About the www.Alaskool.org project and its developers

Description of the original project plans and goals:
The Alaska Native Curriculum and Teacher Development Project

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The Alaska Native Curriculum and Teacher Development Project (ANCTD) brings together teams of teachers, elders, and community members in various parts of Alaska with university-based specialists to develop curricula on Alaska Native studies and language that is available to all schools through the internet or on CD. The project is supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

Purposes

  • to develop model curricula in Alaska Native studies and languages that are available on the Internet;
  • to develop a model process for curriculum development that can be replicated in predominantly Native schools throughout Alaska; and
  • to develop a model of professional education for both practicing and preservice teachers centered on curriculum development in Alaska Native studies and languages.

Needs Addressed

These purposes address the need for curriculum development that:

  • supports Alaska Native students participating in their culture;
  • prepares Alaska Native students for state and national school standards;
  • is adapted to the unique circumstances of Alaska Native communities;
  • results in curricular material on the Internet that will be available to teachers and students in the future;
  • supports the professional development of teachers in developing the understandings, knowledge, and skills needed to work effectively with Alaska Native students.

Design

To meet these needs, over a period of three years we are creating six design teams—phased in at the rate of two per year—to develop Native studies and language curricula. The first two teams are in Kotzebue in northwestern Alaska and Chevak in the Yukon-Kuskokwim region. Schools in these areas have been in the forefront of efforts to develop Native curricula and materials. In subsequent years, teams will be organized in the Southeast and Interior as well as in Anchorage and Fairbanks.

These teams include practicing teachers as well as community members, elders, and university-based specialists. We are using Web pages as work spaces for the design teams to increase communication, facilitate the design work, and support field tests of the new curricula. Each design team includes a local technology consultant as well as the necessary computer equipment and software. The Institute of Social and Economic Research and the College of Health, Education, and Social Welfare at the University of Alaska Anchorage are providing technical and logistical support, particularly in the area of computer and telecommunications technology.

Products

  • curriculum materials for Alaska Native studies and language courses, including Web pages that house curriculum outlines and supporting materials such as video and audio clips, historical documents, and links to related sites;
  • a model process for developing Alaska Native curricula as well as educators with experience in using such a process;
  • new models of professional development that embody emerging national principles as well as principles for working with Alaska Native students; and
  • thorough documentation and evaluation of the proposed model of curriculum development and teacher education
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