Appendix B - Learning Resources - General Information
What is Appendix B?
Appendix B consists of general information on learning resources, as well as Grade Collection information and alphabetical annotations of the provincially recommended resources.
What is a Grade Collection?
A Grade Collection is the format used to organize the provincially recommended learning resources by grade and by curriculum organizer. It can be regarded as a "starter set" of basic resources to deliver the curriculum. In many cases, the Grade Collection provides a choice of more than one resource to support curriculum organizers, enabling teachers to select resources that best suit different teaching and learning styles.
There may be prescribed learning outcomes either partially or not at all supported by learning resources at this time. Many of these are best met by teacher-developed activities. Teachers may also wish to supplement Grade Collection resources with locally selected materials.
What kinds of resources are found in a Grade Collection?
Learning resources in a Grade Collection are categorized as either comprehensive or additional. Comprehensive resources provide a broad coverage of the learning outcomes for most curriculum organizers. Additional resources are more topic specific and support individual curriculum organizers or clusters of outcomes. They provide valuable support for or extension to specific topics and are typically used to supplement or fill in the areas not covered by the comprehensive resources.
How are Grade Collections kept current?
Under the provincial continuous
submissions process, suppliers advise the ministry about newly developed resources
as soon as they are released. Resources judged to have a potentially significant
match to the learning outcomes for individual IRPs are evaluated by practising
classroom teachers who are trained by ministry staff to use provincial evaluation
criteria. Resources selected for provincial recommendation receive Ministerial
Order and are added to the existing Grade Collections. The ministry updates
the Grade Collections on a regular basis on the ministry web site at
http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/irp_resources/lr/resource/gradcoll.htm. Please check this site for the most current and up-to-date version of Appendix B.
How long do learning resources keep their recommended status?
Learning resources will retain their recommended status for a minimum of five years after which time they may be withdrawn from the Grade Collections, thereby terminating their provincially recommended status. Decisions regarding the withdrawal of learning resources will be based on, but not limited to, considerations of curriculum support, currency, and availability. Schools may continue to use a learning resource after withdrawal provided local school board approval is obtained.
How can teachers choose learning resources to meet their classroom needs?
As outlined in Evaluating, Selecting and Managing Learning Resources: A Guide (Revised 2000), there are a number of approaches to selecting learning resources.
Teachers may choose to use:
The Ministry of Education
has developed a variety of tools and guidelines to assist teachers with the
selection of learning resources. These include:
What are the criteria to consider when selecting learning resources?
There are a number of factors to consider when selecting learning resources.
The foremost consideration for selection is the curriculum to be taught. Prospective resources must adequately support the particular learning objectives that the teacher wants to address. Teachers will determine whether a resource will effectively support any given learning outcomes within a curriculum organizer. This can only be done by examining descriptive information regarding that resource; acquiring additional information about the material from the supplier, published reviews, or colleagues; and by examining the resource first-hand.
When selecting learning resources, teachers must keep in mind the individual learning styles and abilities of their students, as well as anticipate the students they may have in the future. Resources should support a variety of special audiences, including gifted, learning disabled, mildly intellectually disabled, and ESL students. The instructional design of a resource includes the organization and presentation techniques; the methods used to introduce, develop, and summarize concepts; and the vocabulary level. The suitability of all of these should be considered for the intended audience.
Teachers should also consider their own teaching styles and select resources that will complement them. The list of recommended resources contains materials that range from prescriptive or self-contained resources, to open-ended resources that require considerable teacher preparation. There are recommended materials for teachers with varying levels and experience with a particular subject, as well as those that strongly support particular teaching styles.
While the instructional design of a package will determine the conceptual organization, it is the technical design that brings that structure into reality. Good technical design enhances student access and understanding. Poor technical quality creates barriers to learning. Teachers should consider the quality of photographs and illustrations, font size and page layout, and durability. In the case of video, audible and age appropriate narration and variation in presentation style should be considered. When selecting digital resources, interactivity, feedback, constructive engagement, usability, and functionality are important.
An examination of a resource for social considerations helps to identify potentially controversial or offensive elements which may exist in the content or presentation. Such a review also highlights where resources might support pro-social attitudes and promote diversity and human rights issues.
The intent of any Social Considerations screening process, be it at the local or provincial level, is not to remove controversy, but to ensure that controversial views and opinions are presented in a contextual framework.
All resources on the ministry's recommended list have been thoroughly screened for social concerns from a provincial perspective. However, teachers must consider the appropriateness of any resource from the perspective of the local community.
When selecting resources, teachers should consider the advantages of various media. Some topics may be best taught using a specific medium. For example, video may be the most appropriate medium when teaching a particular, observable skill, since it provides a visual model that can be played over and over or viewed in slow motion for detailed analysis. Video can also bring otherwise unavailable experiences into the classroom and reveal "unseen worlds" to students. Software may be particularly useful when students are expected to develop critical-thinking skills through the manipulation of a simulation, or where safety or repetition are factors. Print or CD-ROM resources can best be used to provide extensive background information on a given topic. Once again, teachers must consider the needs of their individual students, some of whom may learn better from the use of one medium than another.
Use of Information Technology
Teachers are encouraged to embrace a variety of educational technologies in their classrooms. To do so, they will need to ensure the availability of the necessary equipment and familiarize themselves with its operation. If the equipment is not currently available, then the need must be incorporated into the school or district technology plan.
What funding is available for purchasing learning resources?
As part of the selection process, teachers should be aware of school and district funding policies and procedures to determine how much money is available for their needs. Funding for various purposes, including the purchase of learning resources, is provided to school districts.
Learning resource selection should be viewed as an ongoing process that requires a determination of needs, as well as long-term planning to co-ordinate individual goals and local priorities.
Prior to selecting and purchasing
new learning resources, an inventory of those resources that are already available
should be established through consultation with the school and district resource
centres. In some districts, this can be facilitated through the use of district
and school resource management and tracking systems. Such systems usually involve
a computer database program (and possibly bar-coding) to help keep track of
a multitude of titles. If such a system is put on-line, then teachers can check
the availability of a particular resource via computer.
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Maintained by: Career and Personal Planning Coordinator
Revised: May 27, 2002
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