Three Trends That Will Shape the Future of Curriculum

| February 4, 2011 | 51 Comments
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What we as adults experienced in school, as educators and students, will bear little resemblance to what lies ahead. Here’s a look at current trends, their implications, and changes to watch for.

The Three Key Trends

1. Digital delivery

No longer shackled to books as their only source of content, educators and students are going online to find reliable, valuable, and up-to-the-minute information. Sites like Shmoop’s fun-focused content on everything from SAT prep to the Civil War; Google’s Education apps and sources that teachers can use as teaching tools, such as the SketchUp design software and Google Earth are just a few of the free, easily accessible sources available online.

Add to that sites like the Khan Academy, a collection of thousands of YouTube videos that teach everything from calculus to the French Revolution, TeacherTube’s collection of content, books that have been turned into YouTube videos, as well as sites from museums and art institutions, sites like NASA and the Smithsonian, TED Talks and the thousands of other educational resources available, and you can start to see how online content will be used as a primary resource.

The open-source movement has further pushed online content to include learners and educators in the actual content-creating process. Wikipedia was one of the first open-source sites, and though many still question the accuracy of Wikipedia entries (note the 2005 study showed that the popular website is as reliable as Encyclopedia Britannica), there’s a movement afoot to make it a more trusted source. Revered institutions like Harvard and Georgetown are creating coursework for students out of editing Wikipedia entries.

Following in the steps of Wikipedia – and the collaborative world of Web 2.0 — a growing proliferation of open-source sites aimed at education have sprouted up over the past few years. For both K-12 schools and higher education, sites like MIT Open SourceWare that publishes almost all the university’s content for students, Open Educational Resources, Curriki, Merlot, Connexions, CK12, Scitable, and Hippocampus offer their own expert-written, vetted content. But more importantly, they allow educators and students to add, edit, and change the order of all the information on those sites according to their own needs.

Entire school districts are starting to go open-source, too, such as the Bering Strait School District in Alaska, which is using a Wiki-style format for its curriculum. CK12 is part of California’s Free Digital Textbook Initiative, and school districts in Pennsylvania are also considering using its materials once the curricula has met state standards.

Watch for: 1) Google’s role in providing content, and how states and districts work with the institution. 2) Open-source sites and content publishers working collaboratively in the same content space.

2. Interest-driven

Though students typically have to wait until their third year of college to choose what they learn, the idea of K-12 education being tailored to students’ own interests is becoming more commonplace. Whether it’s through Japanese manga art, Lady Gaga, or the sport of curling, the idea is to grab students where their interests lie and build the curriculum around it.

Every learner counts.

The idea of learner-centered education might not be new — research from the 1990s shows that students’ interests is directly correlated to their achievement. But a growing movement is being propelled by the explosive growth in individualized learning technology that could feed it and we’re starting to see the outlines of how it could seep into the world of formal education.

Take, for example, Forest Lake Elementary School in South Carolina, where the entire school is built around personalized learning. Or schools in Portland, Maine, that are entirely project based. Beyond even bribing them with shiny gadgets, educators are sparking their students’ love of learning by figuring out what they’re interested in.

“The better way is to motivate each student to learn through his or her passion. Passion drives people to learn (and perform) far beyond their, and our expectations. And whatever is learned through the motivation of passion is rarely if ever forgotten,” writes Marc Prensky in his book Teaching Digital Natives.

Watch for: The growing importance of the student’s role as content-creator and decision-maker in devising his own curriculum.


3. Skills 2.0

Eleven years into the 21st century, the buzz words “21st century skills” are being thrown around in describing what needs to be taught in schools: real-world readiness. Things like collaboration, innovation, critical thinking, and communication are thought to be just as important as U.S. history and calculus because they’re practical skills that can be used in the world outside the confines of school.

“One thing is certain,” writes Will Richardson in the comprehensive tome 21st Century Skills: Rethinking How Students Learn: although schools may continue to fundamentally look and act as they have for more than one hundred years, the way individuals learn has already been forever changed. Instead of learning from others who have the credentials to ‘teach’ in this new networked world, we learn with others whom we seek (and who seek us) on our own and with whom we often share nothing more than a passion for knowing.”

Learning to be responsible digital citizens.

The ability to leverage the collective wisdom that thrives online is an important part of building those muscles. But more than just practical skills, it’s crucial for students to be able to navigate the digital world around them without fear. To make sense of the deluge of information online, to learn what to trust, what to dismiss, to be able to find the gold that exists in the infinite number of Google searches. To know how and what to contribute to the online global community, and how to be responsible digital citizens.

These intangibles have found their way into the fiber of the curriculum in schools like Napa New Tech and its network of schools growing schools. And tech companies are looking for ways to provide value to the movement.

Entire schools are dedicated to teaching skills like learning how to create video games, whether it’s to boost brain power and multitasking skills, or to learn applied physics as they do at the New York school Quest to Learn. The idea is that the process of learning that skill can be put to use in the real world.

Watch for: State and nationwide assessments taking into account skills like critical thinking, communication and collaboration.

What these trends mean

Given the growing momentum of these trends, what does it mean for students, teachers, schools, and the education community at large?

  • Collaborating and customizing. Educators are learning to work together, with their students, and with other experts in creating content, and are able to tailor it to exactly what they need.
  • Critical thinking. Students are learning how to effectively find content and to discern reliable sources.
  • Democratizing education. With Internet access becoming more ubiquitous, the children of the poorest people are able to get access to the same quality education as the wealthiest.
  • Changing the textbook industry. Textbook publishers are finding ways to make themselves relevant to their digital audience.
  • Emphasizing skills over facts. Curriculum incorporates skill-building.

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  • http://twitter.com/vocabgenii Genii

    awesome!

    • Dmiller1

      As a teacher of 39 hard years in a semi-urban low wealth district, most of you miss the elephant in the room. When I began teaching in 1972, it was already clear that the remarkably successful efforts to integrate black and hispanic students was already creating white, middle and upper class flight from the public schools. Every time the Department of Ed. published a school poster with black or brown faces, you could feel the caucasian public support fade slowly away. In the 50’s and early 60’s, when I attended public school, my teachers spent summers in Europe and we had instrumental and vocal music, PE, Spanish, French and anything we wanted in grade school. We felt like little princes and princesses. With the student revolts but mainly with the civil rights movement, the goods being delivered began to shrink. It was never about the cost. That is a chimera. My high school had a theater and a drama building. The one I work at has one period of drama! Let’s face it, the white majority did not want to increase or even maintain funding to improve the lives of the lower class. Now we have a system on the verge of implosion and all you can do is blame the unions? Teachers of the best sort are artists and every time you find a new “trick” to make teaching easier/more effective, you reduce the field that the true artists can create in. That’s why they are now designing video games and fleeing the classrooms after 3-5 years. What is left are uninspired Drill Instructors who follow the rules and create no beauty or joy at all. My guess is that eventually, the racism and more importantly, class bias, that has ruined public schools will fade as we learn that pigmentation is not destiny but I won’t live to see it. The fact that conservatives and their frightened home school thralls use the public schools (which they rarely attend) as political chowder is just disgraceful and, for this society, self destructive.

  • James from Toronto

    Thanks for this thorough overview of the zeitgeist Tina! I am coming at this as a student of Children’s Entertainment at Centennial College in Toronto who is parsing through the deluge of studies and speculation for a clue as how to best create media that honors kids needs and potential. This post is a really helpful synopsis.

  • soonjoo moon

    thank you

  • Kilgoretrout321

    has no one heard of the Montessori Schools? Where you can learn whatever you want at your own pace? Kids usually come out far ahead of kids their own age at public schools. At least I did, and I’m a certified genius. The American education system is really dumb, and doesn’t foster anything but frustration. You need to take a look at the way people learn, and build an education system around that, rather than trying to create a pipeline to a certain career. Really smart people with strong interests and the ability to solve problems will create their own jobs.

    • Htenneysmi

      Ditto!

  • New educator

    These are all valid points. The real question is…what are the initial steps to getting schools like this started with various populations of students. Take a group of students who have been failed by their school system, who have low self-esteem, lack of work ethic…how to you get them to this point?

