Part 2- Technology and Curricula
In Saskatchewan our curricula is mandated by the provincial government and built around a framework designed to support teacher instruction and student learning. Curricula revolves around the constructs of The Broad Areas of Learning and The Cross Curricular Competences. These constructs represent the vision for education in Saskatchewan, made up of the beliefs, values and understandings our students need to acquire throughout their Kindergarten to Grade 12 learning journey.
The Broad Areas of Learning create a foundation for this vision that expects Saskatchewan graduates to become Lifelong Learners, have a Sense of Self Community and Place, and take their place as Engaged Citizens in our local, provincial, national, and global community. In this 21st Century world it would be impossible to imagine any of those three areas void of technological understandings and digital fluency. By not integrating technology in the instructional design of our current classrooms we fail to prepare our students for the world as it is today, let alone the world they will inherit in the future. At the end of grade 12 students need to be lifelong learners in ways that include technology. Their sense of self, community and place is not limited to the confines of the classroom, school or even local community. Becoming an engaged citizen in a global community is now not only a possibility, but a necessity in a world that is becoming increasingly connected. Understanding what global digital citizenship is, and how to become a contributing member of it, are critical understandings for students today.
In addition to the foundation provided by the Broad Areas of Learning, the Cross Curricular Competencies provide an interrelated way of viewing important understandings, values, skills and processes that go beyond subject specific areas of study. (Saskatchewan Ministry of Education, 2010) These Competences expect that students in our education system will develop their thinking, their identity and interdependence, their literacies and their sense of social responsibility. The Saskatchewan Ministry of Education clearly states that “embedded within these four competencies is the effective use of technology for teaching and learning.” (p.23) Once again, technology is not an add-on for teaching and learning. It is a part of the teaching and learning.
In order for our education system to meet the vision and intent of the Broad Areas of Learning and Cross Curricular Competencies technological integration in education can no longer be ignored. It is a mandatory component in education and needs to thrive within the classrooms, schools, curricula and learning in Saskatchewan.
Students deserve an education that will prepare them for the technology driven world that exists today and will surely exist in the future.
To create these learning opportunities teachers, administrators and entire school systems will need to embrace and support the use of technology in instruction and student learning.