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Three Trends That Will Shape the Future of Curriculum


What we as adults experienced in school, as educators and students, will bear little resemblance to what lies ahead. Here's a look at current trends, their implications, and changes to watch for.


The Three Key Trends


1. Digital delivery

No longer shackled to books as their only source of content, educators and students are going online to find reliable, valuable, and up-to-the-minute information. Sites like Shmoop’s fun-focused content on everything from SAT prep to the Civil War; Google’s Education apps and sources that teachers can use as teaching tools, such as the SketchUp design software and Google Earth are just a few of the free, easily accessible sources available online.



Add to that sites like the Khan Academy, a collection of thousands of YouTube videos that teach everything from calculus to the French Revolution, TeacherTube's collection of content, books that have been turned into YouTube videos, as well as sites from museums and art institutions, sites like NASA and the Smithsonian, TED Talks and the thousands of other educational resources available, and you can start to see how online content will be used as a primary resource.


The open-source movement has further pushed online content to include learners and educators in the actual content-creating process. Wikipedia was one of the first open-source sites, and though many still question the accuracy of Wikipedia entries (note the 2005 study showed that the popular website is as reliable as Encyclopedia Britannica), there's a movement afoot to make it a more trusted source. Revered institutions like Harvard and Georgetown are creating coursework for students out of editing Wikipedia entries.



Following in the steps of Wikipedia – and the collaborative world of Web 2.0 -- a growing proliferation of open-source sites aimed at education have sprouted up over the past few years. For both K-12 schools and higher education, sites like MIT Open SourceWare that publishes almost all the university’s content for students, Open Educational Resources, Curriki, Merlot, Connexions, CK12, Scitable, and Hippocampus offer their own expert-written, vetted content. But more importantly, they allow educators and students to add, edit, and change the order of all the information on those sites according to their own needs.


Entire school districts are starting to go open-source, too, such as the Bering Strait School District in Alaska, which is using a Wiki-style format for its curriculum. CK12 is part of California's Free Digital Textbook Initiative, and school districts in Pennsylvania are also considering using its materials once the curricula has met state standards.


Watch for: 1) Google's role in providing content, and how states and districts work with the institution. 2) Open-source sites and content publishers working collaboratively in the same content space.


2. Interest-driven

Though students typically have to wait until their third year of college to choose what they learn, the idea of K-12 education being tailored to students' own interests is becoming more commonplace. Whether it's through Japanese manga art, Lady Gaga, or the sport of curling, the idea is to grab students where their interests lie and build the curriculum around it.


Every learner counts.

The idea of learner-centered education might not be new -- research from the 1990s shows that students' interests is directly correlated to their achievement. But a growing movement is being propelled by the explosive growth in individualized learning technology that could feed it and we're starting to see the outlines of how it could seep into the world of formal education.


Take, for example, Forest Lake Elementary School in South Carolina, where the entire school is built around personalized learning. Or schools in Portland, Maine, that are entirely project based. Beyond even bribing them with shiny gadgets, educators are sparking their students' love of learning by figuring out what they're interested in.


"The better way is to motivate each student to learn through his or her passion. Passion drives people to learn (and perform) far beyond their, and our expectations. And whatever is learned through the motivation of passion is rarely if ever forgotten," writes Marc Prensky in his book Teaching Digital Natives.


Watch for: The growing importance of the student's role as content-creator and decision-maker in devising his own curriculum.


3. Skills 2.0

Eleven years into the 21st century, the buzz words "21st century skills" are being thrown around in describing what needs to be taught in schools: real-world readiness. Things like collaboration, innovation, critical thinking, and communication are thought to be just as important as U.S. history and calculus because they're practical skills that can be used in the world outside the confines of school.


"One thing is certain," writes Will Richardson in the comprehensive tome 21st Century Skills: Rethinking How Students Learn: although schools may continue to fundamentally look and act as they have for more than one hundred years, the way individuals learn has already been forever changed. Instead of learning from others who have the credentials to 'teach' in this new networked world, we learn with others whom we seek (and who seek us) on our own and with whom we often share nothing more than a passion for knowing."



Learning to be responsible digital citizens.

