What is a Digital Curriculum?

Hillary Flynn

A curriculum is the set of courses and subjects provided by a school or learning center. Traditionally, schools and educators developed curricula that were supported with print-based materials presented by instructors in a physical classroom. However, technological advancements have afforded educators the ability to develop courses and content via a new method called digital curriculum. Digital curriculum refers to electronic educational programs that are accessed with a computer. This has opened up a wealth of opportunities to provide learners with advanced multimedia content that allows students to access web-based programs from any location on the globe where Internet service is available.

Online courses allow parents to take classes at home.
Online courses allow parents to take classes at home.

Digital curricula are used in both physical classrooms and technology-based learning hubs found on the Internet. In a traditional classroom, instructors may use interactive white boards, laptops, handheld computers, and a host of other electronic equipment to integrate digital content with traditional learning methods. Students can be found blogging, collaborating on digital projects, and utilizing interactive learning programs. One of the best features of a digital curriculum is the ability to share resources with other teachers from all over the world. Technology has revolutionized communication methods and educators are no longer limited to collaboration within their own schools.

Outside the traditional classroom, a digital curriculum enables home schooled students to access unlimited educational resources. This is especially helpful to people who live in remote areas without access to decent educational opportunities. Children on different continents and from different backgrounds are all able to retrieve the same information and benefit from the same programs. Adult learners also benefit, as college level digital programs allow working professionals to pursue advanced degrees from their homes. Without the ability to attend school on the Internet, many adult students wouldn't be able to balance work, family, and school.

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The types of multimedia and communication methods that accompany programs designed around a digital curriculum are ever evolving. Electronic presentations, video, instant messaging, interactive software, and web portals are just a few of the things one might encounter when using a digital curriculum. Some programs are even set up to allow students to attend a virtual school environment from their homes. Students create three dimensional characters and meet in classrooms with a teacher several times a week. Gaming design principles are employed to enhance the school experience and provide a creative outlet that engages and inspires students. Advances in technology are certain to continue expanding the choices available to educators.

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