Curriculum 2.0

A very wise colleague of mine and I have been working towards creating an Information Technology/Literacy curriculum for our school that can stand the test of time. The funny thing is we don’t talk about technology. The conversation always seems shifts elsewhere. In one of the recent versions of our ever developing vision statements he wrote these words:

” It is our goal in developing an integrated curriculum to ensure that the way students learn with technology agrees with the way they live with technology.”

Sometimes words in the right order ring so true.

Much is being written at the moment about how schools need to shift their paradigm and move away from TECHNOLOGY SKILLS and move towards THINKING SKILLS.

So what technology skills do students NEED to know?

You ask 10 educators this question and they will give out 10 different answers.

Terms like Power Point,Word, Dream Weaver, Web Search often appear in them.

Should they not be replaced with with words like: Communicate, Write, Evaluate, and Think?

How can a curriculum or technology scope and sequence hope to keep up and remain relevant when software, hardware, and information change daily. All too often these elaborate documents that track and chronicle how technology is integrated and are used across the curriculum become dead the moment they are written. They exist because they are written in the traditional educational framework of : document, track and CONTROL.

The problem is the way we live with technology does not agree with this framework. We have to relinquish CONTROL and think BIGGER!

I learn new skills when I need to learn them.

I learn new skills when they are relevant to me and what I am doing.

I learn new skills when they contribute to my understanding of something.

Not before.

If we wish our students to be successful in the 21st Century, they will need to know how to:

  • Find and access information efficiently
  • Evaluate the quality of information including both accuracy and bias
  • Communicate effectively using all means of media
  • Tap into the collective intelligence of many by collaborating both in person and electronically
  • Keep themselves and others safe through responsible use and awareness of the dangers of a connected world

The tools used to meet these learning outcomes can vary widely but if you know the fundamentals behind how to communicate, evaluate, access, find, and share information then it does not matter what tool you use. You will be prepared.

Today technology has become an important part of meeting these fundamentals but it should never be the reason for learning to use it.

But what about the skills??

Who will teach them?

The answer is: You embed them right along side what you are doing. When you are doing it.

If I am having students present in Geography class and I want the students to present using a digital medium then I teach them how to use the tool properly and effectively right along side the content and purpose for doing the presentation in the first place. They need to learn the skills because they have been given a purpose.

Curriculum should always drive this purpose.

Math should drive it.

Science should drive it.

Social Studies should drive it.

P.E should drive it.

Purpose should drive it.

Of course expectations look different at all different age levels but that is what being an “expert of your students” is all about. Knowing what your students are capable of and structuring and creating a learning environments to meet their needs and push their boundries is what it is all about.

We are just getting started.

But it’s not just us.

Some great thinking going on here, and here and all over.

Picture credit goes to: http://imagetool.programar.net/default.aspx

Yes P.L.Ease!! – Personal Learning Environments

Over here at ISB we are always thinking about innovative ways to broaden, strengthen and improve the technology awareness and skill sets of our teachers. It is a dilemma all schools are facing and if you are reading this, you are well aware of it as well.

Jeff over at the thinking stick recently posted about Individual Educational Technology Plans for teachers and students and some of the interesting things Doug Johnson had to say at this years EARCOS conference. Some cool thinking going on here. Since we know that teachers like students are all on different learning continuum’s when it comes to technology would something like a IETP be helpful in ensuring accountability and skill growth for teachers while still respecting the fact that acquiring these new skills takes time and effort? How hard would it be to manage?

In steps the Personal Learning Environment or what I like to call your PD TREE.

If you had to map the sources of your own professional development, what would the root system that feeds your learning look like?
Where do you look to gain new knowledge and information that helps you become a more informed citizen?

What mediums does this information come in and how much control do you have over it?

Who, what and where are your main sources for current information that help you develop and improve as a teacher?

Where and how do you enhance your own skills?
Are these not good questions to ask all teachers to reflect on?

Ray Sim’s over at Sims Learning Connections recently shared his own Personal Learning Environment and I found it really impressive. More importantly it is an example of what is POSSIBLE with today’s access to information.

Having teachers map their own PD Trees would very quickly expose gaps in knowledge ,skill, and awareness in staff and provide an easy guide for further PD training in areas like RSS, Blogs, Forums etc.

Imagine if everyone shared their trees?

I plan on designing my own in the coming weeks and posting it here to share. I encourage you to do the same and if you do please let me know.

Tomorrow I will be presenting to the ISB admin team about Web 2.0 tools and how they can enhance teaching and learning in our classrooms. I certainly will be bringing this image up as an example of how some administrators are tackling and leveraging the information landscape to stay current and customize their own learning and development.

Personal Learning environment

Click on the picture to get the whole view as the entire image does not show up in this post.

The learning curve – Why are people surprised?

March 1, 2007
“After Years of Telling All, 20-Somethings Start to Clam Up ” – – ABC News

“Faced with professional and emotional consequences many younge people are now rethinking what they post onto the internet.”

My first thoughts on this
1) Why does this make news?

2) Why are we so surprised? This news means young people are LEARNING. This medium brings with it incredible opportunities but also massive responsibilities. This shift to web awareness comes off the back of the countless number of people who have been burned by inappropriatly posted picture or comment that got into the wrong hands.

Students as well as professionals are now just as responsible for their reputation online as they are for it off it.

Who is teaching them these skills and responsibilities ?

Is it built into the curriculum?

If it is a big enough story to capture the attention of ABC News, should it not be?