Curriculum and Pedagogy


A Global Curriculum

As the United States seeks to “catch up” to the rest of the world, the Common Core curriculum standards have been adopted by 44 states in the US. Though these standards are still far from the common curriculum seen in Finland and Singapore, through our research we have come to see that the focus on deeper learning of core skills and knowledge will bring higher levels of achievement for ALL students. 21Logo.jpgWhile we believe in the idea of a common core of knowledge that citizens of the world will need in order to interrelate, we see that the curriculum of the future will adapt to fit different modes of delivery, focus on more personal endeavors, and will include more skills related to new ways of learning including digital literacy and ubiquitous tools. The core standards alone will not increase achievement, but in combination with a strong focus on pedagogy and assessment, they will help pave the way.

In this section on curriculum and pedagogy of the future, we will delve into the current understanding of traditional high-leverage pedagogy and investigate ways in which future technologies will complement or change the ways we teach and students learn - even as the very nature of schooling is revolutionized. As learning becomes ubiquitous and the traditional classroom more and more obsolete, education will become more targeted to individual needs - and learning will become more open, fluid and student-generated. Innovations in digital technologies will enable Universal Design for Learning (UDL)strategies to be implemented that will not only help students with disabilities, but will enable all learners to have access to the traditional curriculum in new and different ways.

Literacy will continue to be an important factor in ensuring that individuals have access to the learning they need to be successful in a global economy. The exponential changes caused by new technologies could also have the effect of exacerbating a digital literacy gap between those with access to digital tools in their every day lives and those without. We will also investigate ways in which knowledge and learning opportunities become fluid around the world with digital technologies, and ways in which these opportunities are accessed and by and with global citizens. Author and consultant Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach believes that teaching with and about digital tools has become a moral imperative. "The potential to have students work from their strengths really comes alive in the 21st century, because the new technologies and web tools allow us to manage and express knowledge and information in many different ways. We find ourselves being able to work through content, solve problems and apply what we know using tools and approaches that favor our strengths, even if our strengths aren't well-suited to the old paradigm of one size fits all." [1]

21st Century Skills

In addition to certain knowledge, students of the future will have to have an explicit set of skills that will help them navigate a digital world. While the term 21st Century skills has become a well-worn cliche, there doesn't seem to be agreement as to what 21st century skills are. Harvard Professor Tony Wagner, in his book The Global Achievement Gap, identifies the seven survival skills that he has determined are essential for people to have to be successful in the 21st century workplace.

  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
  • Collaboration across Networks and Leading by Influence
  • Agility and Adaptability
  • Initiative and Entrepreneurialism
  • Effective Oral and Written Communication
  • Accessing and Analyzing Information
  • Curiosity and Imagination
At right is a talk Wagner gave on the subject to the Asia Society. [1]

Technology to facilitate learning

At Global Connections 2025 we understand the importance of curriculum, assessment and pedagogy in the traditional sense - we have decades of research to back us up on the value of a strong system of understanding of student success. However, we also look to the future and understand that the rapid developments coming from digital technologies will change not only how we learn, but also what is important to learn. Technology also allows for learning to happen anytime, anywhere in a way not previously possible, and thus will change the way in which the teacher interacts with the learner, and thus will change the relationship. Integral to this change is the idea of connectivism, whereby knowledge is based on connections and the ability to adapt to find sources of knowledge when necessary. This section will examine both how technology will enhance current, traditional understandings of schooling, and will also shape the future of the foundations of curriculum and pedagogy in an ever-flattening world.

NEXT: Curriculum of the Future

[1] Sections taken from this author's previous contribution to the wiki Techstanding, Chapter 1. Found at