that they are overlapping. This means that some part of every window
you are using is visible on the screen. If your screen pointer can touch
any part of any window, no matter how many windows are in front of it,
it will be brought to the front (e.g., top of the stack). These windows
are metaphors for pieces of paper. So, these computer windows are like
different pieces of paper. As long as you can see any corner or part of
a piece of paper, you can pick it up and place it on top so that you can
work with the information on it. Mrs. Morris sets her two windows so that
she can see big parts of both her Internet (Netscape) window and her word
processing window. Which ever window she clicks on with her screen pointer
will come to the top.
How To: Make a Word Processor File and
Prepare it for Work with the Internet
How To: Save Your Word Processing and Place
it in a Folder
How To: Find a University Web Site.
Mrs. Morris wants more direct contact with experts themselves, most
notably those with expertise in China. She has learned the critical advantage
of direct contact over reading an article on China. An expert can quickly
size up a situation and provide a highly focused response targeted to Mrs.
Morris's needs. The experts can do this efficiently because they will be
able to ask questions of Mrs. Morris if they do not understand what she
is asking. That is, human experts can change their comments if they do
not fit Mrs. Morris's questions. Stored media cannot do this this. The
ability to open a two-way channel of communication is what distinguishes
connecting people directly versus using different information media stored
and accessed in various ways. Using some of the search tools on the People
Direct web page, Mrs. Morris tried to find email for the American Ambassador
to China but failed. She decides to find a University with a strong program
in the Pacific area. As Stanford University is well known and is in a state
bordering the Pacific, she seeks its web address in the People Direct section
The topmost segment of the Look pyramid contains tools for directly
contacting human beings. This thought reminds her to set a meeting with
the building librarian to review any new source material that has come
to the library. They meet and conclude that they have several references
for the United States that will be useful in making comparisons but the
China resources are a bit dated. She decides to go hunting for current
As she looks for data and information, the pyramid icon and structure
of the web pages reminds her that information comes in different qualities.
Her strategy is to start at the top of the pyramid, and depending on how
well the searches go towards the top of the pyramid, she may or may not
need to work through to the bottom-most layer. That is, a variety of search
tools are sorted and listed in a special order. They are placed in rough
order of the amount of human intelligence that is available or used in
the organizing and storing of the information. Such information could be
referred to as reflected information. The most reflected or highest quality
information is available through links at the top of the pyramid while
the quantity of information increases as one moves towards the bottom of
How To: Find Faculty Contact Information.
Having found a relevant University, she finds the name of a faculty
member who teaches about China, but this web page does not give his email
address. She copies into her China notes word processing file the information
about the expert she just found. She saves this file to the China Project
folder in her disk. She will return again and again to this word processor
file to add further information in the days ahead. She will be organizing
the file as the data in it grows.
How To: Find and Save Email Data.
Given the information she has found, there is another way to proceed.
Once she knows his name, she returns to the Stanford home page and looks
for a Directory link. Following these links, she finds a place to enter
his name. When the computer system has looked up his email address and
made it visible, this email address and other contact information is also
copied to her word processor file.
She has now found a no-cost way to interact with a Professor at
Stanford University with a specialty in Chinese Art, and his email address.
Later, she will add the names of two or three more people on different
campuses as backup resource people.
How To: Find a LISTSERV.
The Internet has also formed communities of people who trade email
on topics of interest. These developments are known as email conferences
and come in two forms, LISTSERVs and newsgroups. These will come in handy
later as further questions arise. When questions occur that stump the class
and their current resources, she will may take the student's questions
and using her own email account, send it to the email conference. Using
search engines, she searches tens of thousands of these global communities.
First Mrs. Morris searches for LISTSERVs that discuss China.
How To: Find a Newsgroup.
Using roughly the same path of links, she next searches for newsgroups.
For now, she collects contact and subscription information for the conferences.
She will have to carry out other steps later to actually see the email
being traded among those participating in the conference.
How To: Organize with an Outline Processor
She adds all these addresses to her word processing file, China Notes,
and organizes them under various headings, such as Email Contacts and Email
Conferences. Later, she will contact or interact with the people she has
How To: Find Juvenile (Children's) Literature Online
The Library of Congress is the planet's largest library, but it
is but one of thousands that you can access.
