Essential Question: How have you , and will you continue to “Learn the 21st Century” and allow your students this experience in your classroom?
The first thought that came to my mind this week related to the end of my post last week. "Teachers are the last adults in the industrialized world to use computers" (Martinez & Stager, 2013). With this in mind teachers who want to incorporate new ideas or devices become the "pioneers." They are the first to try these things and often are criticized for it. These educators are not of the norm and this can be hard and lonely for those educators to endure.
Another big setback is that many educators did not grow up with the technology that is available today. This means they must learn a whole new set of skills. "It is impossible to teach 21st century learners if you have not learned this century" (Martinez & Stager, 2013). So my next thought became what exactly defines a 21st century teacher? Luckily there are many list but I really like one written by Palmer (2015) on Edutopia. She came up with 15 characteristics of a 21st century teacher.
I used Twitter chat in a class last fall. I found that the class that used Twitter increased their test scores more than the class from the previous year. However, this was a small set of data and would need more testing to confirm but it is encouraging.
PBL is something that I try when I can. It is such a challenge because I usually have 6 different classes I teach everyday. I don't have time to develop and prepare lessons like this for each class. This year scheduling is different and I won't be preparing for as many classes. My goal is to work with one class (Earth Science) and shift my teaching methods to student centered. PBL is at the top for one of the ways I could do this. Encouraging research has shown that teachers who use PBL report that students in their classes are experiencing more content that requires the student to use critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and communication. (Boss, 2012) How can they do all of this? Boss (2012) indicates some common learning experiences in a PBL classroom:
Coding is something that I am only beginning to dabble in. It is not something I feel like I could incorporate in my classroom without understanding at a basic level. Because, to be honest, I don't really understand how it works and would have no idea where it would fit in my science curriculum. Rushkoff (2012) suggests codeacademy to learn some basics. I have looked at their stuff and now I will have to look at it more. I do have to pick another elective class to teach and maybe I could try out coding. I see that codeacademy has the ability to set up a classroom. Rushkoff (2012) argues that coding is so important because "code literate kids stop accepting the applications and websites they use at face value, and begin to engage critically and purposefully with them instead." He says that "when we acquired language, we didn't just learn how to listen, but also how to speak. When we acquired text, we didn't just learn how to read, but also how to write. Now that we have computers, we are learning to use them but not how to program them." If we know the basics of code we can start to interact more and use the internet to fit our needs. We don't have to accept what is given to us.
Overall I think 21st century learning is about changing how we view education. We have to try new things. We also have to be willing to let students teach us a thing or two as well. If students and teachers enter into a partnership where both parties share responsibility I think students will be more likely to feel empowered to learn at a deeper level.
Boss, S. (2012, May 2). How Project-Based Learning Builds 21st-Century Skills. Retrieved July 28, 2016, from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/21st-century-skills-pbl-suzie-boss
Martinez, S. L., & Stager, G. (2013). Invent to learn: Making, tinkering, and engineering in the classroom [Kindle].
Palmer, T. (2015, June 20). 15 Characteristics of a 21st-Century Teacher. Retrieved July 28, 2016, from http://www.edutopia.org/discussion/15-characteristics-21st-century-teacher
Rushkoff, D. (2012, November 13). Code Literacy: A 21st-Century Requirement. Retrieved July 28, 2016, from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/code-literacy-21st-century-requirement-douglas-rushkoff