A Look at Curriculum Innovation and Technology Integration in the Classroom on National Technology Day

January 6 is National Technology Day! 

Computing power continues to grow at an exponential rate while its relative cost decreases at an equal exponential rate. This phenomenon, known as Moore’s Law, once only applied to the technology function within an organization. As more organizational processes become technologically dependent, this is no longer the case. Big data, social media, mobility, technological device size, student analytics, and other technological evolutions are disrupting school districts’ processes in big ways.

Is your school district’s technology transforming too quickly? Or is it not changing fast enough? Are your in-house experts struggling to adapt your district’s systems and processes to keep pace?

Many school districts responded by increasing technology spending, but continue to struggle with which technologies to use, where to use them, and the fastest, most cost-effective route to implement and maintain technology’s use in the classroom.

The question for public, charter, and parochial schools alike is: how do you leapfrog to the forefront of the technology frontier without losing sight of the need for meeting education standards, differentiated instruction, and of course, the budget?

Successfully reacting to these advancements demands a balance between disruption and transformation. In educational consulting, I help with more than just curriculum development. I also work with K-12 Educational Leadership in schools and districts to optimize curriculum decisions related to the complex challenges posed by the exponential growth of technology.

  • Privacy and Student Information – Tracking specific information on student development is necessary to provide students, both for general education and those with special needs, with adequate support related to personalized learning, as well as access to the incredible interactions now available to students and teachers through social media.
  • Technology Integration – Given the first quarter of the 21st century has almost passed by, integrating technology into a curriculum framework requires more than just considering its educational benefit to students. They must have access to global connectivity. Responsible K-12 education leaders must consider overcoming their current barriers to access. This includes the purchase and maintenance costs, adequate teacher training, and determine how to allow for students need for local and global access while maintaining required privacy.
  • Curriculum Innovation – Technological advancements affect both HOW and WHAT students learn inside and outside of the classroom. A successful school or district must look beyond just how to integrate technology into the classroom. It must build flexibility into its core curriculum to meet the exponentially evolving needs of students to develop their 21st Century skills. It must also consider how traditional teaching tools, like textbooks, fit together with access to Open Education Resources (OER) as prescribed by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

 

Virtual technology, 3D printing, and the Internet of Things (IoT) is becoming commonplace in more and more classrooms. For me, the future of education is very exciting! As much as we talk about looking forward, effective schools and districts strategize by pausing to contemplate how to best build deliberate procedures around the connections among technology, student access, and meaningful interactions with the world as part of their curriculum evaluation process. This is imperative because if we don’t know where we’ve been, how can we figure out how to get to where we need to go?

To discuss your curriculum concerns, please contact me using this form.

Comments (2)

  • Excellent article, Janet! In your experience, what are the practical considerations that have helped administrators overcome objections and barriers to acting in those three key areas you listed?

    • Privacy and Student Information – Ensuring students, teachers, and administrators are building understanding and application of the NOW literacies regarding receptive and expressive social media environments are imperative. Silvia and I have a chapter specifically addressing these seven literacies–Basic, Media, Digital Citizenship, Global, Information, Network–in our book “A Guide to Documenting Learning.” Part of the NOW literacies learning addresses privacy concerns.
      Technology Integration – Students, in most places, have access to media and interacting through social media outside the school day. Therefore, it is high on the lists of “must do’s” to incorporate this way of life in school as well. Policies and protocols need to be revised to embrace devices as tools, similar to a pencil or pen. A learner needs to be instructed on how to use the device-tool properly, while equally finding quality purpose and meaning for using the tool. In other words, a pencil/pen is worthless unless someone has something worthwhile to thoughtfully share with a targeted audience. Now the tool serves as a helpful conduit.
      Curriculum Innovation – More and more we are hearing in education that students need a balance of learning and application of that learning in meaningful ways to the students (not just the adults). In schools and districts where they see the curriculum (which in Latin means “a path run in small steps”) as an adventurous path that, while one packs for the necessities for the journey, is ready to experience the unknown and/or unplanned, and realizes that the latter often makes for the best and most memorable for the learners. Therefore, ensuring places for curriculum innovation while taking the necessary steps along the path is essential to create purposeful and meaningful learning through the our students’ eyes and minds.

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