If the Diigo flashback wasn’t weird enough for me, the irony I’m confronting this morning can send the cognitive dissonance needle straight into the red zone.
The Social Studies department at my school is embarking on a three year process of re-writing each of the core subjects courses. When we are finished, World Studies, USI and USII will be taught without textbooks. If you don’t need to have students mindlessly restate definitions and facts to prove they are learning, you can kick those brain-numbingly boring encyclo-sedatives to the curb. With primary documents, innovative lesson plans and a curriculum that stresses developing cognitive skills and learning rather than memorization, textbooks are superfluous. And in the age of economic uncertainty, cost-prohibitive.
At the same time however, my school is becoming a member of Virtual High School, on online collaborative school. I worked with VHS eight years ago when I was teaching in North Carolina. They have one of the best models for online education I’ve encountered. Because I will teach a course with them
online as part of my teaching responsibilities, 25 students at my school can take any course in the VHS catalog. I’ve been offered the chance to write an AP European History course for VHS, and that’s where it get’s weird. As a teacher for VHS, my school is responsible for distributing the materials used in connection with my course. Which means this….
The face-to-face classes at my school no longer use textbooks, but the online course I teach will use a textbook. Go figure.
Unless there is some kind soul out there who will let me know if anyone has had success passing the College Board’s audit with an AP History course based solely in online materials.