Thursday, December 30, 2010

Book Reflection

Reading this book has me thinking about where education is heading and what changes we will need to make as educators. Technology is becoming more and more a part of our children's lives. Schools need to keep up with those advances to keep students interested and challenged. We are preparing our students for jobs not yet created! Work is becoming less routine and manual, and more abstract, knowledge-based and design oriented. Our education system is going to need to step up to the plate if we are going to be successful in producing graduates with 21st Century skills. Students need more real world problem solving and more authentic learning experiences to make learning last and more useful. Many teachers that have been in education for some time have not been trained to teach like this. We need to educate ourselves by taking classes and communicating and collaborating with other educators. Professional development should be a top priority of administrators. This will ensure a transition from 20th Century schools to 21st Century schools and true success for our students and their future.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Reflection 21st Century Skills

21st Century Skills
21st century skills are the technology or digital skills needed to survive in the 21st century. After reading the book I discovered this may be different for each individual according to your current age if you are a elementary student you are a “digital native” or “net gener” if you are my age you are a “digital immigrant” according to the book (p. 27). I discovered one thing as a “digital immigrant” I love technology and what it can do for my students. As far as students are concerned they are digital natives who need to learn the technology tools and resources in order to survive and thrive in the 21st century. According to the book (p. 142) technology provides great benefits for students especially when it is integrated seamlessly with rich learning content. I can reflect on this concept in my own classroom where I integrate technology in my reading and math blocks daily (and currently I am experimenting in science daily). Do I feel that the students benefit? Yes!
Another important concept of 21st learning skills is the concept of lifelong learning. I think that this quote expresses the need for this “Since we live in an age of innovation, a practical education must prepare a person for work that does not yet exist and cannot yet be clearly defined.” – Peter Drucker (p.151). Because of the constant changing technology and the new technology tools available as a teacher I must prepare my students to be cooperative, problem solving, and strong in leadership skills. I want them to be able to develop the skills to be dependent, independent, and interdependent individuals. They must also be able to be global citizens. I feel the first steps toward this are to embrace opportunities in the classroom to collaborate on projects with students around the globe. I feel these are the keys to the students in becoming members of a 21st century learning community.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Voki for quote

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Chapter 8 Retooling Schooling

The focus of this chapter is creating a 21st century school system. First in our global movement toward a 21st century education system we need to work in a Partnership for 21st Century Skills. These include vision, coordination, official policy, leadership, learning technology, and teacher learning (p. 121). Vision needs to be a common and well-articulated vision that is shared among government officials, educators, parents, students, and the business community (p.122). Coordinated changes need to happen in the educational support systems like curriculum and instruction, standards, assessments, learning environments, and professional development (p. 122). All of them need to work together toward a common goal for the 21st century student. An official policy that will be governed by an education authority. Leadership in a 21st century education will require a technology based communication that works efficiently. Learning technology is very important with Internet access in every classroom that allows implementation of handheld devices, laptops, and other learning technologies (p. 124). Teacher learning or professional development will be one of the most important aspects of the 21st century retooling of schools.

Basically the retooling or schools or the structuring of five important support systems that need to work together efficiently in schools consist of: 1. Standards 2. Assessments 3. Curriculum and instruction 4. Professional Development and 5. Learning environments (p. 119). In the 21st century standards will emphasize "what students should be able to do with this content". Assessments that are suggested for the 21st century include: Extended student essays, Observation rubrics on a teacher's handheld device, Online instant polls, quizzes, voting, and blog commentaries, Progress tracking on solving online simulation challenges and design problems, Portfolio evaluations on project work, Expert evaluations on ongoing internship and service work in the community (p. 134). I was drawn to this quote by Lauren and Daniel Resnick, "The problem is not that teachers teach to the test, but that teachers need tests worth teaching to" (p. 130). Hopefully in the 21st century we can move away from "teaching to the test".

It is suggested in the book that in the 21st century for curriculum and instruction that as teachers we move away from direct instruction to more inquiry based learning. It is suggested that 50% of instruction time in inquiry, design, and collaborative project learning and 50% for direct and traditional instruction (p. 135).

Teachers professional development in the 21st century will consist of training teachers to use technology and incorporate inquiry and collaborative projects in instruction in the classroom every day. Learning environments will support technology space and environments. It will also provide space for project work, group presentations, and labs for experiments (p. 140).

The final aspect of the chapter was the holistic (rainbow) model that puts the learner in the center of a larger community of learning support. This rainbow models depicts the student in the center with the next ring being peers, teachers, experts, and parents, followed by the whole learning environment that includes technologies, classroom, home, and community resource. The outer 2 rings consist of learning communities and learning societies. This would include the students national and international services that support the student's learning (p. 148). After reading this chapter I realize that we are definitely moving toward a more global learning community.