I recently read a blog on my twitter feed from TeachThought.com titled Applying The 40/40/40 Rule In Your Classroom (the above graphic is from this site). It helped me engage in the content I was thinking about as I reassessed my blended-gamified classroom. For instance, I was contemplating having the first level students complete be one on digital citizenship (although I may also interweave it in my curriculum). Yes, I teach science but a large portion of my student's time will be spent engaging with digital resources. Using the graphic above, I thought is teaching digital citizenship really important?!? Will my students need to know this in 40 days? (yes) Will my students need to be able to apply and use these skills in 40 months? (Yes) When my students are 54 years old will they still be inadvertently using this knowledge? (YES!). Even though it's only one example, it is a powerful one.
In our twitter conversation @DesignSaunders asked some very important questions that really got me thinking. He first asked, "What % of our curriculum would fall into each category?" I could try to come up with a number, but really in my honest opinion it's not the curriculum, lessons, or content that's important. It's the skills that students use to build their foundational knowledge that are important. Like @DesignSaunders says, "skill over tool any day." Secondly he asked, "Are there lessons that don't have value in 40 yrs?" We both agreed that the answer to this question is no. As educators everything we do in our classrooms we do with a purpose. Whether it's getting students to ask questions about the content they are reading or finding trends in current earthquake data. Everything we ask students to do should in some way touch the "40 years" category. If not, then really what is the purpose? Why do we spend our time teaching something that students won't be able to use when they walk out of our classroom/school and into an employer's office?
I think the real question we all need to ask ourselves is What are students, whether skills or content, not going to use in 40 years? If what your doing doesn't fall into that category and doesn't have a skill that does, then by all means eliminate it or at least revamp it so it does.
If we want our students to feel like their education is worthwhile, then the 40/40/40 should be our new Siri.