The content in this blog is designed for the educator and the learner who wants to keep up on current technology trends. It gives the learner a glimpse of the past, the present and the future, and also looks at how technology affects education. Today’s learners are often faced with too much information to absorb. Our goal is to help you make sense of it all.
As your students prepare to enter the next stage of their academic lives, it is important to remember that learning does not end in college. College graduates who fail to transition into new, dynamic careers may become discouraged or, worse, look back on their college experience with regret for having wasted their time.
Creating a curriculum for today’s students
The content of this article has been modified from the author’s original contribution to eliminate any confusion.
Today’s classroom is no longer just about learning to read, write and do math by heart. We need students to dig deeper and ask clear, thoughtful questions so they develop the critical thinking skills they need to succeed in school, college, and life. Technology has played a major role in the evolution of the modern classroom from something cool or unusual to an important piece of the critical thinking puzzle.
While technology is an important part of education, it doesn’t tell the whole story. More than ever, teachers have a role to play in developing an engaging and diverse curriculum, although integrating technology into this process has its challenges. Many teachers are reluctant to replace printed materials due to cost and dissatisfaction with the digital versions available. According to MDR’s 2014 State of the K-12 Market Report, there is a growing demand for solutions that enhance instruction and personalized learning, and teachers are willing to consider new learning models.
So how do you create an engaging curriculum, based on critical thinking and incorporating technology, without sacrificing the basics? Here are some tips:
Visual thinking: There are many free programs that allow students to integrate visuals into their classroom work. For example, programs like Easel.ly can be used to create infographics that complement historical articles or scientific experiments. Animoto, a program that converts your photos into videos, can be used to create book reviews or book trailers that can turn a simple book review into an engaging and immersive multimedia experience.
Blog All About It: Journaling is a classic strategy for teaching critical thinking skills that helps students think independently about a topic given by the teacher. Creating a class blog allows you to take journal practice a step further by encouraging collaboration and teamwork. It enables students to think critically about their own learning and promotes interpersonal, group and communication skills. Photographing field trips and blogging about them, or documenting a class or school project, such as a science or art fair, is an authentic experience that engages students and makes them look at these projects differently. The most popular blogging platforms are WordPress and Blogger.
Social media integration: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest – there is a wide variety of social media, and students seem to be interacting with all of them. The advantage of social media is that it can be transformed into a unique and fun learning tool. Organize photo contests on Instagram and Facebook. Use Twitter for word games or scavenger hunts and to create news feeds on specific topics, e.g., political elections or news. Have several students work together and create research boards on which they post articles and other ideas on Pinterest. The possibilities are endless.
Sandra Love is the director of education and research at Mentoring Minds, a national publisher of critical thinking learning resources for K-12. The company recently launched Total Motivation™, a standards-aligned supplemental training program offered as an innovative combination of a print and online solution, meaning you get both for one price. This new learning solution provides teachers and students with access to high-quality content that helps students meet rigorous standards and develop effective critical thinking skills. For more information about Mentoring Minds and its educational resources, call 800-585-5258 or visit mentoringminds.com. image attribution flickr user flickeringbrad
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you create a learning curriculum?
A learning curriculum is a plan for teaching and learning. It includes the goals of the curriculum, what students should know and be able to do at the end of each unit, how to teach those skills, and how often students will learn them.
What teaching style is best for today’s students?
The best teaching style for today’s students is one that is engaging and interactive.
What are some examples of curriculum trends or issues in education today?
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