3 Tips to Modernize Your School

April 2015, Volume 38, Issue 8

Schools must design more contemporary approaches to teaching and learning, according to Heidi Hayes Jacobs, author and founder of Curriculum 21. At the 2015 NAESP Annual Conference in July, Jacobs will present The Future of Education: Mapping the Big Picture, examining how schools can transition to create timely, relevant, innovative learning experiences for students. Here’s a preview of her recommendations:

1. Plan for What’s Next.

First, modern classrooms. Around the world, strikingly new physical settings and architectural plans are emerging. These have a direct impact on teaching and learning.

Second, responsive and engaging management systems. These are key for organizing non-graded learning patterns in real time. Asynchronous virtual environments are critical to personalized learning opportunities.

Third, multiple literacies. Being able to access the Internet and apps does not make a person literate. Cultivating the three literacies (digital, media, global) and distinguishing them from one another is now a necessity.


2. Modernize dated practices.

What I am working on now is a new model to assist learners in plotting out what I call Contemporary Curriculum Quests. I believe the real upgrade is to modernize content so that students are diving into timely issues, problems, themes, topics, and case studies. I hope to share this model at the NAESP Conference.

3. Get globally focused.

Start with the four global competencies developed by the Council of Chief State School Officers and the Asia Society: investigate the world; recognize perspectives; communicate ideas; and take action. Then, consider these five basic instructional approaches to reinforce them: use digital apps (like Gapminder or Newspaperman); make point-to-point connections via Skype or Google Hangouts; use social media to connect with global hashtags and networks; and refer to global projects such as those of the Pulitzer Center, Out of Eden, 100 People Portrait, and Flat Classroom.

Discover more ideas at NAESP’s 2015 Annual Conference in Long Beach, California. Heidi Hayes Jacobs will present the closing general session on July 2. Register at www.naespconference.org.

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