An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 2001 annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Seattle, WA, USA.
Article first published online: 6 JUN 2003
Copyright © 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Volume 87, Issue 4, pages 468–489, July 2003
How to Cite
Squire, K. D., MaKinster, J. G., Barnett, M., Luehmann, A. L. and Barab, S. L. (2003), Designed curriculum and local culture: Acknowledging the primacy of classroom culture . Sci. Ed., 87: 468–489. doi: 10.1002/sce.10084
This project was supported with a grant from Activeink, Incorporated.
- Issue published online: 6 JUN 2003
- Article first published online: 6 JUN 2003
- Manuscript Accepted: 4 MAY 2002
- Manuscript Revised: 19 FEB 2002
- Manuscript Received: 25 AUG 2001
One of the primary challenges facing designers today is how to design curricular innovations that are appealing and useful to teachers and at the same time bring about transformative practices. While we as a learning sciences community are relatively adept at facilitating innovative case examples, we need more empirical work that examines how curricular innovations become implemented across multiple classrooms. In this paper we examine a series of four teachers implementing our technology-rich, project-based curriculum. We then analyze and discuss each of the four cases across two themes by (a) examining how the project-level question was contextualized to meet local needs and (b) examining the cultural context that surrounded the implementation of the curriculum. Our interpretations suggest that contextualizing the curriculum is ultimately a local phenomenon that arises as a result of a number of factors, including students' needs, students' goals, teachers' goals, local constraints, and teacher's pedagogical values. These cases illuminate the importance of school and classroom cultures in the learning process. Ultimately, curriculum designers need to acknowledge that their designs are not self-sufficient entities; instead, during implementation, they become assimilated as part of the cultural systems in which they are being realized. © 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Sci Ed87:468–489, 2003; Published online in Wiley InterScience (www.interscience.wiley.com). DOI 10.1002/sce.10084