  • Lindsay

    keep government out of education and let the students and current industry show us what is trending and what to learn. if you try and standardize like nclb did, you kill it, you kill any desire or understanding of how things work and any possible interest in learning. memorizing and teaching to pass a test does not teach “how to” or “why” it kills inquiry and curiosity. when that happens, it ends educating/learning.

    • Myrond

      Industry? You mean the “for profit” industry. Feel free to sacrifice your kids on the alter of profit. I will take my dysfunctional local schools. At least they see my child as a human being, not a budget line item. Take your for profit/industry school to its logical conclusion and who do we expose on the beach at low tide?

      • K_m_simpson

        Really? You SERIOUSLY believe some government employee that has no standards to keep has more of an interest in educating your child than a company that knows their reputation, and finances depend upon your child being well educated??

        How about the various parochial schools that are able to educate the children far above what the public schools do and for half the cost? Do you also think they “sacrifice” the children?

    • K_m_simpson

      And the first step is to abolish the NEA, and the Teacher’s Unions. Government employees should not be allowed to unionize as there are no market factors to keep them in check. In private industry, including schools, if the person doing the job is not performing, they can be fired. Not so with government employees, and that is the problem.

      Abolish the NEA. Now.

      • Lm

        Teacher’s Unions are not the problem. The problem is administrators who do not do their job with evaluating. If a teacher isn’t doing his/her job and it is documented, they can be fired. It has happened in my district. An administrator who is afraid to the job of administrating should be the one fired. Stop blaming the unions and look at the real problems.

      • Guest

        You realize the NEA isn’t a government agency, don’t you? How far to the fascist right (abolishing freedoms of speech, forming public associations, etc.) are you willing to go?

  • Jbirkmeier

    Students need to be actively engaged in worthwhile learning. It is difficult to get students “actively engaged” in a curriculum that they are told they simply must know. When students believe that they have more of a choice in their education, there is more buy in and therefore increased performance. We need to get rid of the myth that elective courses are not as important as core classes. All classes should allow students the opportunity to grow socially and academically. All classes should push students to success. Our goal should not be to fit it all in by the time a student is 18, rather we should do our best to get them to fall in love with learning. A student that loves to learn will continue to grow and benefit both themselves and their communities.

  • Skateboard Mom

    None of these are new to homeschoolers!

  • 123we

    This is exactly what homeschooler’s do everyday!

    • TeachThird

      Does that explain the misused apostrophe?

    • Guest

      Absolutely, do not agree. Home school can be like this but they also can be taught by any parent, and many of them should not be. 9/10 home school students I have encountered in school as a student myself, especially when they get to college (and transferring students into my school I teach now), have major problems adjusting and performing. While you may be great at it, and your kids might be awesome, the overall population would disagree.

      • K_m_simpson

        That’s really funny because I hear just the opposite from most people concerning their encounters with homeschooled students.

  • Anonymous

    “Instead of learning from others who have the credentials to ‘teach’ in this new networked world, we learn with others whom we seek (and who seek us) on our own and with whom we often share nothing more than a passion for knowing.”

    This is a very frightening thought… eduction by passion rather than expertise. Among the most ignorant people I know are “history buffs”… guys who have a “passion” for the Civil War, for instance. Their knowledge is spotty at best, driven only by their interests/biases, and cherry-picked to suit their “passions.” But above all, they lack any self-doubt or critical thinking skills, and think what they know is absolutely unassailable. Nothing could be a worse model for studying history.

  • Sgreen

    Waldorf Schools (Steiner) are one alternative to the the public school system. It has its pros and cons, but one pro is the way they integrate the arts and academics.

    • Fair Humanist

      I have read Steiner in German and you are correct that there are pluses and minuses. I believe the pluses are far greater. At the Waldorf school where we live every 8th grader that graduated was sought out by the best private schools to the point where they said that they would offer scholarships just to get the Waldorf students. The Waldorf student actually likes to learn and uses critical thinking along with creativity. By the way I have read Maria Montessori and even though her approach was different than Steiner I admire her contributions and love that their children play outside. I am not very dogmatic but we must see where these play based schools are getting things right and incorporating that into our public schools.

