Curriculum today does not reflect the world that we live in. Far too much of the curriculum we use today is printed. The second that curriculum is printed, it becomes outdated. Our curriculum needs to be digital.

In 2010, 1.2 trillion gigabytes of digital content was created, stored, and shared around the world.  This is the equivalent of building the wall of china out of 64 GB iPad's and completely filling them with data! These documents would stretch from the Earth to Pluto and back 16 times.

For those who know me, know that I have never had a curriculum purchased for me. I have never used a textbook to teach students, or handed out a worksheet that I did not find or create. I have always created or found what my students learn from and cater these items to their interests and learning needs. Having each teacher I work with create their own curriculum would be my utopia, but I know that this is very unrealistic. 

Districts continue to turn to publishers to create the magic curriculum that will solve all of the holes that are in their current mode. In my opinion, this is something that will never happen. Here is why I think that way:

The iPad is a tool that strictly denies the use of flash player. This was the design of the tool and will likely never change. The large publishers almost exclusively use flash player as the backbone of the digital content they create. That means that since 2010, the publishing companies have updated none of their practices. 


So, now that I have thoroughly spoken on my soapbox, lets get into the nitty gritty. Curriculum is a critical element in any classroom and it needs to be done right. There are many options to make it and we will walk through that in the next section. Here are the elements that curriculum needs to be, regardless of if you create it or not.

  • It needs to be flexible.

Curriculum needs to be able to be accessed from any device. Finding or creating things that are linear end up frustrating you when they don't work on a different tool or the tools you typically use are not available.

  • It needs to be improvable.

It needs to be easily improved. If you are creating your curriculum, you need to piece it out so that you can easily update it without taking up too much time. If you are finding your materials, you must use a format that is available for editing anywhere, anytime.

  • It needs to be assessed.

This goes without being said. If you are not using curriculum that can be assessed, you are risking more than just your students poor grades.

  • It needs to be digital.

Curriculum needs to be interactive on mobile devices. To be able to carry this content anywhere, anytime hold a large amount of power. Digital curriculum makes it flexible curriculum. 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzSSTwQ_jtV2UzdpQXhQRTIzT0U/view

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This section is a showcase. Below are some fantastic examples not only of teacher created curriculum, but also how it can  be formatted. Each of these examples are flexible, improvable, assessable, and digital. Look through them, if you like, make copies.


Collaborate

Collaboration is a key future ready skills for students. Teachers who embrace this with their planning and preparation are only setting themselves further ahead. 

The best type of collaboration happens in with your team. Working with those in your building to develop and design curriculum makes the work more personalized for your students. This will add to higher engagement, and a deeper level of understanding.

The next best level of collaboration happens within your school district. Work as a vertical team to align curriculum across grade levels, work as a grade level team to align learning with your specific standards, and work with specialists to boost the elements that they can contribute to. Doing one or two of these elements will not provide the best results as if you did all three.

The final level that I will cover is the global collaborative level. There are many collaborative curriculum spaces that are already in place today. They are as follows:

IBA Collaborative - G+

MN Partnership for Collaborative Curriculum

iEARN Collaboration Center

On top of this, you can use the social networks that you are currently established in. You can find resources on these networks by:

  • Participating in chats
  • Archiving links
  • Following hashtags that pertain to you (#collabed, #engchat)
  • Following curriculum leaders

Create

Creating curriculum today is easier than you think. You do not have to be an expert in a subject to be able to do this. Many teachers are afraid to create because they feel they do not know enough or are not qualified. All of need to know is what your students need to learn, and what they are interested in. Once you have those, you can go!

The format of the future is .epub. This format is easy to create, it allows live video embedding, and the editing and republishing is easy. For example, all of these iBooks you have been reading are .epub files! The second best option is Google. This format is instant, collaborative, and saves automatically. Many of the examples above are Google based and provide a fantastic starting spot but lack some interactivity that .epub files provide.

So how do you make .epub files?

  1. Pages (Apple) - The pages app is the format that I choose to use to create iBooks. I use it for when I coach football, when I create content for teachers, and even for professional development. Most users of pages think of this tool as only a word processor, and I tell you it is much more. On top of the versatility of this app on a computer, it is available on an iPad as well. The conversion to an iBook is even faster on these devices, but it is harder to create projects such as this on an iPad. I have found this tool to be the most universal, and the most clean of all the products that boast the ability to make .epub files. 
  1. iCloud (PC) - iCloud provides you a portal into the apple suite of apps. Yes, this does mean that you will be using pages again. The only difference from Pages on a Mac and Pages on a PC is that on a PC, you cannot embed videos. You still have the ability do to this on an iPad, but on a PC, it is not possible, yet. iCloud for the PC is still in BETA and they will continue to improve the features. 

 Google - (Apple or PC) This format is the favorite of many people and is a very close second for me. Google boasts many different apps in their educational suite that allow you to customize, and create content. All of the Google apps have great collaboration and sharing features. These elements make Google a highly used tool in future ready education.

  • Docs - Learning menu’s, word processing, lesson displays
  • Drawings - Posters, collaborative drawings
  • Slides - Presentations, demonstrations, step by steps
  • Forms - Testing
  • Sheets - Data collection and analysis