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Paul Johnston
Curriculum Development Officer

21st Century Learning

With so many 21st Century Learning approaches out there, it can be difficult to settle on one that meets the needs of our students. What skills do students need be successful in the 21st Century? Are we teaching these skills? How are these skills being assessed? Are we confident in our ability to integrate these skills into our lessons?

I am interested to know what framework/s you are currently using and the impact that this is having on student learning.

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Sjaani van den Berg

Posted on 8/18/14 6:20:15 AM Permalink

I think the most important thing to be teaching doesn't involve technology at all. We don't know what today's students need to know by the time they're entering adult life. Whether that be work or not.

We need to teach them to be able to adapt to new situations and create a desire to always want to be learning long after there is a teacher 'marking their work'.

Paul Johnston

Posted on 8/19/14 12:54:40 AM Permalink

I agree completely.

It is interesting that most 21st Century Learning Frameworks focus on skills that are not linked to technology but relate to transferable skills such as collaboration, innovation, problem solving, self regulation and the like. If our students can come away from our class with a toolbox of skills that they can apply to changing contexts then I think we have fulfilled our role.

Donna Dolan

Posted on 8/17/14 10:18:45 PM Permalink

This is a great question. "What skills do students need be successful in the 21st Century?" I ask that question to most business folks I meet. Coding seems to be at the top of the discussion.

I teach many Adobe products at the high school level, and certify my students as well. I still wonder if I'm really preparing my students for the workplace.

Paul Johnston

Posted on 8/18/14 2:54:05 AM Permalink

Check out Microsoft's 21st Century Learning Design Framework for a robust 21st Century approach to helping our students to develop the skills necessary for them to be successful in a range of changing contexts.

It is interesting how coding is now becoming the new language that students are expected to master as part of their passage through formal education. Computational thinking is a great skill to have when solving problems and understanding how computers operate. There are some great resources out there to teach it also : Code academy, Hour of code, Scratch and Blockly to name a few.

Thanks for your comment!

Jody Campbell

Posted on 8/10/14 4:19:14 PM Permalink

We are moving ever so quickly in to a digital and remote access world and I am surprised at the different levels of understanding seen in my classroom. Some students walk in just blow me away by how tech they already know and some walk not being able to perform a simple keyword search or attach a file to a e-mail. In short some schools, those who getting the funding needed to invest in quality programs and faculty are prepared and are addressing your questions of the 21st century and those who see there budgets cut for this reason or that are struggling just to get students to a basic functional level.

Paul Johnston

Posted on 8/13/14 5:15:38 AM Permalink

I also have a major difference in the IT skills of students entering my class. With technology advancing at such a rapid rate and with students learning more about IT at home than at school, I think we will be battling this issue for quite some time. Funding is another factor that I have to contend with. So many factors need to fit into place in order for teachers to present students with 21st Century learning opportunities. No easy task!