The ability to leverage the collective wisdom that thrives online is an important part of building those muscles. But more than just practical skills, it's crucial for students to be able to navigate the digital world around them without fear. To make sense of the deluge of information online, to learn what to trust, what to dismiss, to be able to find the gold that exists in the infinite number of Google searches. To know how and what to contribute to the online global community, and how to be responsible digital citizens.


These intangibles have found their way into the fiber of the curriculum in schools like Napa New Tech and its network of schools growing schools. And tech companies are looking for ways to provide value to the movement.


Entire schools are dedicated to teaching skills like learning how to create video games, whether it's to boost brain power and multitasking skills, or to learn applied physics as they do at the New York school Quest to Learn. The idea is that the process of learning that skill can be put to use in the real world.


In this post

The 3 trends:

Digital delivery


Skills 2.0


What this means

Watch for: State and nationwide assessments taking into account skills like critical thinking, communication and collaboration.


What these trends mean

Read the rest of this series:


Teaching and Learning

Learning Environments

Given the growing momentum of these trends, what does it mean for students, teachers, schools, and the education community at large?


Collaborating and customizing. Educators are learning to work together, with their students, and with other experts in creating content, and are able to tailor it to exactly what they need.

Critical thinking. Students are learning how to effectively find content and to discern reliable sources.


Democratizing education. With Internet access becoming more ubiquitous, the children of the poorest people are able to get access to the same quality education as the wealthiest.


Changing the textbook industry. Textbook publishers are finding ways to make themselves relevant to their digital audience.

Emphasizing skills over facts. Curriculum incorporates skill-building.










The future of curricula design: knowledge vs. intelligence


Is it possible we’re about to see a big change in the way we approach curricula design? In a world where Artificial Intelligence (AI) machines can access, deliver and learn an almost infinite amount of information in a matter of milliseconds, does it really make sense to be teaching students facts and figures?


The ascent of AI in education is signaling a shift from knowledge-based curricula towards intelligence-based curricula. This post explores the differences between both perspectives and what this will mean for how we approach curriculum design in the future.



Knowledge vs intelligence


Knowledge (noun)


facts, information, and skills acquired through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.

Intelligence (noun)


the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills.


In traditional knowledge-based curricula, students are taught and tested on facts, figures, content and ideas. In an intelligence-based curriculum, however, the onus is on preparing students to think critically, creatively and inquisitively about the information they acquire.


A movement towards intelligence-based curricula makes sense in a world where AI is able to carry out an increasing number of repetitive and menial tasks, as well as process and provide us with an overwhelming amount of data. The ability to retain and access information becomes increasingly redundant as technology leaves us in its dust.


As a result, we should be looking at how we educate ourselves and our learners to contribute in an AI-rich economy. This means shifting the focus to intelligence – including emotional intelligence, creativity, and critical thinking skills.


But is a purely intelligence-based curriculum really a good idea? And how might it affect fundamentally knowledge-based subjects like ELT and other modern languages?



The big curricula debate


Dr. Rose Luckin, a professor of learner-centred design at UCL, argues that knowledge-based curricula taught in schools today are shallow and outdated.


Effectively, they teach students finite modules of information, leaving them to compete with machines that can find, learn and recall facts much faster than they can. This means that, if we value simple knowledge over the treatment of that knowledge and our abilities to analyse it, workplace AI machines will outrank us, outmanoeuvre us and eventually make us all but redundant.


The alternative, she says, is to teach how to be reflective about knowledge through a process she dubs “meta-knowing”.  Instead of, for example, asking how plants convert light into food through photosynthesis, students should be taught to ask how we know it, and why it is important – something machines are less likely to be able to do.


On the other side of the debate, there are those that argue that AI will not make knowledge-based curricula obsolete. Carl Hendrick, Head of Research at Wellington College, argues that, while it is indeed important to teach students how to think about and question information, knowledge itself is a fundamental part of the learning process.


He cites a recent issue with a GCSE English exam where some students misunderstood the word “vocation”, thinking it meant “vacation”, rendering their answers to a particular question irrelevant and incorrect. A lack of concrete knowledge contributed directly to their failure.


Hendrick’s argument is that – for the most part – schools already successfully combine teaching knowledge alongside intelligence-based skills. He suggests that schools do not simply pump out facts for students to memorise, without giving them the critical thinking tools to use what they are learning.


