As social learning grows, the requirement for traditional training departments evolves in tandem. One of these evolving areas is the curriculum.
The need for a change in curriculum stems from two reasons.
Firstly, it is the acknowledgement that knowledge is ever evolving and changing, especially in this digital age. It is not static. Gone are the days when an individual or expert knows all. Knowledge is instead created collaboratively as evident from Wikipedia where knowledge is shared and updated cooperatively. This means that the structure of knowledge creation, archivization and dissemination is changing as compared to the past where knowledge is found and disseminated solely via thick encyclopedias and textbooks. David Parry said that ‘[s]tudents and teachers alike must understand how systems of knowledge creation and archivization are changing. Encyclopedias are no longer static collections of facts and figures; they are living entities’. Indeed, teachers and students alike must understand and embrace this belief to become lifelong learners in this world, where the only thing that is constant is change. In addition, Wikipedia has preserved the debate and discourse around a particular subjects. Students can now understand how an article was produced from the discussion and history pages, thus facilitating them to appreciate how knowledge is created. Teachers need to teach students ‘how this technology changes the social sphere so that students too can be empowered to engage the polis rather than being passive users of Word Processing programs’. Our pupils need to engage positively and constructively in the digital world, not just become passive users. Teachers will do a big disservice to our charges if we continue to propagate the old method of knowledge creation, archivization and dissemination. This therefore, may mean that teachers will no longer teach solely from recommended textbooks, but exercise our professional judgment to use online, open source textbooks to create our own curriculum to cater to our teaching styles and students’ learning requirement (Martins, 2011). Vander Ark said that ‘[Soon] a state and a handful of urban districts will stop buying print textbooks in 2011 and will shift to customizable digital texts and open education resources’ (as quoted by Martins, 2011). We see then that a fundamental change in the structure of knowledge in the digital world point to a need in curriculum change.
Secondly, as pupils traverse the digital world, there is a need for them to discern the avalanche of information available on the Internet, to mine those that are useful and discard those that are irrelevant. Pupils also need to know when their search is extensive and sufficient and when it is insufficient and leading to inaccurate result (Weinberg, 2012). Moreover, pupils need to ‘be aware of how to create a positive digital footprint for themselves that will be seen by colleges, universities and employers in the future’ (Weinberg, 2012). Teachers thus need to teach students this life-skill, which unfortunately has not been formally incorporated into most traditional curriculum currently.
‘[T]he networked digital archive changes our basis of knowledge and training people for the future is about training them for this shift. What is no longer archived in the same way is no longer lived in the same way.’ (Parry, 2008) As educator, we need to response to this new structure of knowledge with a change in curriculum.
Martin, J. (January 26, 2011). 11 Ways Schools Can Be Relevant, Compelling and Effective in the Coming Transformational Years. Retrieved from http://connectedprincipals.com/archives/2511 on 13th September 2012
Weinberg, J. (September 5, 2012). How technology is revolutionising schools in the UK. Retrieved from http://uk.news.yahoo.com/how-technology-is-revolutionising-schools-in-the-uk.html on 10th September 2012
Parry, D. (2008). Wikipedia and the new curriculum: digital literacy Is knowing how we store what we know: Science Progress.