A curriculum repository is a web site where one finds a collection of resources to support teaching and learning. In the ideal realization, it will be a file sharing site (with tagged and searchable contents) as well as tools for interaction. There are a wide range of repositories available for any users, but local school and technology leaders are finding it useful to create and maintain their own. This excerpt from Ackerman, G. (2017). Strategies to increase technology acceptance. In M. Grassetti & S. Brookby (eds.). Advancing next-generation elementary teacher education through digital tools and applications. Hershey, PA: IGI-Global, Inc. gives some idea of how a local curriculum repository can be used:
Pam is a sixth grade teacher who has taken a leadership role in her district’s curriculum evaluation and redesign efforts in recent years. “We discovered that sharing ideas was the key to our success,” she explained. Because her district comprises schools that are separated by more than 10 miles, “working together during the day was not going to be possible, and professional development days were scheduled with other initiatives. We needed to find more time to work together, but the usual options were not possible.” Pam and her fellow teachers brainstormed with the author to develop a curriculum repository; it was designed to be an online space for educators to upload, download, revise, and reload instructional materials; exchange tips and strategies for using the materials, share ideas for organizing discussions, and otherwise provide support to peers and colleagues. The repository was built using the learning management system (LMS) maintained primarily for the high school students and their teachers in the district. The repository was designed to resemble the open educational resource communities in which several student teachers associated with the faculty had participated, “We were guided by the four-R’s when we planned the repository,” explained Pam. She was referencing reuse, revise, remix, redistribute, the four principles used by advocates of open educational materials (Hilton et al., 2010) to describe what users of the resources are allowed to do with materials created by others.
As a leader in the curriculum repository project, Pam was a frequent user of the site and a contributor. Pam, observed, “I know to look for certain things from certain teachers. Carol always posts good skill- building sites, and Stephanie has great discussion questions, but Amy always seems ahead, has tried the activities with kids, and has good tips.” She attributes the value of the repository to her confidence the materials will be appropriate for her curriculum goals. Comparing the resources on the local curriculum repository to those on an open education community open to all, Pam commented, “Our site is much more specific. If I get something from OER, it takes time to find it and edit it, but the stuff on our site is exactly what I need.” In this character, the curriculum repository appeared to provide greater job fit, thus greater performance expectancy than the other open education sites used by Pam.
The curriculum repository appears to have exerted social influences, and the social influences appear to have originated from the teachers. “When we have district curriculum meetings, we go right to the repository, and we all know it better than the administrators. It is a grassroots kind of thing.” She further commented on the efforts of teachers to build the system. “When the new special educator was hired, we made sure she could log on and we helped her add to resources to it before she did anything else.”
Pam also described how using the repository improved her own technology skills. “They had been try- ing to get me to use the LMS with my students, but it always seemed to be more work than it was worth.” After using the site to post and access curriculum materials and also participate in both synchronous and asynchronous discussions, Pam began using the LMS with her students, “I am pretty tech-savvy, but until I got really good at using it, I did not use it with students. Once I could get stuff into my [virtual classrooms] with a couple of clicks, I started posting everything there.”
Pam’s enthusiastic participation in the curriculum repository suggests she has accepted it, and her acceptance appears to have been affected by multiple factors: She perceived the resources to be useful, as she expanded her use of the LMS after she found it easier to use, and she expected her colleagues to participate as well. Not all of the teachers in Pam’s school district reacted with similar acceptance, however. The principal at Pam’s school participated in several meetings at which district administrators discussed the curriculum repository. She noted, “We identified three groups of teachers: Those who were active contributors uploading and downloading and discussing frequently, those who just downloaded, and finally, those who uploaded once, then never logged on again.” The leadership team discovered the groups were not evenly distributed. The contributors tended to work in the same buildings, and the one-time-up loaders tended to work together in other buildings, and the downloaders where scattered throughout.
Hilton, J. III, Wiley, D., Stein, J., & Johnson, A. (2010). The four Rs of openness and ALMS Analysis: Frameworks for Open Educational Resources. Open Learning: The Journal of Open and Distance Learn- ing, 25(1), 37–44. doi:10.1080/02680510903482132