Thursday, April 16, 2009

21st Century Students

What skills are necessary for students in the 21st Century?

I am still wrestling with this question about what skills are necessary for students and our country to be successful in the 21st century. Even though I love technology, the necessary skills will not solely be technology-oriented. In fact, I am learning that traditional skills like reading, writing, arguing, researching and collaborating will play a prominent role. Some of these have been around since the dawn of time and may need updating to be useful in media-rich and globalized world. For now, I research these skills and try to think about their relative importance. Below are a few of the more interesting resources (including this link). In a future post, I will take a more definitive stance on 21st century student skills.

John Monroe, Phd from University of Minnesota has a brief overview

Video of new school in NYC - similar to Science Learning Academy in Philly

Presentation about Important 21st Century Skills

Globalization Requires a Language other than English

Just a Reminder about our Responsibility


Website for 21st Century Student Research (link)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Where will I find the time? - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

Teachers are pressed for time during the school year. Strategic projects are postponed until the summer. On a side note, this is likely why technology integration done during the year shows mixed results and is project-oriented instead transformational. "Finding more time" is only possible through improved efficiency. This means using social networking and web2.0 tools to work smarter and faster. Most importantly, make sure that you have realistic expectations
Just as technology alone will not improve teaching and learning, PLNs are not the "aspirin" solution to our system's professional development headaches. (source)

For example, why search Google for websites? Chances are that there are teacher blogs and related Delicious accounts with high-quality and proven resources. Why search Google for an images? You probably want a collect of images from a website like Flickr. Why just search for images when you probably want full-blown presentation slides with explanations. In this case, venture to Slideshare or Slideboom. Perhaps you want to zoom into a picture in great detail - try gigapan for ultra high-resolution images.

Why settle for weblinks and slides, when you really want a lesson plan and rubic? This is why you invest time creating and pruning your PLN. Ask people in your social network (Twitter, Classroom2.0, etc.) where to find proven lesson plans, projects, and rubrics. Make sure that you have people from different time zones in your PLN. Ask a question before bed and find responses waiting for you in the morning.

Web2.0 tools are great for networking with other teachers and finding great ideas. They have the potential to save lots of time. Once you become comfortable with them building your PLN, then stretch your mind and try a few in your classroom.

Just as technology alone will not improve teaching and learning, PLNs are not the "aspirin" solution to our system's professional development headaches.