1. Jeff Moz

    This is so true, as a technology director I hear way to much about what devices (iPads) the teachers, etc want to purchase and not enough about how they are going to change teaching to they way students are learning in the 21st century. I love the iPad for individual use but I hate purchasing them in bulk… it is just like the PALM, Laptop Carts and Netbooks.. they are all devices that have had an educational surge.. but the teaching never changed.

  2. Some of us though are trying to "practice what we preach"… For example, I teach high school seniors and begin each & every class every year engaging students in discussion why "Classroom A" is not relevant to the world they live in now, and we must strive to be "Classroom B" each & every day! Perhaps surprisingly I have 28 years of teaching experience and am not a "new kid on the block"- but regardless of our level of experience we must prepare kids for the world of TODAY….NOT YESTERDAY!

  3. Jeremy Bell

    I think class A and class B are both limited and incomplete. The image is rather over-simplified to some good vs. evil cliche.

  4. Guest

    Can you read when it's noisy? I can't. Do all spaces have to be geared towards the desires of extroverts? Speaking of discussion, where do we teach respect and manners in discussion–everybody's like the driver of an SUV, trying to bully everybody else into silence/submission, which is not the same as agreement, and some of the most valuable contributions are not heard. I think that many problems have been going on for a long time and that many proposals for change do not even consider them.

  5. colleenkr

    I may be wrong, but I think that there are many teachers who feel the pressure or expectations of '21st century learning' are high. Since many don't know what it looks like, it's uncharted territory. More teachers need to see classrooms that are using these skills in order to understand how to shift their own practice. I know that the idea of being creative and learning with students is very nice and does happen quite often already (being an art teacher, I might be biased), but it's helpful to have an idea of where to go and what to do. How does a teacher change if they don't know what they're working toward?

  6. Great conversation starter – really enjoying the results of your blogging challenge.

    There is no mystery to "21st Century Learning". We live in the 21st century – walk into any classroom and you will see what learning looks like. There is, however, a tension between what is going on in many classrooms and what we believe/hope is useful for student growing up in a globally connected society.

  7. Both is best but you are correct to say that 21st C. Learning can take place in traditional environments but it will look (and likely sound) very differently. I also agree that there is a time for the introverts – those who don't want to talk about their learning right then. There has to be an expectation of respect for learning and sharing styles governed by the expeditions of the value of meta cognitive and creative aspects of learning. 21st C. Learning isn't always loud or messy but it is virtually always supported within a community of learners whose goal is to celebrate each other's learning and passions.

    A problem for teachers is, of course, the double-speak within the system. Teach 21st C. Skills in a constructivist environment BUT make sure you cover all the outcomes/standards and assess them while preparing for the district or gov't tests. When these expectations are impossible to meet, teachers often fall back onto the way they were taught or to strategies that best support the overt gov't mandate – to the detriment of the learning environment and the long-term growth of the students.

  8. mrswestbrooksworld

    Excellent post. It is easy to become excited by the "tools" and forget about the important things. As teachers our job is to continually reflect on our methods and their relevance to our students' lives. Classroom A may not provide the engagement, discussion and connection 21st Century students need. I hated textbooks and that was YEARS ago. Students today have a way of learning and exploring that is new, amazing and connected. It is our job to figure out how to use that to teach.

  9. Deanpawlik

    At first I thought this post would be about the ligustics of what 21st learning is but it in fact gets to the heart of the BYOD "race". It IS about the learning first, not the tools. BYOD in my school allows students to use their devices as the need arises in class. It is not used in all classes nor all lessons. At least not yet. The day may come when it is used as the primary tool but we (being the students and teachers) are not ready for all the applications that are possible. For us, it is a more natural process of seeing the need and filling it with the right tool. When products are dumped into the educational setting artificial uses are create to make sure the devices are being "employed". This is not 21st century learning. Great Post thx.

  10. lmdsuarez

    Great ideas here George. The term 21st century learning drives me batty also. In 1812 did they call it "1812 Learning"? How about just "learning"? The focus always must be on the teaching and learning. The library has to be as Joyce Valenza says more like a kitchen where we construct knowledge than convenience store where we just check out information. Our library at Clayton Heights Secondary is always a buzz with students collaborating and we are working this year to make it to be even more of a "Making Commons" and innovation lab. it's a good space for educators to see educational experiments at work to inspire the important conversation that you point to of our school's vision of learning. You can't cement this vision down in a one off workshop as it is a coninuous year long conversation. Enjoy the rest of your summer!

  11. nothingthatprofound

    Excellent points. I have been reflecting on the irony created by common practices I have observed: it is fashionable to talk about "using technology" in the classroom – it's even a check box on many walk through forms. On the other hand, instructional technology is seen alternately as magical or irrelevant.
    The other rampant practice is the one you describe: the buy-first-and-make-plans-later approach. I (try to) talk about avoiding that pitfall in a recent post on my blog wp.me/p2K4JA-b
    Perhaps your post resonates so deeply with me because I have been wrestling with so many of these issues in my own school. We have started the process of drafting a plan to make (digital) student portfolios a central part of our learning plan, along with student-led conferences. Both feeder elementary schools and the middle school where I work are working together on these plans. With your permission, I would like to use the document linked in your post. If you are open to brain-picking, I would love to know more about what you have learned about this process.

  12. Cameron Godfrey

    As a student that is typing on a laptop that has been provided for me, I beg to differ. Of course, I see your point that it’s distracting, but at the same time, students that choose to actively participate have the technology at their fingertips to research, to type documents, to check teacher’s websites to keep up-to-date if you’ve been absent, and possibly even to dig deeper into the subject than a textbook allows. It’s definitely different, and most certainly tempting to be off-task, but I’ve seen that the benefits outweigh the disadvantages. After all, students who don’t want to actively participate will find a way to distract themselves with or without technology.

    I definitely see your point, though. It’s an interesting topic and a fair argument against technology, but I find it important to discuss the pros as well as the cons.

    • George Couros

      So you know Cameron, I am not against technology in schools. Quite the opposite actually. I really believe that we have to work with our schools to help them understand how we can effectively use these devices as opposed to having people become frustrated and telling kids that they can’t use them at all.

      I really appreciate your comment! Thank you 🙂

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