Major world events frequently act as a trigger and catalyst to rapid innovation. As we experienced with Covid-19, schools and families have seen a surge in the adoption of different educational technologies. These include video conferencing tools, online learning platforms, and classroom management tools, etc. We’ve also increasingly seen innovative and effective teaching and learning activities created by educators for EdTech curriculum.
Here at BSD Education, when we design our curriculum for our learning platform, we consider Student Engagement, Flexibility, Student Agency, and Simplicity when we design the content and activities across our content library.
Let’s explore each of these areas:
One of the most significant concerns with online learning is the level of student engagement. We know that when students are engaged, they are more likely to take away something from that time you spent together in class that day. To overcome issues of student engagement, just like designing any other products or services, we have our end-users in mind, and that’s our teachers and students. We ask ourselves, “What do they want to know about?”, “What can we share with them?” I firmly believe that engagement and enthusiasm are infectious in the classroom. If the teacher is engaged with the content and can connect and see the topic’s relevance on a broader scale beyond the classroom, students will be more likely to participate, lean in, and see how it connects to and impacts their lives.
A flexible curriculum to allow for unexpected situations is another factor to be considered. Sometimes, classroom discussions may also lead to incredible learning opportunities. When we develop our curriculum at BSD, we allow room for teachers to design their lessons with our activities. We present bite-sized content to enable teachers to design their flow. The way they design their curriculum depends on the needs of their students. For example, in our TechFuture offering, resources for discussions, hands-on activities, and topical content are presented separately to allow our teachers to create a learning experience that suits them. In addition, education technologies and tools have allowed for more flexibility in course delivery.
Closely linked with student engagement and flexibility in the curriculum is student agency. Through education technologies, we as educators can set up classroom activities to encourage student agency by offering pathways of exploration and learning new skills and topics. When designing the EdTech curriculum, we leverage the ease of information sharing capabilities and access to knowledge through learning systems. Our task as teachers is to become a facilitator of learning and exploration to create room for student choice and ownership in their learning journeys.
Curriculum resources should never be overly complicated. We set straightforward learning goals to help our teachers achieve their objectives regardless of topic, project, and activity as they develop the curriculum. Simplicity brings ease of use (better user experience) for teachers to focus more on the students rather than figuring out the tech or the content.
We have discussed some technical factors to curriculum development, but there are many other factors in consideration. The diversity of your students’ needs should always come first when designing and implementing a curriculum. The best approach is to try it out! Utilize education technologies to support your curriculum little by little, and always know you can reach out to your community to discuss all the creative possibilities!