The curriculum edge


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A synopsis of a portion of Milton Chen's Education Nation: Six Leading Edges of Innovation.

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The curriculum edge

  1. 1. The Curriculum Edge Refers to the reorganization of what is taught and how learning is assessed. Chen describes that learning today is “siloed;” (2010, p. 35) rather than integrated and taught together. “These subject matter silos prevent students from seeing the relevance of courses and concepts” (Chen, 2010, p.35-36)
  2. 2. Problem Based Learning (PBL) As defined by the Buck Institute “Students go through an extended process of inquiry in response to a complex question, problem or challenge” (Chen, 2010, p. 36). Allows for curriculum integration and for student inquiry. The defined borders of subject areas are taken down and the curriculum is opened and defined by the problem and solutions discovered by the students.
  3. 3. Research on the Benefits ofProblem Based LearningAsummary published on Edutopia by Barron and Darling-Hammond, found that:  Students learn more when actively engaged in solving real world problems.  This engagement impacts student achievement more than any other factor.  Students need direction in how to learn.  Cooperative learning in conjunction with problem based learning is highly effective.  Teacher development is needed to effectively implement this as an effective mode of curriculum design.
  4. 4. Implementation of PBL Should not be used in addition to the curriculum as it is being taught now, but as a replacement to the traditional teaching methods. This can be difficult to accomplish in the testing driven culture in which schools function today. Can be used to motivate nontraditional students into completing high school.
  5. 5. Global Learning Student access through the internet allows for collaboration across the world, thus connecting students and their experiences. National Geographic Society and the Asia Society are two influential organizations that provide global learning resources and professional development There is a prominent focus on language education, particularly Chinese and Arabic.
  6. 6. The Language of Images Films and the Motion Picture industry have a great impact on students and there is little reflection of that in the curriculum today. Lack of multimedia curriculum and fluent teachers in which to teach it. Students that are interested in the entertainment industry have no path in which to learn more in schools today. The “Story of Movies” was provided to schools as an interdisciplinary curriculum kit by the Film Foundation and particularly focuses on three principles: Film is a language, Film is a cultural document, and Film is a collaborative art.
  7. 7. The Heart and Mind Connection Curriculum must also address how students feel in addition to what they are taught. Chen describes this as a student’s “learning attitude” (2010, p. 79) In order for students to be successful and receptive to learning, how they feel about themselves and their environment must be taken in to account. A student who has a poor attitude may be seen as a student that does not want to learn. In order to effectively teach this student, the emotional well being will need to be addressed as well, particularly the interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligence of students. This is accomplished through Social and Emotional Learning (SEL). This programs are geared to addressing the emotional needs of students in addition to curricular needs.
  8. 8. Assessment  Chen describes the learning environment as a classroom stool, each leg representing an essential part: Curriculum, Teaching and Assessment. For the stool to be balanced, each area must be structurally sound.  Typically, assessment in today’s classroom focuses on what is taught. Chen states this as “Neither teachers nor students want to waste their time on teaching and learning beyond what they are assessed on” (2010, p. 76).  Other countries around the world are focusing on performance based assessment tools in which students are challenged to perform tasks to show learning.