Find Major Libraries e.g., the Library
Find and Use Telnet to Connect.
Telnet is one of the original Internet applications along with FTP applications
and email. There is a version of Telnet that works with any speed modem
and nearly any vintage and brand of computer. Netscape may be used to start
up the Telnet program, but it is still independent of Netscape and not
necessary to run Netscape if you know the address of your destination.
In this case, the address you enter into telnet is locis.loc.gov without
any closing punctuation.
Set Up to Capture Data.
Search the Library of Congress.
Quitting LOCIS and Telnet.
Other online resources are also available. A middle section of Look's Tool
Pyramid provides access to paper and other non-computer publications generally
found in libraries. These publications contain information approved by
committees and editors anxious to keep the reputation of their publication
in the highest regard. Mrs. Morris first looked for stories about China
at the interest level of her students. Online links connect her to libraries
for which she can search for juvenile and children's literature and the
subject of China. For now she is interested in books, at another time she
will hunt for articles. The references that she finds (e.g., citations)
are copied and saved and will be shared with the building librarian or
media specialist who will be able to find and make available many of these
items at the time of the unit's presentation.
How To: Find Quality Child-Rated Web
The lower level of the Look Pages' Tool Pyramid connects to resources
that are immediately available over the globe's computer network called
the Internet. This level provides the greatest quantity of information
for immediate access. But it can be of lower quality than the previous
higher levels of the pyramid. She will need to more critically analyze
what she finds here than in higher levels of this pyramid.
This bottom level in turn has its own prioritized layers. In fact, it
could be thought of as having its own pyramid structure. At the top of
this section of the pyramid are search engines (e.g., search systems) which
contain reviews and ratings of qualified web sites in their databases.
This is called the refereed sub-section. Mrs. Morris searches her favorite,
Magellan, for sites with four star ratings. She visits these links to see
if they are truly appropriate for her students and then saves selected
sites as bookmarks. If she needs even more information she will use other
web search tools further down in other sub-sections, such as the Catalog
and the Robot systems sub-sections.
How To: Gather Further Email Addresses
of Experts and Consultants
When visiting one of the sites, she discovers an interesting email
address. She adds it to her collection of experts in her China Notes word
processing file. She and her students can contact them as further questions
arise during the unit when she and her class cannot together find the answer.
Moving Bookmarks to Disk and Back
How To: Save a Set of Bookmarks to Diskette.
How To: Import/Restore a Set of Bookmarks
For every web page of value to her students, Mrs. Morris continues
to use the bookmark feature. This stores the electronic addresses of these
high interest web pages as a list for quick later use. She can order this
list any way she likes and delete bookmarks which turn out to be of lesser
value as better ones are found. However, her students will also be using
her classroom computer. Bookmarks can be deleted from the bookmark list
as easily as they can be added. Fortunately, the bookmarks can be saved
to a disk and later imported (added) back into her web browser as she needs
them. That way, she will always have her entire collection of work available
to restore any missing links.
How To: Search a Web Catalog Search System.
The web pages commercials are distracting, but she learns to ignore
them the same way she does with TV commercials. She searches Yahoo for
a couple of bookmarks.
HowTo: Search a Web Robot based System
Next she searches a robot system, Lycos, but the immense number of
references is intimidating. She simply records the number of references
to share with students how immense the web has become. She makes a mental
note that searching for China plus something more specific based on student
questions would be of interest later during the unit.
How To: Print.
A significant number of resources have now been collected. To better organize
her efforts, Mrs. Morris keeps a notebook for this unit. Returning to her
word processing file, China Notes, she adds a title, boldfaces and centers
it, adds the current date and prints it out.
How To: Annotate a Netscape Bookmark.
She opens the bookmark file and annotates it briefly. She includes
the web page address in the annotation, so that when it prints, she and
others will be able to see the actual electronic addresses. In this way,
others can use her printouts, type in the addresses manually and arrive
at the same locations.
How To: Save and Print Out Bookmarks.
Then, she also prints out her bookmarks on China. The printouts are
3-hole punched and inserted into the notebook. She compares this year's
printout of four star web sites with last year's and notes with satisfaction
that the list has grown significantly. However, she knew to expect that,
given the 10-20% a month growth and the rate of change of the information
on the Internet.
