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Posts Tagged ‘21st century learning

If you do not follow social media in education, then these statistics might seem startling.

From an article titled The Changing Role of the Teacher in the 21st Century:

…students are exposed to more information by the age of five than their grandparents were by the age of twenty… This means that children entering kindergarten today have been exposed to more information than their grandparents were two years after graduating high school.

From the Did You Know? video series (I prefer version 3 to version 4):

It is estimated that a week’s worth of the New York Times contains more information than a person was likely to come across in a lifetime in the 18th century.

I could not determine the source of the first claim, but the Did You Know wiki had sources for the second (opens in a PDF).

Then again, you might not be surprised, especially if you have kids who attend school. You’d probably sing along with Louis Armstrong: “They’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know” (a line from What A Wonderful World). The fact is that our kids will not only be exposed to more information but also richer information that they will need to learn how to process.

But I think that some teachers and teacher educators haven’t got the memo since they attempt to only deliver instead of also discover. They continue to just employ teacher talk instead of designing learning activities that go beyond the confines of the class, tutorial or lecture room.

What’s startling is that teachers do this despite what they see around them. And the reason for maintaining the status quo? Teaching to the test. Why should tests hold you back from educating your charges? Who is to say that novel ways of teaching and learning won’t help in tests? In what could not be more timely, I offer a teacher’s argument by way of answers.

I certainly don’t let the tests in the course that I facilitate hold me back from trying out new and better things. These strategies not only provide an alternative model for young teachers, they also help them learn more meaningfully and reflectively. I know that am not alone with this working philosophy and here is another teacher who describes what he does.

Does it take more time to facilitate more learner-centred approaches? It might, but once learners internalize social, cognitive and other procedures, they’ll keep pace with or even outrun those taught traditionally. I have the same 11 or 12 sessions with my classes, but I know they learn and do much more.

I think that the only startling statistic is how few like-minded practitioners there are. But thanks to my personal and professional learning network, I know who they are and draw inspiration from their energy and creativity.

Here is a video offering interesting perspectives on technology integration in schools. Here are my takeaways…


Video source

Alan November believes that schools are using the Internet mostly for information instead of collaboration. He also added that the biggest barrier is not teaching teachers how to use technology but for them to shift control to students. Students should be using the Net not just to collaborate with one another locally but also internationally. I agree!

What I like most about the video is his idea of getting students to do work-like tasks while in school. He summarizes by calling them the research, review and scribe teams (starting around the 9min 48sec mark). I’ll borrow that idea and call them the 3 Rs teams: research, review, record.

After reading Larry Magid’s article on the NECC yesterday, I decided to see what else he had written. One article titled Kids cheating with tech but are schools cheating kids? caught my eye.

He started by revealing some statistics on how kids were using cell phones to cheat in school. He then went on to ask if schools were cheating students by not allowing them to use technologies that would help them now and in their future. He even wondered out loud if phones could be used in tests.

This, of course, resonated with me. But rather than say what I always say, I’ll quote a librarian that Magid cited:

“We can’t teach 21st century literacy and assess with 19th century methodology. We have to look at what we really need students to be able to do when they leave us” and we must ask, “What is my student learning outside of school and how can I get them just as engaged?”

To the point. Nail on the head. Bull’s eye.

I think that in future when I talk to teachers and principals or when I conduct workshops, I’ll ask them: Are you cheating your kids?

Video source

…then schools now are like railways.

You’ll get run over if you have a one-track mind!

For some reason or other, my primary RSS aggregator, Bloglines, does not read Edublog feeds very well. I know because I maintain a personal blog at EduBlogs, but don’t get regular feeds even though I write entries in that blog every week day.

Worse still, I may have missed some thoughts that my preservice teachers have been sharing. I just happened to chance upon Jeffrey’s reflections and the YouTube video he linked from his blog.

The video is titled “Do You Know 2.0″ and was something that he watched for another class. Excellent! I am glad that other teacher educators are hopping on the right bandwagon.

The video covers quite a bit of ground, but it does shed some more light on what the world might be like for our children and our students. It’s a fairly lengthy video with a key 10-second long message that starts at around the 6min 45sec mark.

I challenge my colleagues and my trainees: What are we doing to prepare ourselves so that we can competently and confidently prepare our students as citizens of the 21st century?

Are we hiding behind curriculum/syllabus requirements, “safe” forms of teaching, outdated assessments, and grading on the curve? Or are we actively thinking and responding to what and how our students need to learn?

On 3 Sep 2008, Digital Life (subscription required) featured a colourful graphic* on pp. 14-15 to illustrate a white paper by Dr Tracey Wilen-Daugenti of Cisco Systems.

The original white paper by Wilen-Daugenti can be downloaded here (PDF). The parts of the white paper I found particularly interesting were on pages 5-9. (Never mind that the student featured had the same name as me!) The content in those pages featured Web 2.0 as key to 21st century learning.

So just what is 21st century learning? We will be exploring that nebulous concept in weeks to come.

*I sought the permission of the newspaper publisher to use the graphic. I am including the email I sent to the publisher and their reply to me (permission-to-use-article-for-teacher-education). I am hoping that my action might serve as one model for teachers on how to use resources in a responsible way.


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