Curriculum today should look different that it did in the past. The second that textbooks are printed, they are out of date! Images are static, and text is bland content driven material. In order to interact with a paper textbook you have to first, find the index with a URL, then find a device, then accurately type in the URL and hope that this link is still functional. That is what we consider curriculum today, I am here to tell you that it must improve.

Curriculum in the 21st century needs to look different. It needs to teach the hidden skills, skills that students will need when they leave school. It needs to be engaging but not overstimulating. It needs to infuse technology and not just use it! These are the demands of the curriculum needed today and few know how to get it.

Here are the elements that will get your team/building/district get on the path to creating quality 21st century curriculum:

Be Digital
Be Collaborative
  • Curriculum today is done in teams. Teachers who are tasked to create curriculum should be pulling the reading specialist, the technology specialists, and the curriculum director in to help. Subject area teachers should look to infuse standards of other subjects to create thematic units. This is not a one man show, use the community around you and highlight the innovators on your team!
Be Continuous
  • Curriculum should no longer be on a 5 or 7 or even 9 year cycle, are you crazy! You think that it is still OK to have students born in 2001 have the same curriculum from the day they entered school? Curriculum should be looked at and upgraded on a constant basis. After each unit, your team should communicate the successes and failures and tweak the product. This is why having it in a customizable, teacher friendly format is KEY!
Be Engaging
  • The curriculum you create should not be a textbook! Your goal should be to create interactive learning modules! These modules should be small and easily maintainable. Information should be pulled in and creation should be the students way of showing understanding.
Be Creators
  • Ask yourself just 3 questions:
    1. Who knows your students best (besides their parents and friends)?
    2. Who knows how your students learn best as individuals?
    3. So, who is most qualified and/or fitting to create curriculum used in your classroom?
  • If you answered truthfully to these questions, you already know what you should be doing. 
Be Generous
  • Share what you make! Be proud of what you have created. Don't be afraid of judgment from your peers as they know that this curriculum will be a far upgrade from their current textbook. Live in BETA (@followmolly). Push out your newest and greatest thing even if it is not done. If you wait until it is perfect, you will miss your opportunity for true innovation!

I will leave you with one final request. Please do not use time as an excuse! It truly breaks my heart when a teacher says they do not have time to create curriculum. This is how I translate that statement: You don't have time to create authentic tasks that your students will engage in, enjoy learning from, and  most likely remember for the rest of their lives. 

-What teacher does not have time for that.