Business, Computer, and Information Technology Department
2016 Curriculum Review Executive Summary
(See Curriculum for more information)
Since the last Business, Computer, and Information Technology (BCIT) Curriculum Review in 2007, the pace of change in the core business courses (accounting, marketing, etc.) has maintained the usual steady pace of expansion in the theory and application of the subject matter. On the other hand, the speed at which both theory and application in the area of information technology continues to expand at an accelerating pace. Consider just the changes in cell phones, automobiles, and corporate and personal finances as examples.
In just under a decade, cell phones have migrated from a portable communication device, to a computing machine which provides entertainment features and convenient payment options to replace the need for cash and/or plastic (credit or debit cards). All of these new features were added while maintaining the communication features in the form of voice or text.
Automobiles are on the cusp of driving themselves and now provide added safety features to correct for human driver error or negligence. As the self-driving car is tested in the Pittsburgh market, it has become easy to envision the day when cars will drive families to desired destinations, provide needed information for their trip, and take themselves to the automotive technician for maintenance and repair.
Technological advancement in corporate and personal finance continues to accelerate the speed and convenience of financial transactions, and it has expanded the geographic range of financial transactions from local to regional to national to global geographies. It also has created a truly virtual financial world where the need for physical locations for retail stores and banks are becoming less and less important particularly for each new generation. Consumers can shop online in the virtual marketplace and pay with cash or credit by only using virtual banking services.
While these technological changes have provided convenience and pleasure in our daily lives, they certainly create peril. Perhaps Albert Einstein was, once again, ahead of his time when he said, “It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.” The virtual world which technology creates allows many dark places for bad “stuff” to happen. The convenience of technology creates a vast array of personal information to be hacked which in turn provides the potential for one to assume a different identity for personal and financial gain at the expense of unsuspecting individuals. Microprocessors can do wonders to enhance processing speed and data reliability and integrity, but when attacked by highly skilled hackers, these same microprocessors can be used to create cataclysmic events.
Only people have ethics. Researchers have yet to create an ethical machine. It is, therefore, more important than ever to focus on ethical leadership to recognize the wonderful benefits and potential risks that technology provides and plan for the protection against the illegal and unethical use of technology.
Students are becoming more and more technologically proficient at earlier and earlier ages. While they are skilled users of devices, they are often naïve regarding the potential problems that exist, as well as not understanding the range of legal and ethical considerations when using technology.
In addition, public education in the 21st Century is evolving in remarkable ways. Schools are transitioning from the industrial to the information age; students are experiencing a diversification in the pathways to college and careers unlike any other time in history. New opportunities for students, new challenges, and requirements for new skills are developing in a matter of months rather than decades, making this a transformative time for public education. Pursuing new course offerings and opportunities will prepare students at NASD for a business world that is progressive, interactive, and informative.
In this more dynamic environment, the question of how to prepare students for independent adult life becomes more complex. There are powerful new educational tools and promising new teaching strategies to consider. More than ever, learning is happening beyond the school day and outside the classroom walls, and students are benefiting from the wisdom, experiences, and perspectives of their entire community, and in some cases, the entire world.
The following revisions to the current BCIT Curriculum are being recommended to keep abreast of the technological changes:
- A comprehensive digital literacy skills class for 8th grade students highlighting Internet safety, privacy and security, cyberbullying, and digital citizenship.
- An online financial literacy course requirement for all students as a graduation requirement.
- FBI Cyber Crimes Course of Study—College in High School through the University of Pittsburgh.
- Business Leadership Practicum Course for seniors. Students will be taught the qualities and leadership skills that employers are looking for in the job market.
The North Allegheny School District and, in particular, the BCIT Department is in the midst of “the perfect storm.” Technological advances, current business practices, and education as a whole are experiencing parallel changing paradigms. The need for teachers and curriculum to be flexible, agile, and future focused in a fast-paced, ever changing environment has never been more important. The need to adopt experiential, personalized, and project-based learning opportunities throughout the curriculum is imperative for student learning. The North Allegheny Business Department will provide the evolutionary, forward-thinking curriculum along with student-centered delivery of that curriculum.