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.
Disrupting the Diploma by Reid Hoffman