Julie Randles
6 benefits of curriculum mapping


Curriculum mapping lets educators collect and record curriculum-related data that identifies the core skills and content taught, the processes employed and the assessments used for each subject area and grade level. The completed curriculum map then becomes a tool that helps teachers – or even an entire school site – keep track of what has been taught and plan what will be taught.

Richard Anderson, director of information services at Washington International School in Washington, D.C., further defines curriculum mapping as an ongoing process for documenting what’s being taught in a meaningful way that’s connected to learning outcomes and encourages frequent reflection and planning to better meet students’ needs.

“Curriculum mapping becomes an identity for what the school is doing by creating a unified system that takes all the units taught in an entire school and tying them together through automatic tagging and mapping,” Anderson says.

Think of it as a giant framework that identifies a school’s mission and vision, and illuminates them in the form of curricular units.
Anderson says there are several benefits to taking on curriculum mapping, including:

It helps create a school’s identity or persona. As schools commit to specific initiatives, such as design thinking or diversity and inclusion work, educators can reference these initiatives in the curricular units to provide evidence of the work.

It’s collaborative. Because curriculum mapping is collaborative by nature, teachers can easily build units together, including multidisciplinary units, when common meeting times are rare. It also allows for curriculum coordinators to work closely and efficiently with teachers, strengthening an overall faculty culture of collaboration.

It creates a resource center. Assessments. Activities. You name it – they’re all in one place. With curriculum mapping, the outcome is a comprehensive resource center that includes hyperlinks to resources in context.

It lives with the school. Rather than being owners of their unit planners, teachers have editing rights to the planners, thus preventing the deletion of files and helping orient new teachers with what’s been done before. If a teacher leaves the school, the content lives on.

It uses tools teachers are already familiar with and use every day. The last thing teachers want to do is remember another login or learn how to use yet another tool. Curriculum mapping means more time is spent writing valuable curriculum rather than learning a new tool.

It’s in the cloud and is automatically saved. Because all the information lives in the cloud and is auto-saved, there’s no need to worry about losing work. Plus, a handy revision history lets users see how a unit has changed over time.

ISTE members interested learning how to develop a curriculum mapping site that integrates various Google Suite apps, add-ons and scripts can watch the recording of the ISTE webinar “Curriculum Mapping With G Suite” with Anderson and colleague Fanny Passeport. 

The recorded webinar covers:

  • Building a database of unit planners.
  • Interacting with the Awesome Table tool and use the tool to filter curriculum by grade level and other parameters.
  • Using basic Google app script to code your own solutions.

Looking for top-notch professional development? Check out ISTE U, online courses for educators who want to build digital competencies. 

This is an updated version of a post that was published on April 28, 2017.