The new millennium was ushered in by a dramatic technological revolution. We now live in an increasingly diverse, globalized, and complex, media-saturated society. According to Dr. Douglas Kellner at UCLA this technological revolution will have a greater impact on society than the transition from an oral to a print culture.
Today's kindergarteners will be retiring in the year 2067 . We have no idea of what the world will look in five years, much less 60 years, yet we are charged with preparing our students for life in that world. Our students are facing many emerging issues such as global warming, famine, poverty, health issues, a global population explosion and other environmental and social issues. These issues lead to a need for students to be able to communicate, function and create change personally, socially, economically and politically on local, national and global levels.
Even kindergarten children can make a difference in the world by participating in real-life, real-world service learning projects. You're never too young, or too old, to make your voice heard and create change that makes the world a better place.
Even toddlers utilize multimedia devices and the Internet with tools such as handheld video games like Leapster and VTech and web sites such as www.PBSkids.org and www.Nick.com . Preschoolers (including my 2-year-old grandson) easily navigate these electronic, multimedia resources on games in which they learn colors, numbers, letters, spelling, and more complex tasks such as mixing basic colors to create new colors, problem-solving activities, and reading.
Example: Using 21 st Century Skills in Real Life Situations http://www.edutopia.org/clearfield-high-school-technology-video
Synching Up with the iKid: Connecting to the Twenty-First-Century Student http://www.edutopia.org/ikid-digital-learner
Hamstra used a software application called DyKnow Vision to let her students analyze various passages from the books on computer screens at their desk. She then posted their work on a large-screen monitor at the front of the classroom (the computer lab, in this case), and the students discussed the displayed examples. Hamstra has also had students analyze similar passages using pen and paper.
The difference is startling. Using the software, the students' responses "were deeper than with pen and ink," Hamstra says. "The focus was really sharp. There's something about changing over to an electronic medium, something about that screen. It's psychological. It's a generational thing."
This new generation of digital learners -- call them the MEdia Generation -- take in the world via the filter of computing devices: the cellular phones, handheld gaming devices, PDAs, and laptops they take everywhere, plus the computers, TVs, and game consoles at home. A survey by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation found that young people (ages 8-18) mainline electronic media for more than six hours a day, on average. Interestingly, many are multitasking -- listening to music while surfing the Web or instant-messaging friends while playing a video game.
One way of competing with electronic distractions is to optimize lessons for the MEdia Generation's rapid-fire meme-hopping tendencies. Leapfrog Enterprises, maker of the LeapPad Learning System , the talking-book device that topped the list of best-selling toys in the United States for several years, imposes a seven-second rule on the writers and designers of its teaching toys: Stories and lessons must progress in increments of seven seconds or less, at the end of which the book prompts the child to interact with it. A concession to a fragmented attention span, perhaps, but one that recognizes reality.
Collaborative learning, too, has taken a tech-driven leap forward. In the Cranbrook Schools, in Cranbook, Michigan, for instance, students use Moodle , an open source course-management system designed to create online communities. With it, users discuss class content with teachers and other students, take quizzes and tests, and get help after school.
Twenty-first century skills must be an integral part of teaching and learning of all academic subjects, not add-ons to the curriculum. Making this happen will require transforming classroom practice, so that students learn to apply critical thinking skills in the context of learning math, for example, or work in collaborative teams on a geography project or use scientific technology to explore the environment. In other words, the basics and 21st century skills are not at cross-purposes: They are complementary.
Full Report: http://21stcenturyskills.org/documents/P21_pollreport_singlepg.pdf
This poll also validates the bold actions of six states— Maine, Massachusetts, North Carolina, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wisconsin —that have joined the Partnership’s State Leadership Initiative to develop statewide strategies for infusing 21st century skills into education.
Twenty-first century curriculum has certain critical attributes. It is interdisciplinary, project-based, and research-driven. It is connected to the community – local, state, national and global. Sometimes students are collaborating with people around the world in various projects. The curriculum incorporates higher order thinking skills, multiple intelligences, technology and multimedia, the multiple literacies of the 21st century, and authentic assessments. Service learning is an important component.
The classroom is expanded to include the greater community. Students are self-directed, and work both independently and interdependently. The curriculum and instruction are designed to challenge all students, and provides for differentiation.
The curriculum is not textbook-driven or fragmented, but is thematic, project-based and integrated. Skills and content are not taught as an end in themselves, but students learn them through their research and application in their projects. Textbooks, if they have them, are just one of many resources.
Knowledge is not memorization of facts and figures, but is constructed through research and application, and connected to previous knowledge and personal experience. The skills and content become relevant and needed as students require this information to complete their projects. The content and basic skills are applied within the context of the curriculum, and are not ends in themselves.
Assessment moves from regurgitation of memorized facts and disconnected processes to demonstration of understanding through application in a variety of contexts. Real-world audiences are an important part of the assessment process, as is self-assessment.
Important to note . . .
A recent survey by CDW Corporation shows that teachers are more likely to use technology to ease the administrative requirements of K-12 education than to utilize it in instructional applications. More than 85 percent of respondents in CDW's Teachers Talk Tech survey say that while they are adequately trained on Internet, word processing, and email software, 27 percent have little or no training with integrating computers into lessons. Nonetheless, the survey indicates that more than 70 percent of teachers at all grade levels believe computers are an important driver of student learning.
3D Readers http://www.neuronfarm.com/3d-readers/tourintro.html
Apple Education Seminar and Events http://edseminars.apple.com/seminars/event_template.php?eventTemplateID=273
http://muve.gse.harvard.edu/rivercityproject/ River City Project
Lessons to Learn
“ Just as in corporate America, where companies such as Delta Airlines, Microsoft, and even Google have fired employees over blog posts, schools are working on policies designed to protect themselves while trying not to stifle personal expression. For educators accustomed to making and enforcing absolute rules, letting the inmates take part in running the asylum (an inexact metaphor, of course) is going to take some getting used to. But in the end, the best way for students to learn about the world they live in is to have a hand in creating it. “