The Maker credo, from makezine.com, is: “If you can’t open it, you don’t own it.” Essentially, the more you can do with a device, a curriculum, or a classroom, the more ownership you feel.
This Maker movement is driving individualized learning that lets students take charge of their learning experiences while creating something they value.
Today’s students use technology to share their accomplishments and build community, and curriculum should support that by letting students create and build things that matter to them.
The internet makes learning so accessible and lets students learn the way they want to–and this will translate into future curriculum.
A good curriculum gives kids purpose and gives them something to do, all within a flexible framework and in a challenge-based format.
This flexibility is key when it comes to designing curriculum, which should be flexible, adaptive, and let students learn on their own time.
“We want to allow our kids to explore and to take risks, but you also want to give your kids a map–something that makes them want to do something, and not stand in one place,” Kiang said.
While students are learning together in classrooms, empowering individual student voices is critically important to the classroom environment, because students feel valued while also feeling part of something larger.
Community is another important part of classrooms, because community offers shared value, involves students in meaningful relationships, and creates safe places for failures.
“Community is really important–it’s the sum total of all of the interactions in the class between the students, and between you and the students,” Kiang said. “Depending on how substantive those interactions are, that’s how substantive the community is in your classroom.”
Classrooms tend to be isolated, but Kiang advised bringing the “outside” in. That “outside” might take the form of content-area experts who are working with students, or might involve a change in the physical classroom setting.
“Our role as teachers…is to facilitate student collaboration, to allow them to show us that they’re good at,” and encourage students to bring their skills together to create a community of learning and exploration, Kiang said.