When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. This popular saying summarizes “Maslow’s Hammer,” a psychology concept coined by Abraham Maslow. It’s used to demonstrate the importance of the tool you are using to complete a task. The tool that you have available shapes the way that you approach the work you need to do, and the right tool can limit your perspective or open up new possibilities.
If you are overseeing any kind of curriculum development—from routine updating to complete curriculum realignment—there are some key questions you should ask yourself to ensure that the tools you’re using are appropriate for the complex and important task at hand.
How will the ultimate objective be communicated clearly?
Everyone involved in curriculum development wants to do a good job. These are educators, and they care about students’ achievement and the quality of their own course content. What can be difficult, though, is clearly communicating the goals of a particular curriculum update or realignment in order to channel the passion and expertise in the right direction. A good curriculum development tool should help to segment the objectives and standards so that they are easy to understand and clearly communicated.
How will everyone get to contribute their ideas?
Successful curriculum projects require the buy-in of the people who will be implementing the new plans, and that means that their ideas and perspectives need to be meaningfully incorporated into the actual planning. People are much more likely to see the value and logic behind a plan when they have a hand in building it. A good tool will provide a mechanism for people to not only give feedback, but for that feedback to be meaningfully and visibly incorporated into the plan.
How will flexibility and innovation be incorporated?
Rigidity is the bane of a curriculum project, and any good teacher needs space for flexibility and innovation. It is through these qualities that students’ individual needs get met and new ideas get sparked and developed. As teachers put together their curriculum plan, how will it allow for flexibility and innovation? How will that space for such efforts be communicated to the people using it?
How will teachers be able to check their lessons against the standards?
The best laid plans will go awry if there is no easy method to bring theory and practice together. Teachers are going to have to implement these plans in the midst of the busyness of multiple demands on their time and energy. If all of their hard work is actually going to be put to use, they need an easy, meaningful way to check their own individual lesson plans agains the standards.
Eduplanet21’s Unit Planner is designed with these questions in mind to ensure that curriculum development leaders have the right tool for the job. By incorporating visual elements that segment the curriculum standards into an easy-to-read format, comment sections that allow dynamic participant contribution, notes sections for innovative ideas and additional resources, and checklists that automatically light up when the standards are met, the platform is truly an engaging tool designed to get the job done right.