An innovation in curriculum and professional learning
Danny Ritterman, CEO and co-founder
The first education resource of its kind in the world, MAPPEN has taken thousands of hours of expert authorship to develop. Its 32 exemplary, fully resourced curriculum units have been crafted based on field-testing and feedback from over 3,000 Australian educators across 270 schools.
The authors of have designed the curriculum and the online application to solve one of the biggest dilemmas facing school leaders and teachers – how to find the time to plan and write a comprehensive, fully resourced curriculum that meets mandated standards and students’ needs.
A founder of the program, Ms Karen Green said the current system-wide practice of individual teachers having to interpret government curriculum guidelines and develop their own lesson plans, was contributing to an alarming inconsistency in the quality in teaching and learning within schools, needless to say, some very worn out teachers.
“Teachers simply don’t have the time or specialist knowledge to write consistently high-quality content for their classroom teaching, let alone continually update it to keep pace with changing curriculum guidelines. This is the invisible ‘elephant’ in our classrooms,” Ms Green said. “So we decided the most practical solution – one that would really stick – was to write the detailed curriculum content for them.”
The resulting online resource, MAPPEN, addresses the Australian Curriculum, the Victorian Curriculum, the Western Australian Curriculum and the NSW Education Standards Authority Syllabuses. It has received the endorsement of the Australian Primary Principals Association (APPA).
“MAPPEN, quite simply, is the long-awaited game changer,” Mr Yarrington said at the Victorian launch in 2015. “This new resource has the potential to raise the bar for all teachers within a school and for all Australian primary schools.”
“Principals in schools using MAPPEN across Foundation through to Year 6 can be confident that the most consistent, rich and engaging curriculum in the nation is being delivered in every classroom,” he said.
Katie Penhalluriack, a leading teacher at Warrandyte Primary School, in rural Victoria, summed it up this way: “In an ideal world, every school would be using MAPPEN. If that were to happen, without any major effort the quality of teaching and learning would be raised immediately, across the entire education system.”
Deborah Patterson, Principal at one of Victoria’s largest primary schools, Mill Park Heights, said: “MAPPEN ticks all the boxes for me as a principal. It’s a rigorous, tight and inclusive curriculum that meets the needs of our 1000 students beyond anything I’ve experienced before. Using MAPPEN means you can no longer ‘go under the radar’ as a teacher. It raises the bar for everyone.”
The curriculum shifts classroom teaching from delivering content around themes – for example, about outer space, dinosaurs, water – to teaching around eight deep concepts relevant to living in today’s society: Community, Sustainability, Social Justice, Creativity, Identity, Change, Necessity and Curiosity.
“Students being taught through MAPPEN learn the kinds of essential skills employers are crying out for nowadays,” said Ms Green. “Skills such as critical and creative thinking, how to collaborate with others, problem-solving, self-awareness and reflection, and how to express concepts visually and verbally.”
A unique innovation of MAPPEN is that it embeds contextual professional learning for teachers while they teach. It effectively improves what and how they teach, while they teach. “Providing a meaningful, timely and cost-effective solution for professional learning for school leaders is what we are doing”, said Danny Ritterman, CEO and Co-founder of the MAPPEN. “We talk to school leaders and teachers about the benefits of our curriculum, but our innovation; combining curriculum with professional learning, is our most unique and powerful idea.”
The team behind MAPPEN recently hosted two face-to-face workshops with the purpose of hearing first-hand the experience of being a MAPPEN teacher. The workshops at Boroondara Park Primary School were attended by teachers and school leaders representing five schools currently implementing MAPPEN. School leaders who attended the workshops also shared their experiences, providing the team with some valuable suggestions for how to make it easier for new schools to implement MAPPEN.
“Built into the online application is a feature for teachers to provide us with feedback about the lessons, but getting an opportunity to talk face-to-face with teachers about their experience with it in the classroom is very important”, said Mark Ritterman, author and co-founder.
Schools adopting MAPPEN are provided with practical advice for implementing the program in their school, and access to talk through issues and concerns. “We have developed a practical approach to solving a systemic problem in schools, and we continue providing practical support to schools as they use the program,” said Amanda McCallum, customer success and co-founder of MAPPEN.
Danny explained that MAPPEN is proving to be a helpful solution for a range of schools from different sectors. “We have noticed a single systemic problem facing all schools and we have developed an innovative solution that is proving helpful. When we started, our goal was to improve student outcomes by improving teacher capabilities, I am very proud to say that we are doing that”.