By Matt Frankenbery, Director of Education & Executive Editor
What makes Pitsco’s curriculum unique? With technological advances that occur at a
near breakneck speed, how does Pitsco’s formula for delivering education still work? Well,
we follow six main tenets every time we develop a new solution for you, our customer:
- Student-centered – We write activities with the students foremost in mind. In isolation
this seems obvious, yet most classrooms do not work this way. Most of the instructions
are written directly for the teacher, who then passes along the activity to the students.
- Teacher-facilitator – When creating a student-centered classroom, a second
philosophical shift must occur – moving the teacher’s traditional role from “sage on
the stage” to “guide on the side.” This does not decrease the teacher’s importance;
simply put, it only changes the areas of focus for the teacher.
- Multimodal delivery – Each student who enters your school wants to feel as if they
are being spoken to inside the classroom. When curricula are developed using visual and
auditory elements and then integrated with kinesthetic opportunities, all students win.
- Hands-on focus – As already noted, hands-on activities are always integrated into
the visual and auditory aspects of our curriculum. Why do I reference the hands-on
component as its own element? It is often overlooked and is also the component that
students usually reference as being the most engaging and memorable.
- Cooperative learning – Why do adults lose their jobs in the workplace? Is it their lack
of knowledge? No, it’s typically their inability to work with others. Work environments
where employees have minimal contact with others are becoming rarer. Working well
with others should not be seen as an innate ability; it often must be learned.
- Rigor – With the advent of state-specific content standards during the early 21st
century, we reshaped our process of determining new activities. We now ask two
main questions at the beginning of new curriculum development – “What standards
are we looking to address?” and “How can we address those standards in an
engaging and effective manner?”
As you delve into this issue of The Pitsco Network, you’ll see numerous examples of
our six approaches to learning. Here are just a few:
- The benefits of student-centered learning are shown within a student-written article
by Logan Porter of Texarkana, Texas (see article here).
- A full description of our multimodal delivery is provided by Pitsco Curriculum
Specialist Megan Rohner (see article here).
- The benefits of cooperative learning are referenced numerous times in the Texarkana stories (see here for the first article and links to the others),
where articles explain how Texarkana Independent School District’s STEM program is
preparing future engineers.
- Finally, Curriculum Specialist Aaron Locke pulls all of our approaches together with
his article on blended instruction (see article here).