The 21st Century Classroom may use technology to enable students to access tools and information, but it isn't what will enable us to reach the needs of our students. We will address our students' needs when we take the time to identify their needs and act accordingly.
Partnership for 21st Century Skills
It's been said that if Benjamin Franklin arrived in the 21st century, he would be overwhelmed by the mass of technology and humanity, but would feel "right at home" in a school classroom. Students' needs have changed but we typically have "21st century students being taught by 20th century teachers in 19th century schools."
|English: Framework for 21st Century Learning (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
What is the difference between 20th and 21st century schools?
Standards are nice, but what is a 21st Century Education, really?
Tony Wagner in his book, The Global Achievement Gap, states that there are 7 survival skills in Today's Global world. These skills include:
- Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
- Collaboration across Networks and Leading by Influence
- Agility and Adaptability
- Initiative and Entrepreneurialism
- Effective Oral and Written Communication
- Accessing and Analyzing Information
- Curiosity and Imagination
Learning in our schools must be "Teacher Lead, but Student Driven."
A good perspective on 21st Century Learning is shared in by baccalaureate.com. They consider the difference between 21st and 20th Century Learning. Their chart defines the difference on this page. This discussion is well-considered. They provide a chart that compares 20th Century and 21st Century Learning.
The characteristics begin with:
- 20th Century Education is teacher-centered with a fragmented curriculum, students working in isolation memorizing facts.
- 21st Century Education is student-centered with real-live, relevant, collaborative project-based learning.
Spend some time reading and digesting these ideas throughout the rest of the page. There are many links that join a variety of resources. Follow all of the links and at least review their contents as you build your vision of a 21st Century Classroom.
Capturing, Sharing and Resolving Perplexity
I recently discovered a Math Teacher who captured the essence of 21st Century Learning, Dan Meyer. Dan Meyer is not just any math teacher. He has defined his teaching at the art of dealing with perplexity. He begins his lessons by challenging his students by asking questions and posting problems. Dan Meyer presented the opening Keynote at the CUE 2014 conference in March. Spend 45 minutes watching his presentation and you may develop a new perspective on teaching. He talks about how to make learning meaningful for your students by making problems/learning perplexing instead of just engaging.
Characteristics of Student-Centered Classrooms (Iowa Core)
Is your classroom (or classrooms where you are taking classes) student-centered? One of the most important parts of creating 21st Century Classrooms is to make the students active learners in the process. But the question remains, HOW? You will also find these 5 Characteristics of Effective Instruction useful as you begin to use the following Walkthrough assessment tool.
21st Century Classroom Walkthrough
Principal Shawn Holloway (Manson Northwest Webster in NW, Iowa) talks about assessing effective instruction in his classrooms using a walkthrough procedure. He has created a check sheet that he uses as a guide in his review of what he sees in classes as he Manages By Wandering Around.
Here is a link to a Google Doc version of this MNW Walkthrough Form