I work extensively in the area of curriculum reform and most particularly in curriculum mapping. Presently I am doing research on an upcoming book with ASCD on new directions for curriculum and would appreciate your thoughts on radical views- ("radical" in the mathematical sense of "root"). It seems to me that we to shed dated curriculum content, skills, and assessments with more timely choices in each discipline. We need to find meaningful interdisciplinary connections when possible and natural. Most importantly, the very structures of our schools..the schedules, grouping patterns, calendar, use of space need to be altered substantially. Our cybertools can provide new virtual directions as we are all seeing. Please send any of your reflections or recommendations. Thanks, Heidi

Tags: 21st, assessment, century, curriculum, future, instruction, learning, mapping, reform, reinvention, More…schools, standards, student, teaching., technology

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Hello Heidi,
I too am interested in 21st Century Curriculum but am taking a slightly different tack.

Recognizing that 21st Century Skills (identified in the US here; Canada here; and UK example here) will be the future life blood of students, workers and lifelong learners, how do we accomplish broadbased adoption of 21st Century pedagogies in our classrooms?

My thinking is that most of the 21st Century Skills, although amplified by connectivity and technology , are not dependant on technology. And despite having disparate technology integration (even between schools within the same school district), we continue to behold technology as the route to acquisition of these 'new age' skills.

I believe, like you, we need a change at the root level. Let's stop focussing on the technology and start leveraging what we know about teaching and learning to fast-track these skills in every classroom, no matter the technology or connectivity level.

The project I have initiated to investigate this issue is called "Connecting Within the Unconnected Classroom" - you can read more about it here. It's just starting.... I'm looking for project team members ;-)
Thanks for being the "first" to respond to my query. I like your point...regarding starting with what we know about teaching and learning. There is this "tennis court" that we are all engaged in..we go back and forth from teaching and learning. As teachers we need to keep learning; as learners we need to learn how to teach ourselves to improve our work and our lives. Engagement..the desire to go onto the court is at the heart ..the motivation to teach/learn/teach/learn. Where I think technology does play a role is in engaging contemporary learners (of all generations) in entering the court.

Having said that the very forms we use to work within or that are imposed on us..directly impact teaching and learning. I do think having a student of history create a documentary is a new form that attaches well to the classic idea of motivation..but there is something about the documentary form that requires a shift on all of our parts. It is different than "writing an essay". More senses are involved.

BTW.. I am a lousy tennis player so I have no idea why I selected that particular analogy.
Hello Heidi.

I have followed your curriculum mapping ideas for many years, participated in a weeklong workshop you did at Hendick Hudson School District in the mid-90's, and have been the curr. mapping chair at my school using Rubicon Atlas which is largely based on your approach. I greatly respect your work.

Radical is the right idea in my opinion, radical when we compare it to rows of desks and chairs facing front and the teacher standing or sitting higher than anyone else -- the dispenser of knowledge, the ultimate authority. We so often talk of "shift" and while this word means different things to different people, often in ed tech "shift" refers to the center of the classroom. The classroom is no longer teacher-centric when the tools and the structures and the schedules and the roles (teacher/learner) are no longer clear and are morphing all the time. But learning is in generally a messy business, and becomes messier in schools that accept the shift from one point of (teacher) knowledge and on group of (student) receptacles to multiple, continuing sources of learning and inquiry and analysis.

But while this "shift" has been going on for a long time, including when I was the tech specialist at Hendrick Hudson years ago and we were looking for your ideas to transform curriculum, now that the read/write Web exists and now that the tools are so accessible and so easy and so ubiquitous - the shift can exponentially accelerate. Add to that ubiquitous availability of laptops/tablets and other digital assistants and the possibilities are enormous.

And yes, scheduling, grouping, space, everything can and should shift. What will spaces look like when more learning is happening and possible online? Will school be a place to visit when you want the synergy or resources you can't get elsewhere or will it remain as a bricks and mortar space as is? How can schools offer everything possible for 21st Century learning when there are constrictions as to time and space and even air conditioning issues (at least in some areas of the country?) Aren't virtual schools finding success in many instances - something like 46 states have some type of virtual school -even the NEA has an online teaching guide. But what will teaching be like and what skills will be needed?

I look forward to continuing the conversation.
It is great to touch base in our career paths again. I think it is the passionate and pointed questions in your last paragraph that particularly grab me, too. There are some virtual schools finding some success certainly. In my travels I see them emerging and have had a chance to work with some of their planners: http://www.govhs.org/ (My hunch is that you have been to this site before).

The frustration I believe is rooted in the institutional restrictions that emerge from a state based model restricting greatly the possibility for reconsidering length of year, the necessity for students to even have to be at a school site to learn, grouping of learners and the adults who teach them.

Right now I am working on a book that I hope will provoke some genuine reconsideration of these issues..if not out-right overhaul. If you run across any resources or specific programs that you like, please let me know, Pamela.

hhj
Hi Heidi,
I'm trying to do a similar thing re curriculum and assessment/ILP's here in melbourne. Trying to link them both together to give a clearer picture of the teaching and learning, and the effectiveness of both.
Its raising a few issues in itself from a humanistic point of view - revealing accountability Jodie
Kinesthetic learners, which are a large portion of the population, are often egnored in the curriculum. The book "Please Understand me II", by David Kiersey talks more about this in his discription of the STP personalities. It is a very good read.

a curriculum that I have used with these children, and which works well with other personalities is Ring Around The Phonics.
Hello Heidi I too have an interest in this topic. If you have a chance go to http://educationalist21stcentury.blogspot.com/ and it has a number of 'old' papers that I wrote on the topic some time ago. You may find them of interest.
Regards
Tony
Tony Wagner's new "Global Achievement Gap" is quite impressive on this point.

This link points to the seven skills he points to:
http://www.schoolchange.org/news/the_global_achievement_gap_-_tonys...!.html

Here are several quotes from his book I thought were interesting or relevant:
http://compassioninpolitics.wordpress.com/2009/06/19/%E2%80%9Cgloba...

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