Posner (2004, p. 36) discusses the importance of understanding the situational factors that lead to the development of a particular curriculum. This curriculum has been created as a response to the problem of technology skills and resources being typically isolated as a separate curriculum, rather than being integrated into the broader curricular areas. This leads to curricula that are often devoid of 21st century skills needed by students to ensure future success (Partnership for 21st Century Skills, 2004). The goal of the curriculum, therefore, is to focus on specific technology skills that can be readily integrated into other curricular areas without sacrificing critical objectives within those curricula and, in fact, enhancing the relevance and levels of engagement in those areas.
The curriculum focused on skills and objectives from several sources. The first are the Technology Applications Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for middle school (Texas Education Agency, 2009). Secondly, the curriculum integrates concepts from the Framework for 21st Century Skills (Partnership for 21st Century Skills, 2004). Also included are learner objectives from the National Educational Technology Standards by the International Society for Technology Education (2007). Finally, the TEKS for middle school social studies (1998) have been integrated into the sample unit of study.
In terms of theoretical perspectives, this curriculum includes elements of behavioral, experiential, and constructivist practices. The curriculum is experiential in that it focuses on skills that are similar and relevant to real-life experiences of students as they use technology in their current and future lives (Posner, 2004, p. 48). Skills and knowledge included within the curriculum build logically upon one another, a characteristic of the behaviorist school of learning (p. 60). The curriculum is constructivist in its emphasis on meaningful learning, purposeful activities, and problem solving (p. 64). Additionally, there is a heavy, constructivist emphasis on authentic tasks and social interaction (p. 101).
The educational aims of the curriculum are as diverse as the content areas into which the technologies described should be integrated. From a purely technology-based perspective, the curriculum is influenced by the aim of economic productivity (Posner, 2004, p. 73). Students who obtain the skills and knowledge included will have advantages as participants in the work force after graduation. Additionally, the technological skills help to promote further learning (p. 73), equipping students for independent and collaborative research and problem solving. As situated within subject areas such as social studies, the curriculum aims also to promote opportunities for socialization (p. 73) and multicultural awareness (p. 89). Finally, an emphasis on ethics, independent application of skills, and responsibility reflect a focus on personal development (p. 73).