Both Luckin and Henrick make important points. If people are to succeed in the workplace, they will almost certainly need to develop critical thinking skills based around AI-facilitated insights.


However, as Henrick shows, these skills are useless in isolation. In essence, he argues we need to be able to connect what we are experiencing to established knowledge in order to be able to ask the right questions, produce an effective analysis, or to understand and use it.




How Artificial Intelligence is helping universities design a curriculum for future jobs that don't exist now


Artificial Intelligence is changing the dynamics of the education industry. We are studying for future jobs that don't exist now. So, how can we design a curriculum to prepare students for those?

Post the year 2000, the world is evolving faster than ever thanks to the explosion of exponential technologies. Since the changes in the education system were slow a few decades ago, the course curriculum was not updated frequently.


However, with today's fast-paced changes in the market, new programmes and a new approach in curriculum design is needed.


Current curriculum and whether it suits the future job scenario


By 2022, 37% of the Indian workforce would be employed in new job roles that have radically changed skill sets, says a FICCI-NASSCOM & EY- Future of Jobs report.


According to the report, 9% of India's 600 million estimated workforces would be deployed in jobs that do not exist today. Today there are many jobs which did not exist five years ago.

Under these scenarios, students need to make sure that they choose universities and academic institutes that respond to the urgent need to improve the quality of existing programmes.


Read: Skill development in school education: Importance of evolving skill training from a young age


Redesigning curriculum and offering new courses which will be relevantfor future jobs is the need of the hour.


Skill development of Indian students


The ever expanding gap between academia and the real world has resulted in a whole generation of students who while undoubtedly talented, intelligent, and hardworking, simply do not have the skillsets required for employment.


This is especially true in the tech world, and when we look at the statistics, we discover a very chilling reality.


Read: Skill vs Degree: How to bridge the gap between skill supply and skill demand


Up to 60% of the 800,000 engineering students who graduate from Indian universities each year are unemployed according to a report by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).

Read: Only 7 per cent engineering graduates employable: What's wrong with India's engineers?


In cities like Delhi, the mean salary for an engineering diploma holder is lower than that of the average cook or driver. With appalling numbers like these, it's no wonder that in the academic year 2017-2018 the AICTE shut down 800 technical colleges.



3 steps to design a curriculum to prepare for future jobs using AI and big data


To make designs for new educational programmes, we need market analysis that shows the need for these changed designs, shows the gap between demand and supply, and designs a curriculum that bridges the gap between demand and supply and identifies the right faculties.


1. At the very initial stage, in considering a new programme, we should ask: Is there a need for this new programme (or a significant change to an existing one)? But how do you do it? Ask industry experts?


Currently, most of the universities rely on curriculum advisory board which is not sufficient. AI and Big Data Analytics is helping to analyse the need of programme; competitor analysis; industry trends etc


2. Once we decide that a new programme in needed, the second step is to design the course curriculum. '


Perhaps the second most important factor to consider when designing a new programme and its course curriculum is linking to the learning outcome which traditionally centred on knowledge, skills and attitudes students possess when they graduate from a programme.


3. We need to make sure that the subject matter it entails is relevant to not just the current job market, but also to the future. It can be done by analysing market trends and skills requirement through the proper implementation of big data analytics and AI.


This is in sharp contrast to the traditional method of course formulation which involves using focus groups of industry professionals, subject matter experts and academicians.


Read: Managing big data in schools: 5 ways it can benefit school education


2 ways AI and big data can help design university curriculum


1. Artificial intelligence and big data can analyse the thousands of jobs available in different functional areas and technologies in various geographies and also the skills needed to meet these jobs requirements. Based on relevant data acquired through big data and AI, the new curriculum can be designed.


2. Job trends change with changing market requirements and technologies. Artificial intelligence can help in identifying various jobs in demand and the skills needed to meet these job requirements. Based on the relevant data acquired through AI and analysis, the new curriculum can be designed.


