Curriculum has been and will apparently continue to be, a fluid dynamic actively reflecting influences from the powers that conduct and dictate educational policy. Fluid is used in this case, to describe curricular adaptation, as requirements in policy, technology, and educational opinion change. In other words, as education continues to grow, so will the implementation of curricular alignment to address this growth.
The most poignant trends, this author perceives, in the next 10 years educationally, is the increased influence of the computer, virtual classroom, and the internet’s instant access. Along these same lines, student-based education will become the basis for all future educational endeavors. Integration of these two perceived trends will be the foundation for the future of education. Truly, a point can, a least, be made for increased future reliance on technologies’ influence. In their article, Identifying Future Trends in Curriculum Planning, Benjamin Troutman and Robert Palombo identified a task force that was developed to study the trends that potentially could have an impact on future education. The 36 person task force found Computers and other Information Technologies as a meaningful part of and vehicle for the education of all students (Troutman & Palomba, 1983). This trend seems a good match with either the cognitive or behavioral approaches to educational development.
The Next 10 Years
A developing trend is a focus on instructional design that accommodates for strategies to promote cognitive learning. Where a behaviorist, continues to look at the content to be learned, cognitive psychologists study learning problems from the learner's perspective (Bush, 2006). This author definitely sees himself as having a cognitive philosophical approach to education. There is often evidence to support the idea of teaching students to learn based on individual learning styles. This strategy has aspects supporting curricular advancement, however, none more important then the skill of access to and retrieval of information. If a student knows how to research information, the potential for the forwarding of knowledge grows exponentially. “Strategies, such as this, help learners build connections to prior knowledge because the more associations the learner makes, the more meaningful the learning” (Bush, 2006, p.14). When learning style preferences are spot-lighted, for example, students gain a greater understanding of content. Cognitive scientists have found that learners who are proficient in the ability to transfer learning use skills that can be taught. “Meta-cognitive skills open the student to self-awareness of learning. Learners become supervisors over their own learning” (Bush, 2006, p.14). This ideology becomes the basis of student’s responsibility for their educational outcomes. The instructor’s job then becomes delegated to one of facilitator/mentor and not just a conveyor of information. The Web is providing increasing access to resources, which means that the teacher is no longer the "dispenser of information" (Charp, 2000, p.18). The Behaviorists, not to be denied, are also developing similar strategies to actively address student based curricular alignment. Even though the, tried and true, Direct Instruction (DI) model has fallen out of favor in terms of philosophical trends of learning and instruction, the model still serves as a viable and effective approach in many settings (Duffrin, 1996; Edmondson & Shannon, 2002). “DI, is an instructional model that focuses on the interaction between teachers and students” (Buchanan, Luck, & Jones, 2002, p.41). Key components of DI include “modeling, reinforcement, feedback, and successive approximations” (Joyce, Weil, & Calhoun, 2000, p.337). Newly employed student based curricular alignment and “post assessment with corrective feedback to customize the experience to the needs of the learner” (Magliaro, Lockee, & Burton, 2005, p.53), presents a workable behaviorist adaptation to student based curriculum. With either philosophical camp, teaching a student to be an effective learner will be the major educational emphasis in the next 10 years, if not sooner. This student-based educational trend has far reaching implications. There is becoming a necessity to be able to identify strategies, assess reliability of information, and maintain up-to-date retrieval plans to stay current with the growing information base that is the internet. Without the integration of technology with class content, students will not be able to keep pace with tomorrow’s cadence and will be left in the educational dust. The days of the traditional classroom setting are coming to an end, at least with upper educational doctrine. And days are numbered for an educational environment that does not address real-time issues. In today’s virtual classroom, students from all walks of life, geographical locations, and educational backgrounds have a plethora of relevant options to explore referencing their educational endeavors. As of 2002, over 2 million students were
found to be pursuing an education in the virtual classroom (Buchanan, Luck, & Jones, 2002). This number is obviously conservative in today’s cyberspace universities. This very classes’ online forum is a perfect example of where education is heading. Students come from everywhere, from differing backgrounds, from philosophically diverse orientations, and are still able to maintain the academic cadence necessary to succeed, all due to this online forum. All today’s student seems to need is a workable knowledge of information retrieval, and a willingness to integrate viable goals into their educational scheme to become successful at their chosen academic discipline.
