Updating the Diploma

Updating the Diploma

Updating the curriculum is grounded in preparing students for today’s job market and the elusive future economy.  It is also about providing students an opportunity to explore their passions, develop a love of learning not to mention the skills a learner needs to keep on learning.   When developing curriculum we often ask two questions (1) what do we want the student to be able to do (2) how do we know they know it?   The ultimate proof of completing a course of study, that says to the world the students know what we what them to know, is the diploma.  If the current job market is calling for change in school curriculum maybe the diploma needs a makeover as well.

In the past a diploma seemed to mean something, it carried a weight all it is own.  Now as students migrate from high school to college or college to career the diploma in only one of the items they need to move forward.  Many colleges and employers want to see beyond the diploma.  They want a portfolio of work that demonstrates their skills and proficiency in certain applications.  How much experience do you have with Maya? Are you Photoshop certified?  So you have a diploma but what can you do?

I have seen this in my own children. My son who is interested in game design learned that he needed to submit a portfolio of related work with his college applications.  As his high school has no course to support this endeavor he took a community college course and several online tutorials to learn the skills needed and prepared his portfolio for the application process.  (Good thing we started looking several years out.)  A high school diploma, good SAT and IB scores were not sufficient for the path he has chosen.

My daughter, with another year of college to go, has an internship for job experience and is reading lots of job ads to discover what employers are looking for, what skills she’ll need, and how can she prove she has them. It is not just a diploma she needs and it certainly will be more than a portfolio.  She will need certificates.  Through Lynda and Adobe Certification she is working to obtain those most sought in her desired career path.

As a parent and educator it is clear to me that schools today do not adequately prepare students to enter certain college and career tracks particularly those in the technology field.  Things need to change; how we educate, what we learn and maybe how we demonstrate to others our skills and knowledge.


Recommended Reading:

Disrupting the Diploma by Reid Hoffman

7 thoughts on “Updating the Diploma

  1. I really like your point about your degree not being enough for college or the career world. As a teacher, I am asked in interview how I will integrate technology, yet most of my classes didn’t specifically teach me about the available technology. Of course some used various kinds- SMART board, websites, blogs, etc.
    I agree that in order for people to be successful, they need to be educated about technology. The problem is, how do we go about doing this with budget issues?

  2. Education can act as a powerful tool for reducing poverty and unemployment and achieving a sustained human development. When we compared our country education with other developed/developing country

  3. I have to agree with you. Most of what is being taught in education s obsolete once you get into a classroom. Things are changing year-to-year and the curriculum isn’t adjusting accordingly. An administrator once told me that these days substitute teaching experience is valued more than a degree in education with the required student teaching. When I asked why he told me because a student teacher has a safety net and a substitute doesn’t.

  4. To be honest technology has really been helpful to my generation, answers and a easier way to do things are at our finger tips. I like your 2 questions. 1.What do we want the students to be able to do 2. How do we know they know it ? Changes do need to be made in the budget. I also believe to be a good teacher we need to be educated more about technology. In saying this I know that we are going to keep working with what we have until more changes come. ( HAPPY FACE )

  5. I agree with your statement. The things I learned in high school were helpful to pass tests to get to the next grade. However, there should be much more to education than that. Pushing students along isn’t helping anyone in the long run. Teaching is supposed to be about helping someone become a better person and leave your classroom with a deeper knowledge and understanding, not just a good enough grade to move on. Students need more teachers that are willing to go the extra mile to give them the tools and skills the need to succeed in the real world.

  6. Is this the time to update or upgrade? Students need to acquire skills and knowledge from experts in their fields. They go, more generally, to learn how to learn, and to broaden their minds in ways that will help them function. Employers use diplomas as screening mechanisms. If you don’t have a diploma, you don’t get an interview. So a diploma is essentially a communications device that signals a person’s readiness for certain jobs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.