Is a Spotify approach the future of curriculum?
- With personalized learning's rise to popularity has come an increasing interest in cloud-based curriculum-as-a-service (CaaS) approaches, eSchool News reports.
- Essentially a Spotify for textbooks, CaaS platforms would allow districts to edit, author and curate curricular materials to be student-facing and maximize accessibility, while also providing assistance in managing classrooms and measuring the resources' impacts.
- Evergreen Public Schools in Clark County, WA, has worked with LearnZillion on a curricular strategy in line with this approach, but the efforts also stretch beyond the U.S., with Brazil's Nova Escola adopting a cloud-based CaaS platform after being inspired by Evergreen.
With 1:1 device programs increasingly prevalent in K-12 schools nationwide, the traditional print textbook is quickly becoming obsolete. Rather than simply replicating it digitally, educators and ed tech developers are recognizing the expanded potential afforded by laptops and tablets. The conversation has moved beyond one of simply integrating technology to one of how that technology enhances learning as a means to an end.
This shift has come at a time when the challenge of scaling effective personalized learning models, like those long seen in the Montessori world, to student bodies the size of those at traditional public schools has gained an equally significant share of the conversation. If a district can utilize a platform like the CaaS model explored by Evergreen and LearnZillion to curate curriculum playlists that address students' learning capacities at varying levels, that could put its schools that much closer to solving that question of scale.
As with project-based and flipped learning, it will also require a culture shift among educators, necessitating that they step back when necessary and become more of a facilitator to learning than a "sage on the stage" lecturing at students. And it may require additional time on the part of district curriculum administrators, who will have to think of these resources in terms of many individual parts rather than as a whole product when curating them. Depending on students' progress and interests, for example, those individual parts could conceivably form many different combinations, and their selection could come with a fair amount of trial and error over time.
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