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Peer Review

Curriculum 21

by Heidi Jacobs


Overall Numeric Rating:

4 stars
Content Quality: 4 stars
Effectiveness: 4 stars
Ease of Use: 4 stars
Reviewed: Mar 28, 2013 by Teacher Education
Overview: Curriculum 21 is a for-profit organization of curriculum designers who offer development and design services for instructors seeking help creating curriculum for 21st century learners
Type of Material: Workshop and Training Material
Recommended Uses: Curriculum developers could use this material as could teachers at all levels: elementary through higher education in order to discover ways in which new learning materials can be developed so as to support 21st century learners.
Technical Requirements: Internet and web browser
Identify Major Learning Goals: To utilize instructional materials for professional development in order to engage students in the learning process.
Target Student Population: This site is geared towards both administrators in education and instructors who would like guidance on curriculum mapping and the common core standards.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: An understanding of the requirements and needs for your institution’s curriculum and a need to revise and/or develop new curriculum

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: This site covers a wide variety of topics facing curriculum designers developing material to address the unique needs of 21st century learners. It goes on to offer tips for handling the unique challenges of mapping effective instructional techniques with the Common Core standards.
Concerns: While introductory content is laid out for instructors to read through, there is a great need for actual material that will help them to revise and develop their curriculum. The bulk of the materials seem to be consultant services and for-pay conferences and webinars, which proves challenging in that the site, at first glance, seems to be an open educational resource.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: It’s easy to use/adapt lessons/activities for use in any grade/content. Podcasts, webinars, and blogs offer users insight into teaching/learning methods and approaches. This site makes a compelling case for instructors and administrators to go through the process of revising their curriculum to better address the unique needs of 21st century learners. The material presented is rooted in both pedagogy and the nature of the current educational landscape.
Concerns: It is very difficult to locate the actual core content for the site and figure out how to apply that content in a meaningful way. This could be improved by identifying the purpose, target audience and goals for the site on the front page and on the About Us page.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: The colorful layout of the website is refreshing and engaging, and as you dig into each section of the website, you are provided with secondary navigation and breadcrumbs.
Concerns: The names of the sections on the site are not indicative of the content that you will find on the pages once you get there. Additionally, plain language and a decreased dependence on acronyms will help users to figure out where to go and what to click on. Typography and color choices should be tightened to avoid confusion - for instance, advertisements for the live conference are written in the same font as the headers and navigation, making it difficult to figure out what you are clicking on.

Other Issues and Comments: This is a great tool for teaching, learning, and professional development. It contains live news feeds from several sources to help the user keep up-to-date.