What’s for dinner tonight?

placesetting

Have you ever gone to an elegant restaurant where they have fancy place settings and wondered how people eat off of them?   What is this fork for? Why do I have multiple knives? Are these for decoration or eating? And so forth … Well educational curriculum can be thought of in the same way. Most people, especially here in Texas, think of curriculum as one thing, the standards. As a matter of fact, here in Texas that is it’s legal definition according to the Texas Educational Agency (TEA).

However, the standards are really nothing more than the content. It is the food we want to eat. Just like looking at a menu, sometimes it is elaborate sometimes it is simple. Many people argue over what is on the menu, what to order, or how it should be prepared. The technology we use in education is the place setting, sometimes it is fancy sometimes it is simple.   Regardless though, a place setting without food is useless. Similarly, educational technology without content is pointless as well. The wait staff are the teachers. If the waiter hadn’t prepared the setting, provided a menu or shown a high level of professionalism, no one would visit the restaurant again. Similarly, if a teacher doesn’t prepare the classroom, provide an agenda, or use their professionalism, students would never learn.

So one of the truest questions about educational reform is how do we reform the curriculum. The problem is that if curriculum is the equivalent of eating at an elegant restaurant, how can we forget the technology or the wait staff? There is a symbiotic relationship between the content, the technology, and the pedagogy that realistically defines the curriculum as a whole. So when we begin the talks of educational reform, shouldn’t we start with agreeing what it is we are trying to reform?

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