      • To educate in and for peace

        I’ve been a AMI Montessori Guide (teacher) for over 20 years. Montessori is not considered a play based educational system. We do involve all of the environments including nature and the outdoors. The children are exposed to the cultural studies, the arts, science, math, practical life which includes movement, care of self and care of their environment, coordination etc. Also the sensorial materials, music, history, language and of course the all important social skills. The children learn by doing and interacting with their peers and the materials with their “Guides” observations and guidance. The children are free to choose what materials they have been shown and work with them undisturbed for as long as they like. We also follow the child’s interest. We look for the concentration that comes from the involvement with their “work” that they are interested in. It is through this interaction and focus that the brain connections are made.

        In Montessori the materials are mostly self-correcting so that the child can determine the solution(s) that best fits the purpose of the “work”. This allows the child to become his/her own teacher without constant interruptions from the adult. It also allows her/him the capability of rejoicing internally instead of waiting for the outer-praise of the adult. Independence is highly regarded for this kind of true self esteem which the child can say, “let me do it by myself”. A child must have their basic needs met, be loved, feel comfortable in their environment and be shown how to live in peace with others and in the care of the planet.

        Do I believe there is only one type of education? No I don’t. Do I believe in free education for all the children? Yes I do. It is very short sided not to include all of our precious children which will determine our future.

        There is a lot of wonderful brain research showing what works well for the growth of our children and we need to find solutions by investigating the literature and observing our children as they discover a life long love of learning and growth.

    • Choir Teach

      Can you give me more details about how they integrate the arts and academics? I am a choir teacher and am interested to know what my job will look like. You can’t direct a choir through a computer class so how does that work?

  • km

    I am surprised at the lack of a more progressive critique of these “trends.” (Somewhat like vcponsardin’s comment about the spotty history of some history buffs, I see most of the comments as rather uninformed.) First, engaging students’ passions in what it taught and how it is taught doesn’t date to the 90s, it was a very active theme in education reform in the 60s and 70s. See Ivan Illich, John Holt, the work at Summerhill, and many others. Second, while Waldorf and Montessori are, indeed, interesting examples, they are not the only ones, and should NOT be pitted against public education. There are strengths and weaknesses in all systems, and trying to measure one against the other can only happen when one doesn’t understand the history and context of education. Not everyone has access to private education, so if we don’t improve public schooling, we’ll continue to have challenges in society (since schools prepare people for society and we are all part of society, we all live in a social context where everyone–no matter what kind of education they had–participates.) Third, homeschooling can be really good (we’ve all heard of the ‘stars’), or quite dismal (many kids don’t do well at all when it comes to attending college or getting good jobs), or inbetween. So, it, like private schooling, isn’t a silver bullet. Fourth, distance education, in various forms, has been used for decades to reach remote people in low-income countries, and the calls to use it to democratize education here are naive. People who don’t have access to good regular education aren’t likely to have access to dependable internet connections or computers either, so it is more complicated. And, much distance learning that happens now is sub-standard, so it doesn’t democratize, it creates a lower strata of “educated” people who won’t be able to compete with those who engaged in face-to-face learning. The US has long been recognized as being the best at teaching creativity and innovation (which are based on critical thinking, problem solving, knowing how to think above factoid learning). This has been done, in part, engaging students’ interests and teaching to their passions (which a good teacher does), and using project or theme-based approaches (which is standard in gifted education and called for in other arenas also)–both of which are suggested in this article. With NCLB and other top-down initiatives, some schools are hampered in their ability to do this well. Struggling schools, however, need more than the freedom to personalize and customize; they need public support for the improvement of buildings, materials, and teacher development. It is a structural issue, not one in which we should blame the schools themselves.

  • Correjs

    Creativity and innovation are a product of the arts. It is imperative that the arts be integrated across the curriculum. The arts engage learners like nothing else. The arts speak to their hearts as well as their minds. A STEM curriculum is incomplete without the arts. Its time we embrace a ‘STEAM’ curriculum by including the arts in a STEM curriculum, for it will be those who create and innovate who will lead in the 21c.

  • Anonymous

    I found this article interesting. I also found it a little frustrating.There wasn’t any mention, as is the case in most education articles/blog posts/etc, regarding youth development, after school, recs and parks, latch key, etc. Youth reside both in and out of “formal” educational settings, and they have since “school” were founded centuries ago. The concept of interest-based education isn’t new. The underpinnings of it are rooted in indigenous cultural traditions of “community-based education”. It resides in the basics of Greek philosophy and rhetoric. It is the foundation of the youth development approach to working with young people.

    Additionally, skills 2.0 is just a repackaging of the skills needed to be a healthy, functioning individual within a community. Yes *how* those skills now manifest themselves are different, but the core of them are the same.

    What I see here is more and more commodification of “open-source” tools. By creating a frame of “new skills” or “skills 2.0″, you are able to set up a new level of “expert” that can then be gone to to help the “non-experts” do what you do. This then undermines those who have been doing the work in an open way but aren’t using the “approved” format of technology, pedagogy, etc. By “trending” this idea, we also create a new “thing” that school districts have to “purchase” in order to “compete” at being number one. Someone is making a profit off of these open source technologies (aka user-generated content). Is that profit being reinvested into education? Or is it being divested into another for-profit arena?

    While I was working in San Francisco public schools, I saw the danger of “trends in education”. Within a four year time period, we had three different literacy intervention programs. All three had to be purchased. All three had different goals. All three were the “newest” ideas in literacy development. The problem is that not one of them “stuck”. Year after year of changing curriculum based on trend, even when it is “evidenced”-based, leaves the students unclear about what they are supposed to be doing.

    It constantly meant a drainage of finances as well from cash strapped schools that needed to purchase the tools (e.g. curriculum, textbooks, worksheets, flashcards, etc.) to make it happen. Never once did we fully implement the strategy because we couldn’t afford all of the “stuff” needed to make it work, mostly due to the fact that from one year to the next it changed and the tools were not able to be used in conjunction with each other. In fact, they were actually pedagogically opposed. One was based on whole language acquisition (aka phonics) and required a separate class, one was an inclusive strategy where the intervention was embedded into the whole classroom, and the third was using a comprehension approach.

    Last, my educational approach is a model that looks like a triangle. One point of the triangle is “learner”. One point of the triangle is “content”. One point of the triangle is “process”. When all three points in the triangle hold equal weight, education is relevant, applicable and rooted in expertise.

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  • Mark Palladino

    This article has a great sense of the future of education.  The 2011 Horizon Report indicated the prevalence of digital delivery and how it will be a mainstream source for education within the next year. 
    Learner-centered education would be the most effective way to “create” creative people.  Learner-centered education is also common sense insofar as of course children are going to do better at what they find interesting.  Are there teachers out there who specifically gear their lessons to bore as many students as they can? I would hope not.  However, a learner-centered education is not without it’s pitfalls as well.  There will always be the slackers and there has to be an alternative for them.  What that may be, I have no idea, but there has to be an alternative.  We cannot put all our eggs into one basket and expect everything to be alright.  Our government has contingency plans set up for all kinds of federal emergencies, why should education have contingency plans? 
    “Skills 2.0” is a struggle that everyone has come to deal with over the past few decades.  With technology emerging at a staggering pace, it is not only difficult to use the technology; it is difficult to teach someone how to properly use new technology.  In time, teachers will be able to teach proper use of technology, but until the rate of new technology slows down, we will always be behind the eight ball.

  • Shannonwesson

    I have a strong feeling that most of the textbook publishers are starting to suffer.  Most teachers are encouraged to be creative and to think out of the box.  Most principals will not be happy evaluating a teacher who only uses the textbook to teach his/her class.  I predict that the future will allow for texbooks that are completely online and creative.   

  • angela

    Democratizing education 

  • angela

    Democratizing education is the apex of the future of education.  Collaboration, customization, and going digital are all perfect ways to embrace the changing youth and their new way of learning.  The education system needs to change with the times in order to stay the primary resource it was created to be.  If schools refuse to embrace the digital age or refuse to change their way of teaching, they risk producing students who leave school behind the curve.  This is a really great post and is right on the mark!