Future Curricular Content
When viewing our countries’ educational design, this author is left with the question of just what would be the best way to integrate curriculum into the next 10 years. There is always going to be a need for basic academic skills, however, an increased emphasis on communication skills, mathematics, and science, to address greater interaction with the internet, is suggested (Troutman, & Palombo, 1983). Curriculum will always address the socio-political climate of where ever schooling takes place. For example, Democratic ideals will be necessary, in this country, “to emphasize an understanding of, respect for,
and involvement in the democratic process” (Troutman, & Palombo, 1983, p.49). Relevance is the key word to future curriculum. With the information age also comes a closer tie with the concept of real-time education. “Make the learning situation as much like an authentic or real-world situation as possible to inspire and engage students” (Bush, 2006, pg.14). This builds opportunities for practice on the original task and the generalized tasks. “Emphasize what learners should be learning from the experience. And beware of negative transfer, by including learning experiences that will help them to think flexibly” (Bush, 2006, pg.14). In a nut shell, provide the most current approach to student education possible. There is, of course, financial implications referencing future curricular endeavors. With the acceptance of technology comes a price. First is, obviously, the technology to be used. Everyone has had an opportunity to see computer software become obsolete over night. Each time there is a new revision, up-grade, or new conceptual integration, the new improved knowledge comes entangled with a financial commitment few school districts are able to handle. The second financial conundrum is in staff development, especially in the areas of new technologies. In order to maintain a virtual environment, educators must be current in every aspect of curricular presentation. This requires another commitment to career long, if not life long staff development. There is a need to keep educators ahead of students, technologically, or risk students falling short in the competitive global market. In other words, educators must develop lifelong learning strategies in order to effectively stimulate those in their charge. The educator, who will most effectively influence their students, becomes those who accept their new career description with open arms. There is truly no choice in this author’s opinion. Make the change, stay up-to-speed, or become obsolete, just like out-dated software no one can use anymore.
Involvement with Future Curriculum
Part of this assignment was to pose what and who might influence curriculum, and who might be involved with development and design. This author is of the opinion that influences on future curricular endeavors are already being developed by the very people we are networking with at this time on this online forum. Education is a dynamic concept full of bright minds with inquisitive intent. Education is rapidly approaching the time when educators of limited vision will be ferreted out and instructors dedicated to life long learning and educational advancement are left to design future curricula. This author does not see any other viable direction then the quest for continued growth, educationally, by our teachers, if we are to stay up with technologies demands. In an article by Wenuxe Li, entitled, Analysis of the impact of a ten-year technology initiative on students' outcome, inferences were drawn about the impact of teacher educational expertise. Among high school students, there was an apparent trend that grade point average (GPA), had a strong correlation with their teachers' technology training level over the 10 year period of time (Li, 2006). Li also noted an apparent trend of high school students' GPA in relation to their teacher’s technology training level, number of years since beginning training, and technology integration level over the 10 year period of time (Li, 2006). In short, a postulation was forwarded to suggest that as the instructor’s knowledge base grew, so did the successful outcomes of the students in their charge. The proctors of continued growth are the ones who will affect curricular design the most. As total technologic integration becomes a reality, proctors are left with developing strategies addressing the impact of real-time designs.
The question of what will become the influences on education and curricular design, and this author comes to the conclusion the global economy is the true future consumer of note. With the ever increasing global influence being generated in education, there is an obvious need to keep up to speed with technological advancement. Many other countries already see the information age and the implications being generated for global dominance, and are devoting millions to address future educational endeavors. In the May 18th, 2005 edition of World News Connection, an article touted, “Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government prepared to invest 7.9 billion HK dollars (102 million US dollars) in a new academic structure slated to be introduced in September, 2009”, (HK to Invest, 2005). Hong Kong has proven to be an industrial leader in the last decade. In 2009 they will implement even more educational reform, addressing future academic design. Asia appears to see the big picture in a clearer light then does the United States. While we are trying to bring everyone up to standards, the more progressive nations are developing the next generation of educational doctrine, technologically aimed at, not only their own countries, but the world as well. It is obvious that many nations feel as this author does in reference to technology and the role to be played through pending global interaction. Countries able to play the internet and global networking game will dictate the future of eventual curricular endeavors. For as education changes to meet the new global economy, so does curriculum design to address these changes. Once again, adding credence to the concept, of education being a fluid dynamic ebbing and flowing with the issues of the specific time and place in history.
