Twenty First Century Cirriculum

Continuing to journey through the vast and cavernous world of technology and education, this week, we examined a section from the “Second Handbook of Information Technology in Primary and Secondary Education“. Below is a summary of one of the articles from the second chapter.

“Twenty First Century Curriculum: Issues and Challenges”

The article, “Twenty First Century Curriculum: Issues and Challenges” by Joke Voogt and Ola Erstad (2018), addresses some important topics connected to current curriculum and future curriculums. They explore the findings of meta reviews in order to answer their key question:

1.      What should be taught and learned in school curricula in the 21st Century?

Within this question Voogt and Erstad (2018) explore what “the key competencies important for the 21st Century” are, “ roles for new technologies in the curriculum”, connected issues and challenges and “new perspectives on curriculum and curriculum development”.

Voogt and Erstad (2018) discuss rationales for curriculum change and identify a variety of key competencies, skills that should be taught and learnt in the 21st Century; these are some of the main ones they identify:

1.      Ways of thinking (Creativity and innovation, critical thinking, problem solving, decision making, leaning to learn, metacognition)

2.      Ways of working (communication, collaboration)

3.      Tools for working (Information Literacy, ICT literacy)

4.      Living in the world (citizenship, life and career, personal and social responsibility- including cultural awareness).                                                                                                  (p. 24)

They note that, “Assessment is key and important for creating these transformations” (24); that, “the core idea of what we do as educators has not changed”; and, they present an interesting point when including a study that argued that students still need to know content in order to be able to obtain deep understanding. 

In order to successfully implement these, Voogt and Erstad (2018) note that, “technology as a tool [can] support the acquisition and assessment of 21 century skills” ( 27) and can create learning that is both personalized and differentiated.

After defining what should be taught and why, Voogt and Erstad (2018), discuss the roadblocks connected to changing and implementing these ideas. They discuss the mismatch between research on how people learn and how schools are organized, the lack of professional development, the overcrowding of the curriculum, access to and availability of technologies, the differing agendas of  stake holders (public, educational and private), lack of teacher skill, issues connected to assessment and, they present the point that many barriers are “psychological, political and cultural”(23).

Voogt and Erstad, note that many countries have or are in the process of changing curriculum to meet the needs of 21st century learning, but they note progress is slow and that most uses of technology are still just a means of “increasing the effectiveness of traditional approaches”.

Some recommendations they make, based on the research, is the inclusion of interdisciplinary learning, further research and discussion around “ what can and should be attained by students of different ages and across educational levels”, the imbedding of digital literacies within all subjects, pervasive learning and the building of “strategies for implementation and assessment”

They conclude with final thoughts on the “future of the curriculum in the digital age” and discuss some important questions: “What does the implementation demand from teachers, administrators and others? What supports do teachers need? How prepared are they? How [can] Information and Communications Technology (ICT) can contribute to bridging the formal and informal? And finally, how [does] the integration changes the what and how of what is being taught?”

My Thoughts and Questions

  1. How do we bridge the gap between what teachers believe they should be teaching and what they are teaching?
  2. Would the introduction of specific technology during staff meetings by administration help to foster further use of technology in the classroom?
  3. How can professional development  PD) change so that it is better at addressing the current needs of teachers? Or is this moving to (PL)?
  4. How do we change assessment?
  5. How can teachers best determine what technology to use in the classroom?
  6. How do models like TPACK and SAMR connect to these readings? Can the use of such models help to bridge the gap?
  7. The curriculum here has changed in the last few years. Other countries, for example Norway, made the changes a decade or more earlier than here in Canada. Can lesson learnt by this country be applicable here?

This reading also left me particularly interested in assessment strategies. This may direct my further research as I would like to explore this topic further. I wonder also about the concept of “ungrading” and how this fits with 21st century curriculum and how this might connect to technology…….

Infographic below is a summary of the articles looked at within my group this week.
Summary created and complied by myself, Faune Nicolas and Rochelle Smith.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *