Posted on 09/25/2012 at 09:21 AM by Global Reach

A Changing World: Thoughts from “Curriculum 21”
edited by Heidi Hayes Jacobs

A changing world demands that we as educators have some specific goals: 
(1)    address global perspectives
(2)    employ 21st century digital and networking tools; and
(3)    identify salient interdisciplinary linkages for real-world applications.

These goals are “embedded in enduring understandings, meaningful essential questions, mapped vertical articulation, balanced literacy, formative assessments, and future career proficiencies.” (pg. 12)  Jacobs makes a clear and succinct point that the “way to modernize our work is not to use a computer instead of a typewriter and call it innovation. It is to replace existing practices…starting with assessments.” (pg. 18) As we look at the assessments we are giving to our students, we will more accurately be able to reflect on the level and type of work we are having students do and be able to determine if this work is preparing our students for 1974, 1995 or 2015.

One of the challenges Jacobs offers is for us to “aggressively go out of our way to search for better ways to help our learners demonstrate learning with the types of products and performances that match our times.” (pg. 25)  Helping our students be career and college ready demands that we work collaboratively, brainstorming across and within disciplines to determine what needs to be kept and what we need to cut; what is essential and timeless.  One of the big jobs for teachers is to upgrade their curriculum around those essential concepts and skill sets students need to be proficient in when they complete high school, proficient at the level that will ensure they are competitive with their global peers.

What are the students producing to show knowledge and insight into content, skills, and proficiencies?  

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