I was originally thinking of calling this post ‘Dude, where’s my curriculum?’ in honour of that seminal stoner movie starring Ashton Kutcher and the guy from American Pie however I came up with two immediate problems. One I wouldn’t be able to find any CC images related to the movie and two it would imply that anyone coming to #digitalstudies and not finding a traditional curriculum is on the same intellectual level as the characters in that movie. Not true obviously!
But the movie does serve as a useful starting point for understanding why #digitalstudies does not contain a curriculum or programme of study like you might be expecting. Teachers may come to our subject expecting something normal to be there and it’s not so how does one find the ‘curriculum’ in #digitalstudies?
A key theme I have been repeating for a while for the subject is flexibility. It is being built in from the basics upwards to allow for teachers to customise what their pupils do in class. A programme of study or curriculum I feel is the opposite of flexibility. It proscribes all the learning paths which pupils must take and as a result I feel that the truly innovative ICT teachers I have come across in the last few years have been the ones who have ignored the programme of study and developed their own approach to the subject.
So how would #digitalstudies answer this situation? We have our four strands: digital literacy, technology, authoring and society. These may be taken as the basis for a curriculum certainly but I see them simply as a way to ‘anchor’ the entire subject. They encapsulate what we want to prepare, teach and assess at a basic level.
Projects are the next big thing to consider in #digitalstudies and it’s through these that we can start to find our curriculum. At the moment @infernaldepart is working on building our moodle where many of our projects will be based and our wiki does have some initial indications of projects. As these develop I would like to see each project come with their own mini-curriculum built into that project so if you do a term project, two term project or a year project you know what the ‘curriculum’ is for that project.
So a teacher planning out what their pupils are going to do for lets say the three years of key stage 3 would choose a selection of projects which can be done over that time. Each project coming with their own mini-curriculum would then allow the teacher to see what their pupils entire curriculum would be over three years.
The obvious advantage is flexibility. The teacher could then design a course which suits them and their pupils. All #digitalstudies projects should be challenging and in depth and therefore quality would be assured. Progression would be possible to show through effective choice of projects as well as the level of challenge applied in each project.
There may very well be some issues which need attending to when developing this approach. Certainly its quite a radical approach and getting teachers or more accurately SLT at schools on board is going to be tough.
But I like a challenge