Friday, April 22, 2011

An opportunity for design being lost?

Will a new set of standards create an opportunity to reimagine our curriculum in its overall design (a la UDL) in order to be accessible to a multitude of different learners interacting and generating content in a multitude of different ways?  Will both the content standards as well as the standards for mathematical practice be intertwined in such a way that we actually start inspiring learners and mathmeticians?  Will all of these reflect the new demands of digital literacy and the power of Web 2.0? One answer to this (from a key curriculum press blog on the common core standards) from a review of the textbooks displayed at the NCTM conference in Indianapolis this past week is NO.   Key Curriculum Press says the new textbooks stamped with "common core" on the front take the following two approaches to implementing the core:

  1. Textbooks with new covers and the same exact lessons contained between the covers.  Sure, the state standards that were previously cited are now replaced with Common Core State Standards (CCSS).  But, the lessons and assignments are the same as last year’s edition.
  1. Textbooks with new covers and additional lessons interspersed in the book, but the new lessons have no connection to the rest of the material."
Obviously a textbook publisher looks at books as ways to embody and deliver these standards (and it seems that this is being poorly done), but how will these standards encourage us to review the overall design of what we are doing and how can they come to be part of 21st century digital students' lives?  This is an opportunity being lost not just by textbooks companies not revisiting their products in a serious way, but by many others who are not redesigning these standards in a way that is web 2.0 informed.

Take for example this recent posting of how to embody the standards of mathematical practice.
"1. After presenting a problem and having students briefly think about it themselves, they discuss their solution pathway and accompanying reasoning with a partner. Their ideas may be validated or tweaked, but are always recognized.
2. As students solve the problem, allow them to seek advice and help from their partner. This builds a sense of confidence and teamwork.
3. After solving the problem, invite students to share their results and reasoning in small groups. This reflective practice allows students to revisit and justify their thinking, learn the approaches of others, and identify relationships between different solution pathways."
This example of implementation talks about collaboration, partnership, and sharing work, minus the central component of how students and we now communicate, share knowledge and collaborate--e-mail, google, facebook, twitter, diigo, youtube, etc.

It is hard not to feel like an opportunity might be slipping away as we re-look at our curriculum.  Stay tuned for the coming posts as I attempt to narrate how one school tries to retain the best of traditional and non-traditional modes of delivery as well as integrate technology into our revamped curriculum.  We are taking these new standards as a moment to start reimagining our curriculum and to not lose out on the opportunity this moment allows.

1 comment:

  1. I agree these standards are a great opportunity for curriculum creators to take advantage of, but have been under-leveraged at present. I also love the Wordles in post 2.0!