#FutureFriday: "Future Ready" Tips for Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment

In today's #FutureFriday, we discuss tips and tools for gaining big "Future Ready" points for Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment. Tre discusses digital assessment, blended learning, creating a culture of innovation, and digital content/curriculum.

Welcome to Future Friday!

Last month I had the pleasure of participating in the first ever Future Ready NJ Certification Summit. Task forces from schools across state have been working for months to develop a comprehensive set of Future Ready indicators that span across curriculum, infrastructure, policy, etc.

In today’s episode, we will be focusing on the Education and Classroom Practice Theme, specifically the "Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment" gear. 

Even if you aren’t in a Future Ready state, don't worry about it! Today is all about putting awesome, meaningful initiatives into place. 

I’ll be upfront, today will be MOST relevant to those already in the OnCourse ecosystem, but there are great things in here for everyone. 

Creating a Culture of Innovation and Calculated Risk-Taking

This is one that is near and dear to my heart – how can we give teachers more freedom to innovate without worrying about being labeled as ineffective teachers? This indicator gives some great ideas about how to celebrate teachers who take calculated risks by recognizing them at staff meetings and in newsletters. One great way is to use social media, or your own custom hashtag, to elevate great ideas and signal support for other teachers as well.

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One of the big obstacles to creating this type of culture, though, is the specter of state-mandated evaluations.  One of the suggestions by the Task Force is to really review your evaluation procedure.

If this means that you want to alter your framework for next year, or add new conference questions, or even to have a walkthrough form specifically around innovation – remember that OnCourse Evaluate gives you lots of options for customization.

Blended Learning

We’re all familiar with this term by now, which means that both digital and traditional learning methods are blended, with the Future Ready task force really emphasizing student agency. 

How to get all ten points in this rubric? Get blended learning to be “naturally occurring as a part of the culture”.

Interoperability is all the hullaballo these days - At the ASU/GSV conference last month, there was a LOT of grumbling about the lack of interoperability between systems. If systems aren’t integrated, it makes teachers WAY less likely to go through the manual work. 

So here’s my advice – if you are going to find a Learning Management System – think INTEGRATION FIRST. This is why we've invested heavily in OnCourse Classroom, an integrated LMS, which connects to the Grade Book, to the Parent Portal, to the new summative assessment system (OnCourse Assessment, coming soon!), to standard-aligned test banks, and also to Google docs.

Get your LMS integrated into the core system, and it’ll integrate into day-to-day activities marvelously.

Digital Access to Content and Digital Tools Aligned to the Curriculum

To get the full 10 points on this indicator, one of the things we have to accomplish is to get to a place where “All resources and tools are curated in a district/school digital resource library”.

The antithesis of this indicator is a curriculum inside of binders. We are big proponents of getting the curriculum online where resources can be mapped in digitally, then integrated down into teacher lesson plans.

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If you are one of the schools using the OnCourse Lesson Planner, and if this one is important to you, we recommend you check out the Curriculum Builder which will let you get digital content aligned to units and standards and delivered down to teachers.

Locally Developed Digital Assessments

In this indicator, teachers are encouraged to develop digital assessments both formative and summative. In the included rubric, you’ll get a full 10 points if “Teachers use locally developed assessment banks to develop digital assessments” that generate actionable data and that represent a variety of difficulty using Bloom’s Taxonomy, Depths of Knowledge, etc.

One of the challenges is that there is a big learning curve! There are technical challenges to building an interactive assessment, and there’s the fact that we’re not all psychometricians.

It’s for this reason that I’m excited to announce that OnCourse has some new capabilities that will help out tremendously.

One, in both OnCourse Classroom LMS and OnCourse Assessment, teachers and test-builders will be able to search test banks by standards or DOK levels in order to put together quick and interactive assessments. You can use test bank partners that we have, with tens of thousands of questions, or you can bank your own assessments, which aligns to the spirit of this indicator.

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Second, as students take assessments, you can monitor student performance live – from looking at performance on standard, to looking at mastery of standard, to item analysis. The data part of this becomes easier than ever.

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