  • guest-Post University

    The increase in technology and the accessibility to the same level of education and resources regardless of financial status seems to be a huge improvement.  If we as educators want to harvest a creative future, we need to ensure that all students have the same chance as the other and the same basic skills and tools as the other. 

  • bloomwyplanted

    Wow, I didn’t know that I am an innovative educator!  I have lived the thought that children learn best when they are allowed to learn in terms of their own personal passions!  Why not allow students to create projects that use their own passions to address topics within the classroom?  I have taught Newton’s Third Law in this manner in the past. Unfortunately, because of mandates put on us by governmental agencies, testing, and school structures, creativity and personalization are being squashed!  The creative programs within my children’s elementary school have been eliminated.  Now, anything that takes more than 15 minutes per week away form the “basics” is not allowed in the classroom, mainly because of standardized testing requirements.

  • bloomwyplanted

    Wow, I didn’t know that I am an innovative educator!  I have lived the thought that children learn best when they are allowed to learn in terms of their own personal passions!  Why not allow students to create projects that use their own passions to address topics within the classroom?  I have taught Newton’s Third Law in this manner in the past. Unfortunately, because of mandates put on us by governmental agencies, testing, and school structures, creativity and personalization are being squashed!  The creative programs within my children’s elementary school have been eliminated.  Now, anything that takes more than 15 minutes per week away form the “basics” is not allowed in the classroom, mainly because of standardized testing requirements.

  • Mkindred – Post University

    The second trend of Interest Driven Education is very interesting. I am curious to know what the educators role would be? If the students interests are being fostered and personal curriculum is being developed based around the individuals interest, how is the teacher expected to play a part in 30 different kids interest? Please do not take my curiosity as doubt. It sounds exciting for the students and I am all for fostering their interest. I just would like to know how the teacher would play their role?

    The trend which I find most exciting is Democratizing education. The thought of all the youth of American having the opportunity to an education equal to that of the wealthiest schools is very gratifying. Too often you hear of standardized tests being lower in schools of minorities and or low income communities. The access that the World Wide Web have given individuals is so satisfying. Access to libraries and lectures only thought of as for the privilege are now accessible to all.

  • Mkindred – Post University

    The second trend of Interest Driven Education is very interesting. I am curious to know what the educators role would be? If the students interests are being fostered and personal curriculum is being developed based around the individuals interest, how is the teacher expected to play a part in 30 different kids interest? Please do not take my curiosity as doubt. It sounds exciting for the students and I am all for fostering their interest. I just would like to know how the teacher would play their role?

    The trend which I find most exciting is Democratizing education. The thought of all the youth of American having the opportunity to an education equal to that of the wealthiest schools is very gratifying. Too often you hear of standardized tests being lower in schools of minorities and or low income communities. The access that the World Wide Web have given individuals is so satisfying. Access to libraries and lectures only thought of as for the privilege are now accessible to all.

  • Delane

    Interest-driven learning is key to attaining the critical thinking skills students need in the 21st century. Perhaps a bigger component is how this can nurture creativity and teach students to “broaden their horizons”. This could be the difference between them attaining information or attaining knowledge.

  • Tj Bussey

    Learning is truly a community when the approaches outlined in this report are utilized.  Students working together in this transliterally potent world will foster great learning and will change how students learn and how teachers teach.  Instead of teaching to a test, these approaches will force the test to adjust to the teaching.  Students will be learning at a powerful rate and will influence how the “experts” perceive curriculum and the pedagogy that lends to the way that teachers teach.   

  • C_williams1313

    One should be careful with student interest driven educational topics. How does building a curriculum around Lady Gaga foster productive learning? Are these the types of topics students should base their educational structure around? 

    • tedious

      Student driven, teacher GUIDED!!!

  • http://twitter.com/Dianalovescats Diana

    Interest driven learning is important for students to meet success.  The more vested we are in a topic, the more creative we will be and the more effective the learning outcomes.

