“You cannot see the forest for the trees” can be a metaphor for many school curriculums. The teachers are looking at the trees but often do not look at the forest, the big picture. They probably have not identified what the final outcomes or standards are for the course. What do they really want the students to be able to do or know at the end of the course? Doing well on the state benchmark is not the goal. How does this course fit into the students’ lifelong learning?
When I see a course with a long list of outcomes or standards, I wonder what the students really are to learn or do. One teacher summarized her course in a short sentence, “My students will write a ten page research paper using APA style.” She says that everything in the course leads up to the final paper. Everything else that is done in the course prior to the paper is building up the necessary prerequisite skills for the paper. She has a fixed goal and she has identified those skills necessary for her students to be successful.
Do you have a final outcome for your students? How do you scaffold their learning so that they can be successful learners? How do you use technology to assist in that scaffolding and keeping track of their successes?