Learning in the 21st Century

Often I find myself in conversations about what 21st Century teaching and learning means to me. I was fortunate enough to be invited to participate in the second #peel21st blog hop (which feels like an accomplishment considering I only started blogging in September!). Welcome if you are joining me from the blog hop! Read on to learn more about what I think 21st Century learning is and don’t forget to check out the other blog posts linked at the bottom of my post!

21st Century Teaching and Learning seems to be one of “the” topics in education lately. Being in a school board who has moved to a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy has been interesting as teachers, administrators, parents and students struggle to find a balance and an understanding about what learning looks like in the 21st Century.

Let me begin by stating (in true Frayer Model style) what I think 21st Century Learning is NOT. It is NOT about every student having a device. It is NOT about carts full of expensive Apple products. It is NOT that every kid can be engaging with a screen all school day long. It is NOT about using apps, document cameras, Twitter feeds, broadcasting equipment…in other words, it is not about the tools.

21st Century Learning is, however, about these things:

Creation. Learning now is more than memorizing and regurgitating what you’ve memorized on a test. Students now are creators who use critical and creative thinking skills to produce a variety of dynamic works that reflect their ideas and opinions. They don’t receive, they create.

Audience. Along with creation, the things that students create (webpages, podcasts, paper slide videos) are not being created for each other and their teacher, as it might have been in the past. Students now can create things that are put out there for the entire world to view and interact with and that is incredible (and motivating for students!)

Collaboration. Students in the 21st Century need to develop and practice their skills in the context of collaboration. The world is now a place of crowd sourcing, of working together without being in the same building, city or even country, of using the collective wisdom of many to solve problems and create new things. This is the way of the world and will only grow more common;it is crucial our students develop this skill.

Equity. In the 21st Century, learning is now even more equitable because of the phenomenal tools available to students. They no longer need to conform to one way of learning or of communicating their learning. Students who might have gone weeks without contributing to class discussions can now go online and contribute on a discussion board after having time to consider their thoughts, posting at 10:00 at night if that is what works. Or a student who struggles with being concise in a format like PowerPoint can create a Haiku Deck. Or a student with an IEP can choose from a variety of approaches to communicate learning and understanding.

With all those in mind, how could you not want to jump into the confusing, complicated, wonderful, challenging reality of 21st Century Teaching and Learning?

Check out what these incredible educators think about 21st Century Teaching and Learning!

Susan Campo @susancampo
Jim Cash @cashjim
Shivonne Lewis-Young @SLewisYoung
Greg Pearson @vptechnodork
Phil Young @_PhilYoung
James Nunes @jameseliasnunes
Donald Campbell @libramlad
Ken Dwar (Note you will need to log in to your Peel email to view this blog).
Graham Whisen @grahamwhisen
Heather Lye @MsHLye
Debbie Axiak @DebbieAxiak
Alicia Quennell @AliciaQuennell
Jonathan So @MrSoClassroom
Jim Blackwood @jimmyblackwood
Jason Richea @jrichea
Tina Zita @Xna_zita

5 thoughts on “Learning in the 21st Century

  1. I love, love, love that you highlight the fact that it is about the thinking process not about the technology that seems to highlights the process. These things have been around for a long time but are becoming more important now in the 21st century than before. Thanks for the read.

  2. Love the last criteria “equity” I agree that our students do not need to conform to one way of learning in fact I believe they have the right to demand the way they want to learn! Great post!

  3. I don’t know how you do it…you always have a way of saying things that just makes me want to keep reading! Thanks for sharing…I actually ended up reading your previous posts too and could totally relate to so much of what you say (especially “I felt a twinge or two”)

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