Juniper Times

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It’s Here! 21st Century Learning

Today’s 21st century learning skills require new and different abilities than were required 5 or 10 years ago. Our economy will be in jeopardy if we do educate our students in current 21st century skills.

Are we in the same place we were 5 years ago? Are we teaching how to properly email when most of our students are instant messaging? Are we adapting our 21st Century skills knowledge to a changing world?

Are we focusing on what we really need to focus on, which are critical thinking skills, and how to ask questions that require answers from several resources?

Are we teaching content instead of how to locate relevant accurate content? Are we creating groups in our class just for checking off on our teacher evaluation, “Yes I did that.”

In reality groups are for our students to learn how to collaborate with others. Not just in their classroom, but across the globe.

We do not know what the next careers will be. We do not know where they will be or the job description. But we do know that 21st Century skills will require the student to be a critical thinker, problem-solver and have global awareness.

The understanding of the changing technology environment such as social networking and contributions to the development of intellectual texts, are skills students should be using every class, everyday.

Are we engaging our students in this adapting changing world? Let’s be real. Our students can solve a math problem from a math app. in 2 seconds. They can create an essay from Google in 5 minutes, with references, and text to their peers in the next class, the assignment you’ve given them in period 1.

Our job as educators is to understand this concept. We should use this knowledge and solve a bigger problem.

Requiring a student to present the findings to a real-world problem focusing on in class oral presenting skills cannot be downloaded from Youtube.

If this is the student’s final product for assessment of the analysis of a concept, think of all the skills the student had to use to prepare for the presentation.

  • Locate relevant information
  • Determine whether it was creditable
  • Write the script
  • Edit the script
  • Determine which images were appropriate

Reading, writing and research standards are implemented, not to mention the one that I always had a difficult time reaching, which was oral presentation.

Most of our students will probably not have traditional jobs. Even plumbing and electricians are using advanced technology.

Are school boards still creating policies over cell phone use in our schools? Instead, the fight should be over how to best use the cell phone for instruction. The cell phones are not going anywhere.