Problem for Reflection: The principal has asked for her budget
recommendations, given her increased understanding of the power of computers.
But there is not sufficient funding to put both books and networked computers
in every student's hands. Yet the single computer in the classroom appears
to leave significant advantage to the children from families with the knowledge
and wealth to have a networked computer at home. What should she recommend?
How To: Find the Evoke section of LEAP
Using her bookmark to CROP she returns to its LEAP page. Having completed
many activities at the Look stage, Mrs. Morris is ready to move to another
phase of problem solving. She moves to the Evoke stage, the composition
phase. It is time for more complete compositions using the data she has
collected. Mrs. Morris has had her interest in learning more about China
raised significantly. That is, her research has evoked a greater interest
in China. Her challenge is now to compose activities within her unit plan
that evoke the same response in her students. She looks over the set of
tools in the Evoke section to remind herself of a range of possibilities.
She decides to continue to use the word processor she already knows and
to use a spreadsheet which she has begun to learn to use. The CROP site
merely reminds her of the tools available at the Evoke level. New application
ideas are continually being added at CROP. She may or may not use these
Evoke links. If she does use these links, she will also need to have the
application programs of this web page on her computer and to have used
the Options menu to prepare Netscape to activate these applications on
her computer. Otherwise, she can use the standard operating system.
How To: Use a Spreadsheet.
She does recognize that she wants to emphasize comparison this time and
that the rows and columns of a spreadsheet will be an excellent way to
organize those ideas in tables for comparison. Further, it will introduce
the use of spreadsheet without the higher level of intimidation that immediate
mathematical activities will raise in her students while they learn something
new. Again, the spreadsheet she and her class could have available may
be different than the one that can be activated from the CROP site, but
that is not an issue. She merely finds and runs the spreadsheet of her
How To: Modify Netscape to Run a
If she and the building computer support person agrees, they could
buy a site license to these programs found at the CROP site and then set
up their computers so that a click at the web site will start up that application
on their desktop computers. Or they could create a bookmark to their own
web page of desktop applications used in their lab. Either way, this would
eliminate a step for students in finding the application that they need
for their work.
How To: Find and Copy Web Page Text -
a Model for a Unit Plan.
She also realizes that in her research she answered a couple of personal
questions about China while she was building her list of resource material.
She concludes that the process of generating questions of personal interest
and working to answer them is a useful element in stimulating or evoking
interest and engagement with and about China, and perhaps any topic. She
plans to work this concept into her unit assignments and lesson plans.
At the moment she just needs a template to a unit plan to quickly fill
in some of the thoughts about her unit. For a moment she returns to the
Look section of CROP and scrolls to its education section. There she clicks
on Unit Plans and copies a template for one. Having done so, she realized
she made a mistake. This text was not in outline format and she prefers
the power of the outline. Since she has the Clarisworks application, she
will need to try that again, but choose a different link.
How To: Create a First Draft of Her Unit Plan.
Depending on which link she chooses, she either copies and pastes this
unit plan into her word processor or the Internet gives her a file already
in the format of her word processor. From here she will begin to type in
a first draft of her own thoughts and plans. She begins this first draft
by inserting into this outline the collection of information she has previously
gathered from the Internet and saved on her diskette.
How To: Find the State's Curriculum Objective
As she types she realizes that she does not have a copy of the state's
objectives. Needing to review the state's requirements for the grade level
of her unit plan, she uses the link in CROP to bring up the curriculum
matrix and check out the details. After initial exploring, she will find
the third grade social studies curriculum page.
She will copy and paste the relevant, goals, objectives and competencies
of her unit plan into growing Unit Plan Outline.
Problem for Reflection: Mrs. Morris can easily find a large
quantity of information on China. Yet though her students like to read
and to listen to her, they also like to compose and organize information.
They are also interested in doing these activities at the computer. Teaching
computer skills though is very time consuming, especially with limited
computer access. How should she balance the time students spend among these
Feedback is a critical part of the problem solving and composing process.
But email messages have a short "shelf life" on the Internet email conferences.
Often but a few days will pass and then they will disappear to make room
for new messages. CROP's SUP database ensures that questions and answers
to interesting questions remain in a stable location. There are both non-computer
and computer models at the CROP site to ensure more frequent and deeper
assessment of ideas.
