Over the last year, my team and I have created a single-source-of-truth
accounting for the Software Engineering program at The Flatiron
School built on AirTable. I believe this system offers a superior
means for managing curriculum development, documentation, and collaboration.
I’ve written a series of posts documenting this solution that starts here.
The audience for the full series is fellow-educators or content-production
pipeline managers. In this post, I’ll provide an introduction to the problem at
I believe that the secret to designing thoughtful educational experiences as
well as teams that design them is building a robust artifact called an
An “accounting” can be grasped by this graphic:
To translate into words, the accounting:
documents the binding between atomic student capabilities ("Learning Goals") and macro-objects ("Lessons") or nth-order macro-objects (e.g. "Unit", "Modules", or "Products"), and
calculates the chain of dependencies for any given capability that includes its recursive dependencies back to first principles (i.e. transitive dependencies)?
Many years ago, when we were still in Austin, on the observation of the passing
of Frankie Manning, we, as a community decide to learn the Shim-Sham and dance
it in honor of him.
Frankie Manning doing his thing
I can’t say I got a hang of it then. I can’t say I got the hang of it in the
years since, either. When done right, it looks like this:
Fortunately, our local dance studio, You Should Be Dancing, held a
workshop this past weekend. The wonderful Stephanie Shapiro taught us the
dance with great humor, kindness, patience and skill. She has a solid method
for this dance and really helped us master chunks that we can stitch together.
She was even patient as I scribbled notes in-between dance segments. I’ve
written them down below as I move forward in truly learning this dance.
I recently found a tool that has really improved my life: jq. jq can
extract, restructure and change JSON data. Professional programmers often call
this operation “munging,” “massaging,” or “frobnicating.” The rest of this post
will take you through an example of some frobnication.