The Future of Curriculum Mapping

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic forced students across the globe to shift to remote methods of accessing education. To meet those demands, schools accelerated their investments in edtech and adopted new strategies to advance student learning.

Online classrooms allowed classes to connect in virtual spaces. Learning tools streamlined everything from instruction to assessment. Engagement platforms that made sure learning was fun. These kinds of approaches became mainstream – and they continue to persist into the foreseeable future.

These technology trends impacted the ways teachers, support staff and administrators mapped their curriculum, too. In this chapter, we explore the trends that impact the future of curriculum mapping and how you can embrace it within your district or school.

Hybrid learning is here to stay

Face-to-face learning – the kind you’ll find in a traditional classroom – is particularly strong at facilitating social connection, non-verbal communication cues, and real-time interactions. That includes classroom staples like discussions and immediate feedback. Yet, it requires students to physically attend class, no matter what kinds of learning activities students will engage in that day.

Remote learning – the kind that relies wholly on technology to deliver and access – excels in individualized exploration, independent tasks, and self-paced practice. It allows students greater access during times they would otherwise be absent. It also provides more opportunities and formats for collaboration between students. Yet, it limits the community relationships students and teachers form, and may invite unwanted distraction into the school day.

Hybrid learning integrates the best of both worlds while minimizing the drawbacks associated with each approach. For example, in-classroom learning may be reserved for activities, assignments that require group work, and in-depth discussion. Tasks that students can do on their own (like independent reading, practice and asynchronous discussion) may be moved online to provide a better learning experience and make better use of in-class time.

In short, with hybrid learning, both halves work together, with the learning objectives and student needs driving the format of instruction. And it’s becoming more common in K-12 schools. In a recent report, 20 percent of U.S. school districts said they have already adopted, plan to adopt or are considering adopting virtual elements into their educational portfolio.

Curriculum mapping tip

The curriculum mapping process is the perfect time to determine which elements of your curriculum are best suited to online and face-to-face delivery. Start by asking questions like:

  • What learning objectives are best suited for online learning or for face-to-face learning?
  • Can students do this work individually or will they need to collaborate?
  • How will the work completed in each format complement and build upon each other?

Curriculum sharing is in-demand

Gone are the days when curriculums were designed in personal teacher diaries or hidden away in three-ring binders on dusty shelves. With the explosion in collaboration-enabling technology, teachers can review and compare maps to see what’s working and what’s missing. Doing so allows them to find opportunities for cross-disciplinary connections and transitions between grade levels to make sure students master each standard.

Collaboration goes beyond teachers, support staff and administrators, though. Increasingly, states are requiring schools to make information like syllabi, textbooks, resources, standards and curriculums publicly accessible online so parents and other educational stakeholders outside of the school have access. As a result, schools in those areas will now need to consider more effective ways of building and sharing their curriculum maps digitally.

Curriculum mapping tip

By mapping your curriculum on a digital-first platform, curriculum sharing is easier than ever. As one Chalk user puts it:

“Once our curriculum maps are where we want them to be, we plan to publish them within the district as well as provide parental access to promote transparency and encourage family engagement … By being intentional with our curriculum work and including all stakeholders in this process, we expect that we’ll continue to earn strong graduation readiness scores and maintain our high graduation rate.”

The future is flexible

Technology enables us to access information whenever and wherever we want. It empowers us to pick up where we left off, connect with others across distance and time, and create new kinds of experiences that benefit students on a more personalized level. That’s the kind of flexibility that’s entering our classrooms through the adoption of new edtech solutions.

A flexible school is one in which:

  • Students can choose their preferred methods of learning and take a more participatory role in defining their educational journey
  • Teachers and students can respond to disruptions in learning, whether it’s a sick day, a weather event or a global pandemic
  • There’s consistency and continuity to ensure a high quality of learning occurs whether students are learning from a seasoned teacher or a teacher who’s new to the classroom
  • Teachers can adjust their strategies iteratively and build their curriculums as living, breathing documents
  • Infrastructure is designed and built to keep up with future advancements in education technology, whatever they may be

Curriculum mapping tip

Curriculum mapping on a platform like Chalk provides a strong foundation of flexibility. It allows teachers to measure, review and adjust what’s working within their classrooms and what’s not in real-time. It’s also an excellent way to maintain continuity during unexpected changes in the classroom, and keep all stakeholders in the loop to make sure student learning stays on track.

Bring your curriculum mapping into the future

The future of curriculum mapping may have arrived faster than expected, but now that we’re here, there’s no turning back! With hybrid learning, curriculum sharing and flexibility emerging as leading trends within schools across the globe, teachers and students both benefit from the shifts in strategy, scale and scope that ever-advancing solutions in edtech can provide.

Conclusion

Congratulations! You now have an understanding of the fundamentals of curriculum mapping and how current trends are impacting the future of curriculum mapping. Curriculum mapping is a crucial step to making sure that your school’s curriculum is aligned with standards and flows consistently from year to year. This process requires involvement from many different representatives within your institution’s community. Successfully managing the process will both improve the level of education at your institution, and also create a robust method of communicating curriculum goals throughout the entire community. Throughout this process, you should be working towards establishing a strong professional learning community in your school. This community will ensure that curriculum maps are a living document used by every teacher in your school!

At Chalk, we offer a curriculum mapping tool that allows you to design learning around your students and standards in a more customized, connected and collaborative way. We’ve made it even easier for you by uploading state and Common Core standards directly into the platform and providing you with new tools to track student progress. On top of that, we’re helping several districts around the United States and globally leverage data to make better decisions – and stronger curriculums. Here are a few more resources you can explore for your school.

Thank you so much for reading our guide. If you have any questions, please email schools@chalk.com.

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