Friday, November 14, 2008

Well-Rounded 2.0

Kaleidoscopic Learning:
An Overview of Integrated Studies Interdisciplinary Learning Develops Real-World, Multifaceted Knowledge.
by Douglas Cruickshank

Most twenty-first-century public schools in the United States are structured pretty much as schools have been since the nineteenth century. And yet real life in America has changed dramatically since that time: We've gone from an agricultural and industrial economy, with the majority of the population living in rural areas, to a hyperfast, dynamic global society centered on the development and exchange of knowledge and information in a multiplicity of forms.

Once, a person might master a certain trade or skill and stick with it for most of his or her life. Today, in the ever-changing world of our information economy, individuals prosper who are fluent in several disciplines and comfortable moving among them, capable of distilling meaning from complexity, and adept at seeing connections where they may not be immediately apparent. Creativity, adaptability, critical reasoning, and collaboration are highly valued, marketable skills. Read the entire article...

Click on the link to read the rest of the article and also learn more about High Tech High and A Field Guide to Success.

This article and video raise some interesting questions that we need to consider as we design curriculum and as we address the assessment of students. Technology is changing the workplace and our students at a faster rate than ever. But the question is how quickly are we changing the educational system for those students to meet the needs of employers? I think the article does a fair job of summarizing a major issue involving the assessment of those students when it states: "The types of tests or findings people use to research student performance tend to primarily be comparative studies that deal with criterion-referenced examinations or standardized examinations based on reading. Most evaluation tools are discipline based. One of the overarching goals of integrated studies is to teach students to be better thinkers. And that's a tough one to measure."

I hope you take a few minutes to read the article, watch the video, and, if you like, tell us what you think. I know there are CareerTech programs that have already incorporated more of an integrated approach and it would be interesting to read your thoughts on the subject!. J.T.

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