Online Connections and the Future of Work

I have been spending a good deal of time this month developing the curriculum for a Business and Information Technology class I am teaching this coming year.  The class is called Online Connections and the focus of it is loosely centered around the notion that technology has changed the way people learn and work and that we must expose our students to the reality of this changing world.  For a techie and former social studies teacher who often felt somewhat constrained by curriculum, this is like going to teacher heaven. 

I created essential questions and enduring understandings for the course and posted them on the class wiki.  While these statements make a lot of sense to me, I have been challenged by how to make them clear and meaningful for my students (who I will only see for 22 school days!). 

  • I created a partnership with a class at the Korea International School,
  • generated a learners toolbox that students will use to review Web 2.0 applications and how they can be harnessed to learn and create products of value,
  • aggregated various news feeds to help students gain a more global perspective,
  • put together resources to help students construct understanding of copyright and online safety,
  • and am in the process of developing what I hope will be a Quadrant D (a la Daggett’s Rigor/Relevance Framework) activity with the following task In this challenge, you will imagine that you are an adult and have
    relocated to a new geographic area. Using your creativity and critical
    thinking skills, you will have to develop a set of interactive
    directions for setting up your new life.

I am planning to model the process of digital negotiation when my students collaboratively develop our class contract and Web 2.0 resources evaluation protocol

This morning, I created another activity (and blogged about it on my cliotech blog). . .

I want to send out a quick thanks to Vicki Davis (Cool Cat Teacher) for sharing a powerful podcast from Business Week that accompanies their issue on the Future of Work.

Based on activity that Vicki used with her students, I created an activity for the 9th grade students in my Online Connections course:

We have discussed how mega-trends have changed the nature of business and learning. Business Week published an issue about the future of work. This is your future. 

Listen to this brief podcast (about 12 minutes in length), read the article, Which Way to the Future, and answer the following questions on the discussion tab of this wiki page.   

  1. What is changing about the workplace in America?
  2. What type of people will continue to be employed? What characteristics will they have?
  3. What do you find most interesting that was discussed?
  4. Are you personally optimistic or pessimistic about future employment opportunities for you and why? 

* Activity adapted from Vicki A. Davis (Cool Cat Teacher blog.)


More Research about the Changing Workplace   

I shared this activity with the DEN because I believe that many of you are also trying to figure out how to bring the reality of the 21st century into your classrooms.  While I realize that I certainly enjoy greater flexibility with regard to time and curricular constraints than most, I think that some of the resources I have collated for my course might be workable in your classes as well.


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  1. Vicki Davis said:

    This is incredibly impressive! You have shared everything in one place. I love it! This is great!

    Jennifer, you have done an outstanding job! I think that you and I both have a common viewpoint on these perspectives and I’ve worked to integrate many of these items into every course that I teach. Wow!

  2. Vicki Davis said:

    Great job, Jennifer. I have given you a Cool Cat Teacher Award over on my post. Great job! (Feel free to grab the award logo if you want it — if you need help with the coding — which I doubt– I can help you!) Outstanding outstanding job!

  3. diane said:


    I’m setting up a wiki for a new Current Events course. Thank you for all the great ideas! My site is still under construction (I’m not sure yet what our school network will support) but you’re welcome to visit and critique.

    The collaborative spirit of teachers is always reassuring and impressive!

  4. Diane P said:

    Wow, this is wonderful. We taught an Institute for our teachers using Moodle but I love this much better.
    I can see setting up something like this for my middle school students.
    Thanks so much for the idea.

  5. Sue Waters said:

    Excellent work Jennifer

    I am just in the process of setting up a class wiki. What you have done will give me more ideas for my class.

    Thanks for sharing this.


  6. Brandt Schneider said:

    I am envious of your work. I definately need to work harder.

    I have been struggling with how to balance my class blog, the students blog, the wiki, etc… and I think your set-up has given me some ideas.

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