So where do Justin and I go from here?
Over the past week we have taken some time to reflect on our process of creating a meaningful and usable framework for embedding “21st century literacy” into our school curriculum. Part 1, 2, 3, 4 sought to guide you the reader through our thinking and seek out feedback and friendly criticism. Blogs are such a great venue for conversations like this.
Our final post asks for advice on how to make it a reality.
Our framework was designed with the International School of Bangkok and its teachers in mind. While we feel it could apply to any educational setting we are not bound by any external curricular limitations other than that which the International Baccalaureate sets out in grades 11 and 12. Our school is heavily invested in the UBD (Understanding by Design) approach to unit/curriculum planning and as a result we have chosen to use “essential questions” to guide our framework.
To quote from an earlier post:
Looking at Wiggins and McTighe’s Understanding by Design approach to curriculum and unit design we liked how big “essential questions” and “enduring understandings” had helped us plan and design units when we were teaching math and social studies. What if this same “best practice” approach could be applied to the way technology was used and talked about in the classroom? If this was good curricular design practice, why should technology and thinking curriculum be any different? What if that same approach was used in the way we looked at connecting technology and learning across the curriculum? What if there were only a few manageable questions that even the most tech-resistant teacher could see value in?
Best practices regarding meaningful technology integration vary world wide. As technology is a real and relevant teaching and learning tool, we felt that our approach should leverage internationally-recognized best practices and current research if it was to truly gain acceptance in our school. Whether you use the new NET Standards as a framework or something else, it is important that you meet your teachers where they are and stay consistent with what is accepted and established practice in your own school environments.
When we walk into school every day we are confident that kids are learning how to read, write, and do math. Our teachers are trained to teach these subjects. We trust in their professionalism and in the belief that these teachers want to prepare students for their futures.
In our embedded curriculum model, we have tried to ensure that the nature of “what teachers have to teach” seems accessible to them and just as importantly doable – that the conversations involving technology are conversations that teachers are already having about truth, safety, communication, and collaboration.
But theory is not practice.
- What are the best ways to get teachers not only on board and trained, but fundamentally believing in the importance of including this curriculum into “the way they do business”?
- How do we get to a place where we have the same confidence in students learning information literacy skills as we do in the other subject areas?
- If your school is on the right track and doing this, how have you made it happen?
- What has been the tipping point to go from talking about it, to doing it?
This is where we want to go. We would like your input. It’s time for the collective intelligence of the Web 2.0 world to kick in.
None of us is as good as all of us.
Please chime in.
Thanks for joining us this week. (In particular, thanks to Scott for lending us his audience.)
We’ve enjoyed the conversation.
with Justin Medved