Curriculum and Content Delivery

 Link to source.
Link to source. 

As my teaching partner, Chantelle Davies and I explored the grade 5 Science and Technology, Social Studies and Language Arts curriculum, we looked for explicit and implicit examples that referenced technology and 21st Century learning pedagogies.  As we looked over the three subjects that we are responsible for this upcoming year, we found that their were very few explicit examples.  We found many implicit examples of how we could use 21st Century learning to enhance student success and engagement.  For teachers, the curriculum is what is to be taught but it is up to each teacher their own pedagogies on how to deliver the content.

How we teach and how students learn should prepare them for the world and workforce they are preparing to enter and therefore we should be thinking about incorporating 21st Century technologies into the classroom.  The workforce today is using 21 Century technology in ways that were not possible a few years ago.  To engage students technology must be used in order to create authentic real world tasks.  Students are using and learning about technology at the same time as some teachers are learning.  In some cases, it can be argued that the students are more than capable of teaching peers and the teacher on how to use some 21st Century technology and tools.  For teachers to use technology to it's full potential requires more than just access to 21st Century technology in the classroom.n It takes purposeful planning in order to integrate 21st Century technology to create students ready for the 21st Century workforce.

Today's workforce is using technology to collaborate and create.  In order for students to gain these skills there needs to be a purpose for using the technology in the classroom which takes deliberate planning by the teacher.  When the use of technology has a purpose the students gain knowledge, deepen their understanding of content and create new work.  All real world skills.  For students to gain these skills there needs to be collaboration between peers an teachers.  When this process occurs students gain further knowledge and understanding.  When a teacher integrates technology into the daily routine, collaboration also becomes part of the daily routine.  With collaboration students gain different perspectives from a wider range of thinkers.  As Chantelle and I have stated, we would like to expand our the sharing and collaboration beyond our classes so that we can gain insight from other classes doing similar work.  Collaboration and the benefits of collaboration do not occur if technology is not used with purpose.  For example, students who are only allowed to use technology during centre time usually work independently to enhance a skill.  No creativity, sharing or collaboration occurs at this time.  There is some knowledge gained but it does not create critical thinkers who can create new work.

To create critical thinkers the way content is delivered must change in order to engage students.  Many students struggle to get true meaning from books.  Today with the internet, children are able to access the latest information, find photos and videos to help them gain new knowledge.  An example of this is changing way is the way we plan to explore the science strand of Forces Acting on Structures and Mechanisms.  Specific expectation 1.1 asks student to analyse the effects of forces from natural phenomena on the natural and built environments.  We plan to have students observe video that shows the effects and then let students make their observations based on the video.  When we consider the social studies curriculum, we found that it would be easy to use technology to gather and share information in expectations such as B2.2 gather and organize a variety of information an data that present various perspectives about Canadian social and/or environmental issues.  To see how technology fits in with Social Studies expectations follow the link to 3 Great Assistive Technology Tools.  Although, the example in 3 Great Assistive Technology Tools pertains to the grade 4 social studies curriculum, a similar task using Ideas Sketch app and Read and Write for Google could be designed for this grade 5 expectation about environmental issues.  Finally, when we consider the Language document, there are numerous ways to deliver, create and share content.  One way Chantelle and I plan to do this in the upcoming year is to use our recorders of learning.  In this example, students are creating the content that highlights key learning for their peers.  Their peers in turn will offer feedback, allowing for increased collaboration even when tasks were done independently.

By delivering content in ways like this, learning becomes authentic and engaging, it is real to the students and they gain more understanding by actually seeing and doing.  The internet has allowed teachers to take students out into the world whether it is through videos or virtual tours.  It has allowed for collaboration and the sharing of knowledge to occur.  With purposeful planning, access to the internet can be an engaging way to deliver content.

Follow the link to see examples we thought referenced technology in the Grade 5 Curriculum.

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