The Curriculum Redesign Project

As the final project for my W540 class (and my final grad school project) I have updated this blog to act as an E-portfolio showcasing my work for the class. You’ll notice in the header a link to the Redesigning Curriculum tab which acts as the main portal to the work that I have done in redesigning several of my units with a focus on increasing technology and 21st Century Skills.

Enjoy!

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Redesigned Curriculum: Lesson 4

Here is the final of the four redesigned units.

This one is more of a Project Based Learning approach as we look into Genetics.  We also plan on attempting to incorporate Literacy skills as we examine the novel, My Sisters’ Keeper.

Nuetzel 3.4 Final

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Redesigned Curriculum: Lesson 3

Here is a link to the third of 4 redesigned units.  This one focuses mostly on critically analyzing sources and is important in improving students’ digital literacy skills.

Nuetzel 3.3 Final Draft

 

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Redesigned Curriculum: Lesson 2

Here is a link to the unit that I have redesigned for my second project.

It focuses on Global Awareness and has a unique tie into Visual Art for a science class.

Nuetzel 3.2 Final

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Redesigning Curriculum: Lesson 1

Here is a copy of the first lesson that I redesigned.

The theme is Critical Thinking and Collaborative Learning.

Nuetzel 3.1 Final

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Technology Professional Development

The long awaited debut of the Web2.0Training4Teachers website has finally come! Kathryn Linderman and I have developed a website that can walk teachers through learning to understand what Web 2.0 tools are and how to utilize them in their classes.

The site currently consists of four lessons. Each lesson is designed with the intent that the educator learns by participation in a larger community and produces an artifact demonstrating some knowledge. Each of these lessons also enable the educator to gain practical experience in various examples of Web 2.0 tools that can be later used in the classroom.
The first lesson is designed to introduce the educator to the Digital Native and what learning on the internet can look like. The second lesson focuses on the ability to collaborate with multitudes of people online. If knowledge is socially constructed what can be more effective in learning than having millions of people around the world who want to learn alongside you? The second lesson also seeks to help the educator develop a Professional Learning Network, so that they can be self-sufficient after completing the training. (By self-sufficient I really mean linked into a knowledgable collective that can further refine your practices.) The third lesson focuses on introducing the teacher to specific Web 2.0 tools and has them learn how to use them on their own. Another major aspect of this lesson is learning to think WHY one would use such and such technology. The fourth lesson is for the teacher to create their own lesson plan utilizing a Web 2.0 resource and incorporating it into their classroom. This is then reflected on, and then shared back to the site to provide knowledge to other users in the Web2.0Training community.

The goal of this website is two-fold. The first goal is to introduce teachers to resources. The other goal for the future is to become a digital storehouse holding thousands of lesson plans and reflections developed for teachers and by teachers on various different Web 2.0 tools. The fourth lesson serves as the means of developing those reflections and lessons. At this time there are only one or two lesson reflections on there so be sure to check them out.

This site cannot learn and grow unless educators incorporate their experiences so be sure to invite all your friends!

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Deeper Reflections on A New Culture of Learning

With my Computers in Education class we read Thomas and Brown (2012) New Culture of Learning. The new culture of learning, according to Thomas and Brown, “comprises two elements. The first is a massive information network that provides almost unlimited access and resources to learn about anything. The second is a bounded and structured environment that allows for unlimited agency to build and experiment with things within those boundaries” (Thomas and Brown, 2011, p19). The major learning group is no longer the school, but the collective, “a community of similarly minded people who [help others] learn and meet the very particular set of needs [they have]” (p.21). With the vast network of information and a collective people have the opportunity to learn incredible amounts in very informal ways. The authors also point out that as the world’s accumulated knowledge is constantly being added to and the culture is moving so fast, that change is not only inevitable, but those who will succeed will be those that embrace it wholeheartedly (Thomas and Brown, 2011).
The authors point out how this new culture of learning needs to change the way we think about education. Learning in the collective happens all of the time, because people choose to learn more about their interests (Thomas and Brown, 2011). When teachers can make learning happen that is personal and passion based then learning ceases to be work and becomes an imaginative mode of play.
Traditional education has always focused on explicit knowledge because knowledge of the majority of our history has been relatively static. In the new culture of learning, where change is the norm, then we need to help students gain tacit knowledge. Citing Michael Polanyi, Thomas and Brown (2011) define tacit knowledge as, “the component of knowing that is assumed, unsaid, and understood as a product of experience and interaction” (p.74). Tacit knowledge can not be taught, but is learned by “doing, watching, and experiencing” (p.76). While the authors seem to suggest that this use of tacit knowledge is new, John Dewey talked about the same ideas back in 1903. Dewey (2009) in The Child and the Curriculum, distinguishes between the ‘adult’ knowledge as a clearly defined logical map of a journey. The students could not just study the map, but must experientially go through the journey to learn themselves. In his words,
“The map does not take the place of an actual journey. The logically formulated material of a science or branch of learning, of a study, is not substitute for the having of individual
experiences… but the map, a summary, an arranged and orderly view of previous experiences
serves as a guide, to future experiences.” (Dewey, 2009, p. 31)
While I agree with the authors that education needs to foster tacit knowledge and this has been neglected in traditional education, the ideas are not necessarily new.
Towards the end of the book the authors lay out the cornerstones of the new culture of learning. Instead of focusing on learning answers (what knowledge), students need to be learning to pose questions (where knowledge). Thomas and Brown (2011) say, “Reframing knowledge as a where question underscores the increasing importance of context. In a world where context is always shifting and being rearranged, the stability of the what dimension of knowledge also comes into question” (p.93). The second cornerstone of the new culture focuses on bringing knowledge together through the process of making. Hands on, learning by doing can go “far beyond a simple transfer of information and becomes inextricably bound with the context that is being created” (p.94). What the authors are saying is that by creating content we come to a much deeper understanding compared to just remembering facts. This is the same idea that is illustrated with Bloom’s Taxonomy of Knowledge. The third cornerstone is play where the authors discuss how in play the goal is not to finish, but to find the next challenge which is useful in the context of learning. We do not want our students to end our course and then think that they do not need to go to the depths within our field. As Dewey (1967) explains, “Any experience is mis-educative that has the effect of arresting or distorting the growth of further experiences” (p.25).
I would say that this is book does a good job merging some progressive education ideals from the past to the incredible technological revolution of today. I would recommend it to teachers who are trying to understand how to incorporate some new ideas into their classroom. This along with Brown’s Digital Media and Learning video can provide understanding of the context of change and why we need to ‘tinker’ with things even if we don’t utilize them for the next 25 years. For me personally, I like the dimensions of questioning, making, and play. I feel that these are easily connected to my subject area of middle school science. While I do have to get through the state standards, any chance that we can do authentic inquiry is needed.

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