How To: Model Online Interaction Without Computer Technology.
On the CROP site there is a set of steps for using
tagboard and cards to simulate Internet activity, a Poster Internet.
This process has direct and immediate benefit to ongoing class study. Through
this technique she will be able to see what interests students have when
comparing China and the United States. If and when a computer becomes available
or more computers become available, it is easy to extend this activity
to incorporate various levels of computer access.
How To: Organize Class Interaction for Online Practice.
Last year Mrs. Morris used the computer in the library that was connected
to the Internet. This year, she feels fortunate that her classroom computer
is connected to the Internet. Of course she also has tagboard, and enough
scotch tape and lined 3x5 cards for all her students. She prepares a laminated
tagboard poster that will be part of the China display on her bulletin
board and display table and puts up a couple of the Still Unsolved Problems
(SUP) that came from her previous work last year with the Poster Internet
along with one they answered well. Her students will also add questions
about China and then as a part of assignments or free time will use their
Internet skills and library skills to research answers to the questions
and tape their answers to the question on the Poster Internet.
Mrs. Morris will then take this process one step further. She
will pick some of the more interesting questions that her class generates
and share them with interested others around the globe. Using a school
computer linked to the Internet, she will connect with CROP's Center for
Her students will use these processes of adding and searching to enter
their own questions, read the questions of others and leave their own responses.
They will carry out these activities both on their Internet Poster and
on the global Internet through the CROP site. In inviting her experts to
leave questions of interest and responses at CROP in the SUP database,
she will ensure that her students will be able to study those questions
and participate in developing answers. She also ensures that her future
students will be able to do so as well.
Mrs. Morris considers these questions, the research and the sequence
itself an important part of the writing process. In many cases, the work
on answers provides the "story-starters" for numerous writing assignments
throughout the year.
How To: Use Email Conferences
As the earlier searching showed, there are tens of thousands of
electronic mail conferences. Though some email conferences are primarily
made up of school children, most are electronic conversations among adults.
Mrs. Morris uses them for her professional level needs, to keep as current
as possible on various topics and to have a ready source of expertise.
She may choose to share a question that her students have raised in class
with an email conference, but she keeps her class out of email conferences
as a whole because she can never tell when adult language, adult attached
images and rude behavior will flare up in online email. This is not to
say that there are not age-appropriate moderated email conferences, but
as a general rule, any classroom use of email conferences requires careful
study and continuous monitoring for appropriate dialog. Mrs. Morris can
also work with her local Internet Service Provider to create an online
email conference that will only allow her students and others to whom she
has given specific permission to participate.
One easily reached form of email conference is the newsgroup.
Earlier Mrs. Morris used search systems to discover the newsgroup whose
name is soc.culture.china and saved this data in her China notes.
Working with newsgroups requires some flexibility. The procedures for sending
and reading email vary from one web browser to another. Further, the software
from any one browser company changes, sometimes significantly, with each
new version of the software.
Mrs. Morris uses several basic procedures in accessing newsgroups.
How To: Send an Email Message with an Attachment.
Having completed many parts of the first draft of her unit, she wants to
share it with her old college roommate who has a great interest in China
and has actually traveled there. She will use her email system to send
her unit plan as an attachment to an email message. But she must make sure
that her friend is using the same application as the attachment she sends
or her friend will not be able to read it. In the same way she attached
this word processing document, she can also attach multimedia files such
as drawings, pictures, sound and video clips. Her friend can respond in
minutes or in a couple of days. This same technique works just as well
in newsgroup messaging.
How To: Email a Newsgroup with a New Topic.
Her notes file also hold the names of other relevant newsgroups. She also
sends a new news message to the K12.ed.soc-studies newsgroup
that her unit plan is available. In doing so, she finds another way to
enter a newsgroup. She tells this email community that she can fax it to
the first two or three who offer to critique it, but that she does not
yet know how to make her own web pages so that as many as would like to
can download it for free.
Her return email over the next week generated several new resources
and a couple of excellent suggestions. They also generated the email addresses
of two Chinese students that would be willing to trade email with her students.
These addresses are copied into her electronic notebook for future use.
These interactions lead her to shift again to the Evoke stage of problem
solving and edit and modify the unit in several ways which will make its
use more effective.
