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Are there any Montessori Schools using Mahara?


Andi Becker's profile picture
Posts: 53

03 July 2021, 17:26

Hi, we like to learn more about Schools - Especially those with Montessori Approach - who are using Mahara as their Porttfolio and record keeping system. Have you integrated the Scope and Sequence matching with the regular

curriculm into Mahara and if how did you do it and how did it work out?

04 July 2021, 11:39

This case study may be of interest as it mentions using Mahara in training teachers for Montessori techniques:

Sturrock, D., & Early, C. (2007). Mahara E-Portfolio system implementation case study. URL https://research.qut.edu.au/eportfolio/wp-content/uploads/sites/186/2019/01/Case-Studies-from-the-AeP-report.pdf

Andi Becker's profile picture
Posts: 53

05 July 2021, 20:15

Thanks Tom

It is an interesting read even already more than a decade old - unfortunately not much has changed since than! Usability seems to be still the main issue and the documentation which is not focussed on Endusers but more than Technological people. It would be great to have a Documentation on Usability and with examples on how Mahara could be beneficial to be integrated.

Unfortunately this Case studies have not much to do with Montessori at all as they seem to have only used people who studied in those courses. Practical examples are unfortunately not mentioned.

What I like to achieve is to implement the full Scope of Sequence for Grade K1 to 12 and than being able to even map it to the local curricula in the countries Mahara would get used. So my question is still open for Institutions who are using Mahara and how they might have implemented it into their regular and Montessori Curriculum.

Andi

06 July 2021, 12:51

Andi, the level of integration with Montessori is perhaps beyond what Mahara can do. You might look at the SmartEvidence feature and the similar Moodle Competencies. However, I found them too restrictive.

You could ask a team of ANU TechLauncher students to look at how to customize Mahara and other software for your purposes. We are looking for new projects for the students for second semester in a few weeks.

Andi Becker's profile picture
Posts: 53

07 July 2021, 14:58

I don't think so and see Sahara still as a great tool for Montessori students as well as actually for record keeping of students.

The students themselves can already write different journals to different topics - those are ordered ibased on teh time they created the journal entries. Videos and images can be integrated to that journal - so much for record keeping for students which is pretty sufficient to what is needed for record keeping from student side.

What is additionally needed to get also the teacher side much more involved is to have the ability to assign to a journal entry also an item from the Montessori Scope and Sequence. This gets usually done by simple checking what was involved in the task of the student and indicating in what state he actually is - started, in process, mastered (finished), repeated.

In other words a connection from those Scope and Sequence Fields and journal entries would be needed beside the general need to have all those entries listed. ;-) - Check i.e. the Europassport and Language ability settings - the Scope and sequence could be done the same way - in other words Mahara is already actually capable to integrate the complete Scope and sequence to Mahara.

To understand what I am talking about have a look here (take away the empty space between "https:/" and "/")
https:/ /montessoricompass.com/scope-and-sequence/
the common core mapping for the US is here: (that is the mapping to governmental requirements which differ per country and region)
https:/ /montessoricompass.com/common-core/
and check out the PDF pages of one of the subjects displayed on the subpages. Those lists need to be done in pretty much the same way but the entries need to be sortable also so that only the S&S of one Grade gets listed - This is important as in many countries they still have YEAR based curriculums and not like Montessori 3 years in one class-room or like here in Thailand the curriculum is always planned already for 3 year periods even they still teach in year classes. But achievements have to be accomplished and get tested every 3 years. - Teachers and Governments need a way to simply match the S&S with the general curriculum of a country, province, school. - only when Montessori teachers can show that they are actually the governmental requirements government officials might be willing to accept the Montessori Method as an alternative or even better way of teaching. Unfortunately they write those curriculums while sitting behind well paid desks in offices often far away from reality and real needs, but no matter what teachers - even in Germany - have to improvise and simply need good arguments to do things differently ;-). Yo are a real teacher when you know how to work around all those curriculum restrictions and regulations and really start matching the needs of the students by still keeping all government requirements matched - often more than matched :-)

This been said means that for that scope and sequence check you actually need the scope and sequence appearing in two more forms 
1. Matched to a local curriculum so teachers can fulfill the government requirements more easily
2. You also would need a way to CHECK actually the progress of the student concerning on S&S Item.

