If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
Curriculum-as-a-Service is a new way of looking at curriculum.
To date, our mental model for curriculum has been the textbook. If a school district adopts a textbook, we know what the curriculum is.
But what if a school district adopts a curriculum and nobody uses it? Does the district have a curriculum?
Curriculum-as-a-Service takes a system-thinking approach to curriculum. Instead of thinking of curriculum as a physical thing, we think of it as a tool for getting a series of jobs done:
A textbook gets these jobs done in the following way:
We can immediately see the limitations of the textbook when we look across the system. Specifically:
- What if the textbook doesn’t capture the particular needs of the district?
- What if teachers don’t get their textbooks?
- What if teachers don’t use the textbook to plan and deliver instruction?
- What if the textbook doesn’t speak to the needs of the students in the classroom?
- The assessments don’t help the teacher and district see patterns in the actual learning and then use those patterns to respond to student needs
If we change our orientation from curriculum as a textbook to curriculum as a service — one powered by technology and human expertise — we can start to imagine a better tool for getting these jobs done.
This is the future of curriculum
What form will this service take? Curriculum-as-a-Service consists of a combination of:
- A cloud-based platform that enables a district to publish content and track its impact
- Digital content that provides a district with a starting point of high-quality, base material
- Professional services that provide guidance on how to get these jobs done strategically
In our next post, I’ll explore how Curriculum-as-a-Service works in “tight” and “loose” school districts.
Eric Westendorf is the Co-Founder and CEO at LearnZillion.