- Article by Bhupesh Daheria, Founder of mUniCampus.com, AI & Digital Stack for Higher Ed


Read: Artificial Intelligence can empower our education system: Here's how


Read: IIT Kharagpur launches artificial intelligence drive for future Indian engineers


Read: 5 reasons why B-schools are teaching Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)















How Artificial Intelligence is Shaping the Future of Education



Artificial Intelligence (AI), a field in computer science that involves the creation of intelligent systems that behave like human beings, has seen major development in the recent past. There has been massive AI investment in the education field globally with the AI education market being currently valued at half a billion. That figure is set to rise to six billion by 2024. With the introduction of the new 2–6–3–3–3 curriculum, it would be interesting to take a step back and look at how artificial intelligence will affect its future.


Tailored Learning Experience for Students


For a very long time, the education system has treated all students as the same. However, the truth is that every student is unique. The future will see AI systems customize the learning experience for students based on their strengths and weaknesses. This will enable all students to enjoy the learning process.

Smart Algorithms to Determine Best Teaching Methods

Smart algorithms are able to determine the best teaching method for each student. Not all students learn well with a teacher speaking to them all the time. This will help in detecting students with learning disabilities and addressing them early in their education. This will, therefore, lead to better grades and students garnering skills that are applicable in the real world.


Career Path Prediction


After university selection, there are usually many complaints of students being called for courses they didn’t want. This is partly because most students will choose similar courses and our institutions do not enough capacity to admit each one for what they choose. AI systems, with the assistance of teachers, will be able to gather student data and predict the best career path for each student. This will make the university course selection process simple and seamless.


Reduce Bias in Grading


AI systems will read students handwriting and grade their exams. This is achieved using a concept known as computer vision where computers are trained to read images. Some Chinese schools have already implemented such systems. These systems are able to read students handwritten papers and grade them. Apart from reducing bias, such systems will also fight cheating and plagiarism.


Predicting Students Future Performance


AI systems will predict the future performance of a student by looking at their performance over time. This kind of intelligence will help the Ministry of Education know how many students are expected to join secondary school and university at a certain year. The ministry will, therefore, be in a position to make future budgetary plans for the construction of institutions and teacher training.


Uncovering Learning Gaps


Natural language processing, the ability of a computer to understand human language, can be used to analyze course content and uncover learning gaps in the curriculum. AI systems can also uncover a student’s areas of weakness and suggest content to help them improve. Another interesting thing these systems can do is discover the best delivery models for students.


Generating Customized Education Content


AI systems can now analyze the syllabus and course material and come up with new and customized content. These systems are also able to generate exams after analyzing this content. This would eventually free teachers to focus on more pressing issues such as student performance.


Collaborative Learning


By analyzing student data, AI systems can pair up students based on their personality, strengths and complementary skills. Grouping students who can work together will reduce conflict and make the learning process smooth and efficient.


Artificial Intelligence Tutors


With the increasing number of students in our learning institutions, AI tutors will come in handy in easing the burden on teachers. These tutors will provide additional support to students as well as give them feedback in their studies. They will also make on-demand learning for students possible, in that students don’t have to be confined in a class setting to conduct their studies.


Smart Schools


Schools will be built based on the internet of things, a technology that involves connecting various devices to the internet. These devices will communicate with each other and monitor things such as alarms, lighting and even maintenance needs before they happen. Smart classrooms will invigilate exams and therefore curb cheating. These classrooms will be configured with facial recognition technology that will monitor student attendance and even tell how long a student spent in a particular class session.


With artificial intelligence set to disrupt the education sector globally, the biggest worry for most people has been whether it will replace teachers. Artificial intelligence systems are not as empathetic as human beings. These systems will work best with the help of human teachers. It is therefore highly unlikely that these systems will completely replace teachers in our classrooms. These systems are already operational in many parts of the world. It would be interesting to see how long Kenya takes to catch up with the rest of the world. However, for this to happen there has to be intentional strategies by stakeholders in the education sector. Some of these strategies include collecting the necessary data points that will power these intelligent systems, including data science and artificial intelligence courses in our curriculum and preparing the technology infrastructure that will enable the adoption of this technology. Until then, we can only sit on the side and watch as other countries reap the benefits of this technology.









What Are 21st Century Skills?


21st Century skills are 12 abilities that today’s students need to succeed in their careers during the Information Age.


