Thursday, August 5, 2010

What's Old and New and 21?

Twenty-first Century teaching and learning means 90% of what and how master teachers have been teaching all along and 10% explicit instruction and practice with digital technology. The 21st Century themes as indentified by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills as environment, finance, health, civil and global literacies may have lost some prominence in recent years as reading "content" gave way to "skills." This is a reminder that the what is as important as the how and vice versa. In noticing what is different (the 10%) about 21st Century learning we might miss the core. As ever, what is being read and written (i.e. consumed and produced in a variety of media) is as important as how. If we bear this in mind we need not lose time playing with the toys of technology but use them as tools to literacy.

I  believe 21st Century education is a blend of traditional themes and novel technology in service to the enduring and essential questions. It's as much about our common humanity as ever because technology is shrinking the globe. Our students not only are going to have to deal with keeping their batteries charged but also working with or competing agains their peers half a world away.  Ethics, civics, and just good ole common sense are values for the post-Me generations.  The relationships and relevancy that engage learners are perhaps heightened nowadays, but everpresent in good teaching of yore.

Twenty-first century learning, in toto, may be a reminder of what great English language arts teaching has always been (and a call to realign our practice), as well as a call to work with ICT and audio-visual media with new emphasis.

Image created on "NGA Kids ARTZONE Collage Machine II." National Gallery of Art. Web.


Anonymous said...

Well said.

ava said...

Nicely written post! Our kids will not be just vying for local jobs and working with local people. The world is getting more connected so our kids need to learn that way.