Solid curriculum is essential for tech, active learning success
- Curriculum is more important in preparing students for life post-graduation than overarching focuses on things like tech, personalization or coding, Robin Hood Learning + Technology Fund Director Amber Oliver and Entangled Solutions Principal Consultant Michael B. Horn write in EdSurge.
- A "strong and wide foundation of knowledge" is key when students are learning any new skill, the duo write, noting that giving students unlimited choice and personalization in what they learn can risk missing blocks that strengthen the foundation that would allow those personalized opportunities to reach their full potential.
- Using an example where "low ability" readers who knew a lot about baseball outperformed "high ability" readers who knew little, they make the case that a student having the context of a broader body of knowledge matters just as much for success as skill when it comes to making sense of a subject.
Ultimately, the argument presented is one of content versus the vehicle used to deliver it. Sure, a personalized approach or the interactive nature of digital media can enhance the overall experience, but does it ultimately matter if the material being presented doesn't build out a well-rounded foundation of knowledge? Can students fully appreciate, say, the feeding habits of sharks if they haven't been presented with broader ecological models and how the food chain sustains an ecosystem? Can they fully appreciate the works of Mark Twain without a broader base of knowledge of the historical events around which his stories take place?
While various technologies and approaches can strengthen learning, educators must ensure they aren't putting the cart before the horse. The underlying curriculum delivered to students will determine the success of tech and more active learning approaches, as they are effectively a means to an end rather than a magic-bullet solution.
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