This a my discussion post for my Investigations in Curriculum Change class this week. I thought this would be appropriate since I wrote it at ISTE 2014. The topic was to identify learning objectives that meet the future needs of today's students for the purpose of futures planning.
According to Parkay, Hass, & Anctil (2010) futures planning “is the process of conceptualizing the future as a set of possibilities and then taking steps to create the future we want” (60). This means we must imagine and compare the different possibilities based on where we think current trends will take us then hopefully select the correct possibility. For school planners, trying to predict the future can be scary because a wrong guess could potentially cost millions of dollars. For example, Schools designed and constructed today may have to last up to 100 years. Should valuable square footage be used for lockers when every student may have all their instructional materials on one device? Are interactive whiteboards needed if teachers’ wireless tablets are connect to devices that project the tablet’s image on monitors and students’ devices?
Curriculum planners face the same futures planning challenges in attempting to select what curriculum will best suit the children's needs of a community. Everyone in the educational process must see themselves as futurists if instruction will meet students’ future needs. Another important thing to remember for futures planning is to bring in all stakeholders into conversations and planning about curriculum that prepares students for the future. Schools are part of and reflect the communities they serve so it is important to include people outside of education such parents, students, along with community and business leaders to determine what curriculum changes would best serve the needs of the community.
Once a direction has been determined, curriculum planners must determine educational objectives emphasizing preparing students for the future. This challenge makes it difficult to prepare students because society is changing so rapidly. Making students life-long learners is the best way to meet futures planning and learning objectives. Students need the ability to retrain themselves when faced with career options not thought of when they were in school.
There are five learning objectives that make students life-long learners that will ensure their ability to meet any future challenges. Research skills is the first learning objective students because they to be able to find new information preparing for whatever challenge awaits them. Students need to know where and how to access critical information quickly so they can prepare for new careers before competitors beat them to it. Next, students need media literacy skills so they may understand the information they have researched. Information today comes from other sources other than books such as television, Internet, music, and movies. Like books, each of these media sources have messages students must recognize and determine the validity and importance of these messages. After students gathering and processing information from different sources, they must analyze the information to compile important parts to meet students’ needs. Communication skills are needed to put the information into an understandable form so it may be shared with others. Finally, students need to learn to use social media such as Twitter or Edmodo so they can build a network of expertise from they can constantly learn from (November, 2014). With these five skills used as curriculum objectives students are well prepared for their respective futures.
November, A. (2014, July). Learn to learn: First 5 days of school. Interactive lecture presented at ISTE 2014, Atlanta, GA
Parkay, F.W., Hass, G., & Anctil, E.J. (2010). Curriculum leadership: Readings for developing quality educational programs (9th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.