Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Crucial Questions for Curriculum Design in the 21st Century

Teaching and learning in the 21st century demands a lot of the people who choose to be a part of the world's educational system.  It includes staying up to date with the latest technologies, connecting and collaborating with others, and constantly reflecting on and improving our practices.
All of that can seem overwhelming.  If teachers can commit to changing the fundamental questions they ask while designing curriculum, we can make a huge impact on the teaching and learning that happens in today's classrooms.

Here is my list of the crucial questions that teachers need to be asking while designing units of study.   
  • Why am I teaching this? What skill am I giving students that they will take with them throughout their lives? Why will my students be interested in learning this?
  • What might my students already know and be able teach me or others about this topic?
  • What are the current trends regarding this topic? Have I searched for relevant articles, videos, online games, simulations, updated teaching materials to share with students?
  • How can my students share their learning? Using traditional tools, media tools, arts, etc?  
  • Where can we post their work to share it with the world?
  • What expert can I bring into the classroom to help my students? In person, through email, chat, skype?
  • Who can I connect with via social media? Twitter, Facebook, Skype? An expert in the field, another classroom studying the same topic, nonprofits, conservancies?
The truth of the matter is that this process is even more powerful and valuable if it is transparent, visible and co-constructed along with students.