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Folk Heritage Trust

What? Another Charitable Trust?

Why do we need another charitable trust?
Can't the government or the private foundations
simply take care of everything?

Wait, if there is plenty of work yet to be done
...then doesn't somebody have to do it?

Read here about why FHT is interested in cultural content collection.

 

Since the Folk Heritage Trust is starting from a clean slate, then isn't its journey likely to be long and arduous? Then why bother to "compete" for limited resources when there are better known nonprofit entities out there? The reason for the FHT to enter the scene is because otherwise certain key innovative solutions likely will not be developed. FHT and its collaborators have identified key technologies that can transform cultural based experiences, but nobody else appears to be pursuing these opportunities fully. These new tools will allow for the collection of a radically improved level of cultural content data, which can be exploited for a revolutionary increase in the quality of curriculum development. Okay, that is starting to sound like a bunch of techno-babble, which may not get to the heart of the matter for you.

Here is the idea in nutshell. In today's media rich, video game environment, students have developed a short attention span for materials that are not compelling. Today's youths will respond better if their curriculum is a rich sensory experience, has a strong story line, is tailored to their interests, and is flexible enough to allow them to appreciate the subject (maybe at the surface only) or to dig deeper. By gathering revolutionary levels of new educational content, and providing for selected curriculum writer's use, a more compelling course of instruction can result.

Why wasn't this project started earlier? It used to be that computer hard drive space was very costly, software was not sophisticated (because the processor's couldn't be overtaxed), and the Internet was a slow medium for exchanging mostly text-based data. Today, computers, software, storage, and Internet speeds exceed most people's ability to use them at their fullest. There is no shortage of educational materials, either. What is missing is an extensive enough, "culture based" curriculum with compelling content. FHT does not intend to generate curriculum itself. Instead, it wants to remove the technical and logistical obstacles that impede sympathetic curriculum developers from authoring the materials that they desire. Only if there is a ready supply of relevant supporting resources, then can the curriculum writer concentrate on the "message" and not be overwhelmed with the "method." Thus, if there is a "dream database" of data about scientific principles and experiments, superior images of cultural entities, unprecedented detailed views of historic architecture, and more, then wouldn't that would be a very useful start?

With these goals in mind, one does not just grab a camera and a notebook computer, run to a field site, and start making databases? Access has to be negotiated to key collections and properties. New collection tools have to be developed to gain the unprecedented level of detail desired. The data has to be managed in ways that are compatible with other processes. Multi-media authoring systems have to be able to efficiently use the data. Curriculum developers will need support. Eventually, when there is a collection of new instructional materials, how will this be delivered to the end users?

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Stop and think a minute...

Maybe you are beginning to suspect that the State level curriculum standards committees, education unions, curriculum publishers, teachers colleges, and any others that influence curriculum, are not able to "turn on a dime" and adopt new materials? Thus, if we see the same methods used to train teachers, the same curriculum being presented, and the same degree of preparation of the students, then how can anyone expect anything other than the same results as seen before? How are current student's math, science, and language scores these days? On average, are they any stronger than past student's? How will America deal effectively with the increasing level of technical challenge encountered in our fast paced world? Are we going to be eclipsed by others?

Some will cling to the hope that maybe the Federal Government will somehow fix all of this. Remember that the Department of Labor doesn't do any labor. The Department of Energy doesn't create any energy. The Department of Commerce doesn't engage in any commerce. So, why would they think that the Department of Education does any educating? Need we dwell on that aspect anymore?

So, isn't it time to interject some new life, like some greater options, into curriculum? Follow on here for descriptions of how FHT intends to implement this new approach. Oh, and what does culture, tradition, and heritage have to do with all of this? That will be covered in detail.

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Copyright © 2006 Folk Heritage Trust

 

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