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Archive for the ‘21st Century Skills’ Category

I spent the afternoon staring at a computer screen wondering about the motivation behind my decision to join a cadre of 21st Century Skill enthusiasts.  My eyes are tired.  My neck is feeling stiff. I wonder about the group of students I left with a guest teacher. Website after website, log in after log in. What was I doing here?

There was a moment, however, when I took a step back to evaluate what was going on in the room.  This wasn’t just a meeting. This wasn’t just a time to explore various sites.  This was a beginning.

For the next year this group of teachers will explore 21st Century Learning and what that means for our classroom culture and practice. We were spending our time today building a foundation of vocabulary, practice, and collaboration. We were merging the tools available on to a platform from which we can grow, learn, and share.  What started as a tiring experience for the eyes developed into one of the most meaningful collaborative beginnings.

While the technological benefit from being a part of this particular learning cadre is a given, I must say that the human collaborative part of the experience is what really brings everything together. All that we explored today was nothing without that human, collaborative element. It was when we brought ourselves together that the potential of our work started to take form.  Our journey has just begun. I look forward to seeing where it takes us from here.

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Yes, you read that correctly. Teaching to the 20th Century is the intended title. It refers to the fear that some educators have of teaching towards what is to come. Our students have to live in a world that has yet to be defined or really formed: the world is changing and developing so rapidly that we don’t know what they will need to be able to do and how they will be accomplishing these unknown tasks. We are so accustomed to directly teaching what is already known at them. The idea that we need to guide them into a yet undefined world is frightening. It’s a step away from what is known and secure into a place where outcomes may not be predictable.

This video, Shift Happens, on Karl Fisch’s blog illustrates this changing world in a simple and to-the-point manner. If you haven’t seen it, watch it. If you have, watch it again and examine what you are doing in your classroom.

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Beginning this blog is the beginning of a journey. It is about a walk down the road of Education: where it is today and where it is leading all of us.  While I am leading this journey, I invite you, the reader, to join me. What are your thoughts? What are your questions? Am I entirely off base?  What advice to you have to share?

Personally, I sometimes feel bombarded by everything we as educators are expected to do in our schools: 21st century skills, differentiation, multiple intelligences, PLCs, RtI, common assessments, 504s, IEPs, ILPs, and more. And yes, we are also expected to be experts in our field and guide our students in that area.

On the other hand, I see all the benefits that these trends (if you can forgive the term) have to improving student learning. It’s all about what’s best for students and these “trends” have that motivation at heart.

As I try to incorporate all that is expected of me in a manner that speaks to best practices and not trends for the sake of trends, I plan to share my experiences and research with you, the reader.

Let’s see where we can go together!

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