While 1. could be done i.e as a sortable (per grade year and subject and Montessori scope) table and than having per item an accordion which folds up to write down the matching governmental curriculum items - all together could than be listed like the resume items. - seeing at first view the scopes per year and being able to sort all of them and just in case can open up to read more about the matching governmental curriculum item. - All of it is a static thing which won't change from the Scope and Sequence but might change over the years and per country region etc probably for the governmental curriculum items.

Point 2. needs a different approach 
It could use the Europassport style with check boxes and saying it is done or even using it in a nice kanban style (which really would be nice as it could easily be dragged and per kanban item you could write down another comment, those current kanban progress report entries - which might contain even images and videos of the student activities for documentation purposes could be again actually journal subentries - or entries which later when finished move as block to the personal journal off a student. 

Parents than could have access to the entries of their children and could read the journals which in that case got written/recored by the teachers on the fly and after school, perhaps even as speech to text entries and it might be easier and fast to talk and let write than to have to sit after class and remembering all and than writing the report.

In my opinion Mahara is actually a great tool for record keeping as it provides already actually many tools needed and besides that the older students which can already write by themselves can also keep their records by themselves in a students journal which then gets matched with the teachers journal i.e. by referencing to each other and to the scope and Sequence/Governmental Curriculum item.

The student journal entries can be linked to files in student folders managed by the students but with access by the class and/or subject teacher/guide/mentor and of course parents.

Departments are Classrooms/ Groups and Schools are the companies - also that is already existing in Mahara. Well of course perhaps a permission group "parents/guards" need to be added which is able to access certain records - i.e. those of their students and being able to read also class and school notices and informations.

And even that is actually somehow already existing as also the parents - or when separated parents both of them and even group leaders/external activities - i.e. a student visits an after school or sports club or any other activity including the psychology or the one who helps him i.e. with his dyslexia etc. They all could run their own "companies/schools/institutions" with their departments and members (staff) which again could be than be grouped together in "student-oriented" groups - which means a student and all the people working with a student. Now all could contribute with their own journals about this student and "Inachukua kijiji kizima kumlea mtoto" would become reality - It takes a while village to raise a child.

In Reports those Groups (students centered groups of people and institutions) all the journal entries could be matched and probably sorted in a timeline etc. - All parts are already available in Mahara - they only would need to be prehaps much better be interconnected with each other and providing automatic permission settings so that the privacy is guaranteed of one student. Nowadays we have often no more the parents actually educating alone a child but tons of people involved, getting only a few from them contributing to such a system could definitely improve the learning outcome of a student as those involved could much easier cooperate with each other and help students.

Mahara is IMHO the right tool actually and it seems to have been created for exactly that purpose at first place!

The good thing is that all student records can be kept in one format over his whole school and even later university and even than later working and retirement life, because his personal portfolio would simply move with him with every single change in his life. Being able to look back to all those records can than also help to solve much more serious problems i.e. not only education but perhaps also heath and social interaction and other related issues.

Do you think those ANU TechLauncher students might be interested to think in such a lifelong scale and be interested to get something like that done in Mahara?




07 July 2021, 16:52


Andi, yes, the ANU Techlauncher students could add some functionality to Mahara. You just have to be available as the client, to tell them what you want and give feedback on what they do.
Andi Becker's profile picture
Posts: 53

07 July 2021, 18:46

If that works even I am a German living and working in Thailand for a Global Montessori Community that sounds great Tom.

Feedback is absolutely no problem and perhaps we could make some of them even in treated to come over for an internship one time :-) here or at one of the schools we try to get involved worldwide so it makes it easier for them t get things integrated. It would be a win win for all.

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