This section of the curriculum trends paper was the hardest for this author. When looking at my part, in the curricular scheme of things over the next 10 years, there is a clear, but difficult, direction for personal pursuit. This author, like many others, will be forced to facilitate the change needed to impact his student base in the most comprehensive, engaging, and pedagogically sound manner possible. Like the previous statements about technology, this author sees the picture as one of firm belief in a new direction for education. The information age is just that, all about information and retrieval for usage. In order to impact students, in an effective manner, strategies must be developed which coincide with real-time and relevant information systems. Life long education is the key for future successful educational delivery. We must stay current in order to navigate our students toward their successful outcome. Only when we are armed with the right amount of technical expertise, will students take us seriously. The future is steeped in virtual pedagogy and proctors must be able to integrate technology with curricular design in order to be a successful contributors to the future of education. Addressing web based curriculum is quickly becoming the new trend in educational mainstream thinking. There is rapidly becoming a calling for educators who can facilitate online forums, navigate the web for application, design and implement virtual curriculum, and come away with successful outcomes. I see myself as being insightful in application’s regard, and see continued computer literacy as paramount to maintaining a position in future curricular exchange. This author will adapt to the new prevailing direction of education, or will become extinct in the trying.
The future implications influencing this author are numerous. Time spent on research, assimilation, and application of new technologies is money in the curricular-presentation bank. Classes, like this, are paramount to the successful routing of the new generation of classroom. “The best instruction digitally and the best curriculum digitally can turn any resource-poor learning environment into a classroom of the future” (Rivero, 2006, p.56). Education is on the brink of a technological revolution. The need for real-time, real-life, and real-relevancy has come and demands attention to the detail necessary to succeed interactively. I see my place as one of continued growth and experience. I am of the mind-set that in order to be successful, educators need to embrace the new technology driven formatting. Educators must be able to learn right along with their students. Acknowledgement of these issues is a necessity if there is to be an impact with our students and encouragement for them to pursue their educational goals. This author sees a continued study of pedagogical approaches, in his future, in order to be as effective and competitive as possible with the future of his scholastic endeavors.
Curricular change is inevitable. The internet, computer, and interactively driven forums, which education is today, are proving a demanding entity at best. Education is in a state of chaos it present. There are so many directions, disciplines, methodologies, and interpretations, the implications are staggering. One thing is for certain though. Barring any catastrophe that relegates education to the turn of the last century, technological enhancement is here to stay. The integration of technology pedagogically is the true future of curriculum and all prospects associated with educational direction. Educators are challenged with the necessity to keep pace or perish. There is in actuality no choice in the direction for future educational doctrine, in this author’s opinion. Teachers can watch from the comfort of their arm chairs, or become proactive participants referencing their continued life long education. There is no room for complacency as the educational world now developing in cyber-space becomes the main delivery system for our very near future. So educational planners need to heed the obvious implications presented, and actively entertain a new era for pedagogical presentation.
This author sees, perhaps, a future of dissemination of traditional institutions of higher learning. Forwarded is an era of digital interactions, guided by educators of nontraditional expertise, charged with aligning curriculum to the needs of the new global society. These individuals will be people like the students of this class, never relinquishing the life long curiosity which becomes personal philosophical style in teaching. For this author, personally, there is a burning drive that haunts my being. I wish to be the very best educator in my field of expertise possible, and I intend to explore every possible avenue of study which leads to my personally positive outcome. I will continue to stay current, open, and proactive in my quest for knowledge, melding all possible technological avenues into my style, because who knows? The day may come when technology becomes the education it now serves.
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