Saturday, September 22, 2012

21st Century: The Learning Challenge

These notes are abbreviated; ebook text highlights and notes by jjfbbennett. I do promote the reading of this book to gain a deeper understanding of 21st C teaching and learning.
21st Century: Rethinking how students learn:
Whilst the following notes are inspired by the book they are not directly associated with the book.

The challenge
  • To equip students with 21st Century skills.
The connection 
  • The link between skills and knowledge are interdependent
  • Effective teaching requires students to learn skills 
  • Life long learning ability requires adaptive learning skills
  • Students need the literacy and numeracy skills to have the fundamental capacities for lifelong learning
Plan for the future
  • Foreseeing what future skills student will may need - is essential. 
  • Teachers need to plan for adaptive learning skills.
  • Teachers cannot focus only on present day skills.
  • The relationship between the educator and learner needs is key to students gaining 21st Century skills
Participatory learning
  • Learning needs to be outcome based. 
  • Students need to actively participate and self direct their learning needs.
  • Students need the skills to collaborate to achieve team based outcomes.
  • Students need to have a post school vision that is skills based
    • to manage work pathways
    • to enable career flexibility
    • identify suitable TAFE options
    • to enter university
    • to contribute as a citizenship in a digital global world. 
Gardner's 5 Minds of the Future.
  • Discipline mind
  • Synthesizing mind
  • Creative mind
  • Respectful mind
  • Ethical mind


Students need to have the following skills to participate in the knowledge industry.
  • communication skills, 
  • problem solving skills, and 
  • critical thinking skills 
Society needs

Society needs a highly skilled and adaptive workforce
Only people who are highly skilled and can manage knowledge will keep up with the needs of a fast changing and technology scientific society.

If you don't know the internet you can't be my teacher, I need someone who knows what I know.

To be highly skilled and a manager of knowledge students need digital literacy skills. It is the platform for developing life long learning skills.

Schools are not engaging sufficient number of students to become adaptive life long learners.
How should schools plan and enable programs of instruction to develop students to gain skills in
  • innovation, 
  • creativity 
  • analysis
  • problem solving
  • knowledge management

Schools play a critical role in a countries ability to maintain living standards.

“I do believe that it is necessary to stress that for most countries today, human
resource development and human capital formation are either extremely
important, absolutely vital, or a matter of life and death. In the case of
Malaysia…we think it is a matter of life or death.”

Abdullah Bin Ahmed Badawi, Prime Minister of Malaysia (Opening Speech of
the 2006 Meeting of the Association of Commonwealth Universities)

"Higher quality school leavers will support higher quality university graduates, which will mean increased skills, greater innovation and most importantly, a boost to national productivity."

It’s becoming clear to me that the crisis in youth unemployment around the world is not just one of the aftershocks of the global economic downturn, but may also have roots in education systems that are not adequately preparing students for 21st-century economies.
by Barbara Ischinger
Director for Education

The Problem

Students need to graduate with
  • an entrepreneurial mindset 
  • capable of responding to change in a positive manner; to 
    • take on leadership roles 
    •  and have effective working interactions.

Teachers needs are not in unison
  • 21C skills are seen as add-ons to what presently is provided in todays schools. 
  • They are add-ons to what described as a crowded curriculum. 
  • Teachers are not moving past the curriculum to engage the students with 21C skills.
  • Teachers are effectively stating I don't know how to do it so I will deny my students the opportunity to do it.
  • Teachers need to be digital literate
Professional development
  • Teachers need to be supported by sustained professional development if more students are to engage in 21C knowledge and skills. 
  • Teachers need to develop skills to manage the crowded curriculum
  • Teachers need to be trained in hands on inquiry based learning methods that employ higher learning skills associated with the Blooms revised digital taxonomy.

Students Need
  • Students need to interact with knowledge in a different way. 
  • It is important that knowledge can be recalled but it is now important that students know how to rapidly access the required knowledge.
  • Students need to re-purpose and use the knowledge in a creative and innovative way. 
Form follows function. If the function of learning is to generate engagement, collaboration and problem solving - the form a classroom takes is what?
So how do you identify a same as same as classroom and one that attempts to meet the needs of the 21st century?

Students designing schools

Rolex Learning Center

Schools should 
  • be a place where teachers and students want to learn
    • be a learning center
  • decentralize the classroom
  • enable the uptake of personalized learning
  • assist the development of life long learning practices.

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