21st Century skills are:


Critical thinking




Information literacy

Media literacy

Technology literacy





Social skills



Each 21st Century skill is broken into one of three categories:


Learning skills

Literacy skills

Life skills


Each of these categories pertains to a specific part of the digital curriculum experience.


Learning skills (the four C’s) teaches students about the mental processes required to adapt and improve upon a modern work environment.


Literacy skills (IMT) focuses on how students can discern facts, publishing outlets, and the technology behind them. There’s a strong focus on determining trustworthy sources and factual information to separate it from the misinformation that floods the Internet.


Life skills (FLIPS) take a look at intangible elements of a student’s everyday life. These intangibles focus on both personal and professional qualities.


Altogether, these categories cover all 12 21st Century skills that contribute to a student’s future career.


These skills are intended to help students keep up with the lightning-pace of today’s modern markets. Each skill is unique in how it helps students, but they all have one quality in common.


They’re essential in the age of the Internet.


On this page, we’ll take a look at what’s included in 21st Century skills, how they help students, and why they’re so important.







How Is AI Used In Education -- Real World Examples Of Today And A Peek Into The Future


While the debate regarding how much screen time is appropriate for children rages on among educators, psychologists, and parents, it’s another emerging technology in the form of artificial intelligence and machine learning that is beginning to alter education tools and institutions and changing what the future might look like in education. It is expected that artificial intelligence in U.S. education will grow by 47.5% from 2017-2021 according to the Artificial Intelligence Market in the US Education Sector report. Even though most experts believe the critical presence of teachers is irreplaceable, there will be many changes to a teacher’s job and to educational best practices.


Teacher and AI collaboration


AI has already been applied to education primarily in some tools that help develop skills and testing systems. As AI educational solutions continue to mature, the hope is that AI can help fill needs gaps in learning and teaching and allow schools and teachers to do more than ever before. AI can drive efficiency, personalization and streamline admin tasks to allow teachers the time and freedom to provide understanding and adaptability—uniquely human capabilities where machines would struggle. By leveraging the best attributes of machines and teachers, the vision for AI in education is one where they work together for the best outcome for students. Since the students of today will need to work in a future where AI is the reality, it’s important that our educational institutions expose students to and use the technology.


Differentiated and individualized learning


Adjusting learning based on an individual student’s particular needs has been a priority for educators for years, but AI will allow a level of differentiation that’s impossible for teachers who have to manage 30 students in each class. There are several companies such as Content Technologies and Carnegie Learning currently developing intelligent instruction design and digital platforms that use AI to provide learning, testing and feedback to students from pre-K to college level that gives them the challenges they are ready for, identifies gaps in knowledge and redirects to new topics when appropriate. As AI gets more sophisticated, it might be possible for a machine to read the expression that passes on a student's face that indicates they are struggling to grasp a subject and will modify a lesson to respond to that. The idea of customizing curriculum for every student's needs is not viable today, but it will be for AI-powered machines.



Universal access for all students


Artificial intelligence tools can help make global classrooms available to all including those who speak different languages or who might have visual or hearing impairments. Presentation Translator is a free plug-in for PowerPoint that creates subtitles in real time for what the teacher is saying. This also opens up possibilities for students who might not be able to attend school due to illness or who require learning at a different level or on a particular subject that isn’t available in their own school. AI can help break down silos between schools and between traditional grade levels.



Automate admin tasks


An educator spends a tremendous amount of time grading homework and tests. AI can step in and make quick work out of these tasks while at the same time offering recommendations for how to close the gaps in learning. Although machines can already grade multiple-choice tests, they are very close to being able to assess written responses as well. As AI steps in to automate admin tasks, it opens up more time for teachers to spend with each student. There is much potential for AI to create more efficient enrollment and admissions processes.


Tutoring and support outside the classroom


Ask any parent who has struggled to help their teenager with algebra, and they will be very excited about the potential of AI to support their children when they are struggling at home with homework or test preparations. Tutoring and studying programs are becoming more advanced thanks to artificial intelligence, and soon they will be more available and able to respond to a range of learning styles.


There are many more AI applications for education that are being developed including AI mentors for learners, further development of smart content and a new method of personal development for educators through virtual global conferences. Education might be a bit slower to the adoption of artificial intelligence and machine learning, but the changes are beginning and will continue.

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