Problems for Reflection Email conferences, particularly newsgroups,
vary from the depraved to the enlightened, from gossip to emergency assistance
in times of disaster. Classroom conversation indicates that some of her
students and their older siblings are clearly exploring newsgroups and
possibly some of the seamier areas. How should she prepare students to
handle strong adult material which they should not be encountering? How
should she seek to censor student access in and out of school?
To share your work with others is to publish. In this sense, teachers publish
their work to their students with every unit and lesson plan. Mrs. Morris
also realizes that there are two other audiences that are important to
her and to her profession. These audiences also need to share in this work.
She wants to look into ways in which she can quickly and inexpensively
share her unit plan with other teachers and with the parents in her school.
She arranges a meeting with the district computer coordinator and asks
if her unit plan and lesson plans could become web pages for others to
How To: Make a Simple Web Page
Her district computer coordinator asks her to attend a workshop that will
take her through very simple steps to do create her web files quickly.
Once learned, this process actually takes but a matter of minutes. This
workshop will also point out other steps that will allow her to improve
the look, appeal and readability of her web pages in time and with more
Once web pages are ready, they must be placed on a computer that
runs software called web server software. This application will distribute
or disseminate them on request from others on the Internet as they tap
links on their web pages.
How To: Use Fetch to Transfer Files between Computers
You will need the Internet address of a web server and an account on such
a system to complete this activity for real. The Yahoo site maintains a
long list of web server sites that will
provide free web page services. A very large number of other sites
provide web page hosting
services for a wide range of fees. Whether you are ready to do this
or not, by viewing these videoclips you can see that this process does
not take long once arrangements have been made.
A computer that distributes (publishes) web pages is a web server. The
computer coordinator showed her workshop a list of several institutions
that are interested in supporting teachers that wish to share their lesson
and unit plans for free. These range from the state department of public
instruction to agencies with grants to support education to the nearby
university and community college to the school district superintendent
who is looking into creating a web server that will be run by their school
The workshop leader takes Mrs. Morris through the process of transferring
(uploading) a file using a Macintosh application called Fetch. On computers
running Windows operating system software, they might use FS_FTP. Once
the file is transferred, the webmaster of the web server computer could
make a new link from existing web pages to her new document. Mrs. Morris
can make further links from her first web page to others that she might
make, and do so on her own without the assistance of the site's webmaster.
She decides to buy a modem and an Internet account for her home
to make this work more convenient. Her Internet Service Provider makes
web page file space available for a small monthly fee. She can then send
her changes and updates directly to her web page over the telephone line
from home and have them take effect immediately.
How To: Copy a Disk.
There are of course simpler forms of publishing including the use of a
printer to make a printed copy and "sneakernet" to carry the copy to down
the hall to another teacher. A faster form of local information distribution
is to make copies of diskettes. Mrs. Morris made a copy of her disk with
the unit plan and sent her disk to a neighboring city with an agency that
has a grant to support educational projects in her area. Later, she also
sent a copy of her disk to the state department of public instruction.
Both institutions chose to put her work online on their web sites.
That is, they put her web file on their computers and made a link from
their pages to her work. When the webmasters of those sites replied to
her that the task was completed, they also gave her the electronic address
of her unit plan, known as its URL. She asked the principal to include
the electronic address or location of her unit plan in an article to parents
for the school newsletter so that they could read her material as well
without running up duplicating costs.
Finally, she sent email to friends who had helped with her unit
and to many in her k12.ed.soc-studies newsgroup. She informed them all
of the several electronic locations of her web pages. Mrs. Morris is sure
that ready access to her unit plan by those with whom she interacts will
yield even more ideas for improving it the next time around.
Problems for Reflection The idea of creating linked web pages
puzzles Mrs. Morris. The links on any given web page connect with the web
pages of others from around the world. It is a skill within the range of
her students to learn and some already have. The writing process that she
teaches has several stages: pre-writing, writing, editing/revision and
publishing. As Mrs. Morris teaches composition, which stage of the writing
process should be used to incorporate the ideas and process of linking?
Is it possible that linking is a new category within the writing process
or is a different process?
Case study #1 provided an extensive set of professional skills while
raising several issues of the information age. Additional case studies
will be developed at this site in the future.
Pub: v1.0, 4/5/97; v2.0,10/7/1997