  • Erika

    Creativity has become less of a possibility in school systems as there is a constant need to teach to the curriculum and cover the main topics that will be covered on assessments.  Creativity should be included in school systems and there should be time made for it.  I do believe strongly in teaching to students interests as  Prensky states “the better way is to motivate each student to learn through his or her passion” (Prensky, Teaching Digital Natives).  As a special education teacher I find it essential to get to know my students interests and find a way to link the curriculum to their interests as well.  They are more engaged in learning when it is regarding a topic they are interested in.   I have seen my students want to read and forget that reading is difficult by being given a book that relates to their interest. Creativity needs to come to the forefront in schools in the future and it would be even more enhanced if technology can also connect to creativity and the curriculum.   

  • Karen

    Until teacher evaluations are not tied to test scores, the use of interest-driven curriculum will not happen. Most teachers would welcome with open arms the freedom to create and use theme-based, interest-driven activities and projects and lessons in their classrooms. The problem is that creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking are not on THE TEST.

  • http://twitter.com/DG_Cannon DebraCannon

    Although this article seems to target K-12 education, many of the same trends apply to higher education.

  • Christina

    These predictions of student learning leave me wishing I was part of the younger generation that will experience this new way of learning. I was part of the generation in which the teacher was the center of knowledge. he or she was the one that “allowed” us to learn. We had to follow his or her directions. If we were to go ahead or do something our own way, we were scolded.How exciting will it be to create your own learning path. A student will be able to follow their passion and choose what they want to learn. Students will be able to research on their own and at their own pace.

    I also think that this will allow students to be creative in the way they go about learning. They may choose to create projects, presentations, websites or whatever they would like to display their knowledge.

    The fact that education will be available to all because of the internet is good. Here

    is my question. How will universities be valued in terms of their status. If a student uses open education sources from MIT or from Google (down the road) how will the education or degree earned be compared by future employers?

    Will this new open education force all to obtain a degree? Will all jobs require some form of education learned from open education?

    Communication and collaboration, critical thinking are skills that are basic skills. I do find it strange that these are something that might become measurable on an assessment. In my opinion, these are skills which someone is born with. It is part of their personality.

    Education is definitely taking a sharp turn and moving fast into a more technology based atmosphere that people will have to accept. Ignoring technology will not help anyone. This will be the catalyst for change in education.

  • Lisa B.- Post University

    In
    the future of education, technology will play a big role, but the key changes
    will be in educational approach. Interest-driven
    learning, with a focus on projects that are relevant to individual students
    (i.e. “real” science), will be of utmost importance. There will be a greater
    variety of “learning pathways” that allow students to acquire essential skills
    and explore important ideas. Educators
    will receive support outside traditional training and development models; like
    their students, they will acquire skills in new, exciting ways. Although
    students will continue to frequent the conventional classroom setting, online
    learning will be everywhere.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ashley.vicari.5 Ashley Vicari

    I like the idea of having schools focus more on the students interest rather than the general curriculum. If students were given the choice to decide their future earlier, then they might be more determined, dedicated, and driven to be successful. The only problem with this and using technology in a classroom is budgeting. Some places struggle financially more so than others, which makes it harder for those students to receive the same benefits and technological devices that would enhance their learning. If there is a way to distribute the money fairly to all of the schools to offer these interest-driven programs and updated technology, then I feel students and educators would be more successful, both inside and outside the classroom.

  • truthisgood

    Teach me, computer; make me learn.

  • webhrd

    Interest driven is fine, but it requires that students be exposed to multiple interests so they can develop their passions. This is one of the primary tasks of k-8 education.

  • Sarah Revoir

    What stuck most me after reading this article was the discussion of “interest-driven education,” and allowing students to determine their interests at a young age. First, it got me thinking about how I didn’t determine how I learned best until mid-way through college and I also wasn’t aware of what I wanted to learn until then. Also, I found this idea very interesting because I think this all relates back to the discussion of how much creativity are educators infusing into their lessons on a daily basis that allow for students to tap into these interests. I recently watched a you tube video of Sir Ken Robinson called “Do Schools Kill Creativity?” I strongly feel that in order for students to find the different ways that they learn best, we have to use multiple learning strategies within a classroom in order for these interests to be discovered. By supporting the variety of learners within a classroom and modifying lessons to meet each learning style, students will succeed.

    Reference:

    Ted Talks. (2007, January 6). Sir Ken Robinson: Do Schools Kill Creativity? Retrieved

    from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG9CE55wbtY