What do experienced high school teachers, a professional app developer, a college business and creativity professor, and a successful entrepreneur have in common? This might sound like the start of a joke, but the punchline is actually that they all contribute in critical ways to preparing students for the 21st century workforce by guiding the Uncharted Learning curriculum development and enhancement process.
Striving to Meet Teachers' Needs
The expectations on teachers today are wide-ranging, to say the least. Teachers need to be able to create engaging lesson plans, manage multiple classrooms of diverse learners, assess student learning and translate it into grades, foster positive relationships with parents, and fulfill other school duties as assigned - all while staying current in their own professional learning, keeping up with trends in their subject area, and shaping the hearts and minds of the rising generation. The demands on teachers are expansive and far reaching - which is why we’ve created curriculum that’s:
- Evergreen - with dynamic and current content
- Industry-connected - using tools and best practices actually in use in the workforce
- Authentic - bringing industry leaders into the classroom and getting students off campus to support teachers in extending student learning beyond school
- Engaging - extending beyond lesson plans to include an active professional learning community and professional development opportunities
The Power of a Network
So, how do we develop curriculum that’s evergreen, industry-connected, authentic, and engaging? Well, we don’t do it alone. The curriculum team at Uncharted Learning, NFP, partners with industry leaders, university faculty, and entrepreneurs to develop, enhance, and refresh the curriculum for all of our programs on a regular basis. Our network of professional advisors, combined with our brilliant community of teachers, regularly provides feedback and direction on the content, activities, and tools used in all of our programs.
As the Director of Programs, I have the joy and challenge of managing the curriculum development process for robust, rigorous programs that extend far beyond my own content knowledge. While I have expertise to offer in the areas of experiential learning and curriculum design, our advisory network truly brings the curriculum to life.
Advisors Shaping Student Curriculum
As just one example of how advisors regularly shape our student entrepreneurship programs and curriculum, last year, Uncharted Learning launched a partnership with Miami University’s Institute for Entrepreneurship specifically focused on advising changes to the INCubatoredu program.
Insight and Expertise
With the expertise and insight of Dr. Jim Friedman - a professor of entrepreneurship, marketing, and creativity with 25 years of innovation consulting experience at companies across the country - we significantly enhanced our introductory unit on entrepreneurial mindset, using actual tricks of the trade taught at the university level and used in the innovation industry. Together, we rearranged the unit and incorporated new activities and resources into the INCubatoredu curriculum, including brainstorming strategies, an applied framework for creativity, and additional methods for teaching front-end innovation. The end result of these shifts is that students and teachers are now equipped and empowered in new ways with real-world, industry validated tools to identify problems and generate novel solutions.
In our MobileMakersEdu programs, where we train teachers to lead students through an applied method of coding in Swift, the curriculum is actively shaped by actual, practicing developers.
Industry Knowledge + Passion
Don Bora, Co-Founder and Principal of Technology at Eight Bit Studios, has been instrumental in ensuring that the MobileMakersEdu curriculum is in line with industry standards. Don brings 25 years of professional coding and entrepreneurial experience to the program, and regularly mentors teachers and students.
In addition to Don, Wade Sellers - who completed an adult coding bootcamp himself - brings industry knowledge, energy, and passion to his role coaching member teachers every step of the way through the curriculum.
As Wade tells it, “I pull in my life experiences and lessons learned on my path into my passion for code and with a realistic view of the world mixed with my understanding that we can use our imaginations to make awesome things that people need and enjoy.” MobileMakersEdu teachers have near-immediate access to an entire community of developers like Wade and Don, who are eager to support teachers in training the next generation of coders.
Purposefully building these real-world connections and touch points into the curriculum and creating bridges from school to the real world is what makes Uncharted Learning programs come alive for students and teachers. Our robust network of industry advisors makes sure that our curriculum will never get dusty and that our programs are perpetually on the leading edge of what’s happening in the workforce.