I finally figured out how to do this! I've been gone for the past three weeks working with The California Arts Project. One week was leadership training and the last two were working with our participants in the institute we put on. The institute will actually meet nine more days through January, so we're only half done. Yikes.
During the course of the meetings we had a lot of lively, engaging and provocative discussion around a lot of teaching issues and processes such as academic literacy, differentiated instruction, standards and assessment and 21st century skills. All participants are writing a unit of instruction with a model demonstration lesson that will be presented throughout our next meetings. I had to present mine last week. I'm soooo glad that's over.
We read a white paper one day that was written by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills called "21st Century Learning Environments." It's a very interesting position paper which suggests that the way we look at schools and how they're set up presently for learning needs to completely change. The position really shakes up the way things presently are which, as we know are not effective. In America, students attend school on average over 1100 hours per year which students in most developed nations attend on average 701 hours per year, yet most of them outperform us on international tests. Why? What do they know or do that we don't?
This article has a lot to do with technology as part of learning in the 21st century. It discusses the type of technological infrastructures that best support the teaching and learning of 21st century skills. Technology can enhance learning in many ways on a much more in-depth level than a white board or a couple of computers in the back of the room. Among the most notable ways technology can enhance student learning and promote mastery of 21st century skills:
1. Promoting greater student achievement
2. Increasing student engagement
3. Assessing student performance
4. Facilitating communication and collaboration
5. Maximizing administrative effectiveness
6. Building student proficiencies in 21st century skills
The article gives specific descriptions as to what this looks like, and it's not a typical classroom setting as we know it. As far as technology is concerned, it reminds us that research shows time and again that tools are only as effective as the tool users, so we have to provide support for growth and development for both students and adults. This is a component that's sorely lacking for us to advance with technology in our schools.
This article is really good food for thought, but also frustrating because how and where do we begin to make the huge paradigm and pedagogical shifts that need to take place to bring us into 21st century learning?
You can look up partner for 21st century skills on line and find even more information.
See you all soon!