Friday, November 19, 2010

Chapter 6 21st Century Learning and Teaching

Chapter 6 is all about two of the most powerful learning tools: questions and problems. Throughout time, people have been carefully constructing questions about our natural world and using imagination to search for solutions to these questions. The invention of many of the things we use today started as a simple question. Two areas that thrive on gaining new knowledge and creating new ways of living are science and engineering. “Scientists approach the world with questions… Engineers and inventors on the other hand are motivated by challenging problems… Scientists use experiments to test an explanation or hypothesis, and engineers devise prototypes or create new designs to see how well their solution words.” (Thrilling & Fadel, 2009) Humans are naturally motivated by questions and problems. Even the youngest of students can be heard asking why? Finding the solution to our how and why questions helps to engage our 21st Century skills. The learning based method on the power of question is called inquiry-based learning and has been proven to engage and sustain learning and deepen understanding.

Chapter 7 Powerful Learning

The 21st Century project learning has four project phases: define, plan, do, and review. Define is the step where the question, problem, issue, or challenge is brought about to initiate the learning process. Planning is done by the group completing the project and by the teacher who is facilitating the learning groups. After the planning is done comes the doing. This is where the project is where the learning activities are completed and the results tabulated. The final stage is review where the results are shared with others and feedback is received. What is learned can often be applied to another project or sometimes to a new iteration of the same project. Both the teachers and students work together as a team through the process.

Many other items come into place while the project is being completed. The project should have ongoing assessments occurring on student learning. Pace and timing need to be incorporated to make sure the outcomes are completed on time. The team needs to have balance between the group and how much control the teacher has on the project. The project is successful when students completed most of the researching, planning, analyzing, collaborating, experimenting, evaluating, and communicating and gained a deeper understanding of science content through the hands on work and questioning that arose.

Creativity and innovation will be essential for 21st Century skills and learning. A company called IDEO took the four project phases even further. We must define a real world problem. Plan to understand the users and how real people in real life situations deal with the problem. Brainstorm techniques and designs to solve the problem and look at the positive and negative outcomes of each idea. Finally, review and refine a series of prototypes enhancing the benefits and making the designs better for the future.

Many groups have completed research to show the project learning model does work. Collaborative small-group learning has shown benefits such as better confidence, higher motivation levels, improved social interactions, and improved feeling toward other students. Also, individuals who work in groups tend to score higher on individual assessments. Project learning methods and problem-based learning showed that even though factual learning was equal to or better than traditional classroom teaching methods that students made significantly greater gains in 21st century skills. Design-based learning showed that students understood the topics better. With all the research available about how these learning models work, why are teachers not using more of these models in their classrooms?

With all things there are always obstacles. Making collaborative teams work well requires a careful selection of team members to ensure they are compatible and defining the rules to support collaboration. The activity must be one in such the team will benefit from the differing viewpoints and experiences of each team member and use discussion strategies to support deeper learning for all team members. “However, research also shows that these methods will require changes in curriculum, instruction, assessment practices, the professional development of teachers, and the learning environments that support 21st century learning.” (Trilling & Fadel, 2009)

Will teachers be willing to make the changes necessary to incorporate these models? What will districts have to do to ensure teachers are using these models to help make students not only knowledgeable about content standards but also the 21st century skills?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Super Summary-Miss Kristy-Part 3

Section 3 covered two chapters.
Chapter 4 is titled Digital Literacy Skills and Chapter 5 is titled Career and Life Skills.
Chapter 4-Let me first say that on pages 62-64, there is a great fable about an unlucky kingdom. It is great translation of the Knowledge Age. Throughout the rest of Chapter 4, the book relates to the 21st Century Knowledge and Skills Rainbow. It briefly describes Information Literacy, Media Literacy, and Information and Communication Technology Literacy (ICT).
Information Literacy-access information efficiently and effectively and also evaluate information critically and competently
Media Literacy-analyze media and create media products
ICT Literacy- apply technology effectively
The three skills are continually evolving. The skills power the learning of many other skills in the rainbow of Learning.
Chapter 5 -Work-Ready and Prepared for Life- This chapter discusses the components most often reviewed on employee evaluations
. 1. Flexibility and Adapdability- adapt to change and be flexible
2. Initiative and Self-Direction- manage golas and time, work indepently, be self-directed learners
3. Social and Cross-Cultural Interaction- interact effectively with others and work effectively in diverse teams
4. Productivity and Accountablity- manage projects and produce results
5. Leadership and Responsibility- guide and lead others and be responsible to others
The skills in Chapter 5 are essential to both work and learning in the 21st Century. Those these skills have been around for a long time, they take on a new meaning in the digital age.


Chapter 2 is titled: The Perfect Learning Storm and discusses that there are four converging forces to push us toward 21st century learning. These four forces: knowledge work, thinking tools, digital lifestyles, and learning research are all equally important and all play a major role in the life of a 21st century learner.

All of these tools are needed in order for the creation of a successful 21st century learner. As our world has developed, we have become increasingly dependent on technology as well as collaboration. This is important to recognize because these are the types of materials that should be used in lesson planning for students.
Knowledge work is identified as work that is, “done collaboratively in teams, with team members often spread across multiple locations, using a digital zoo of devices and services to coordinate their project work,” (Trilling and Fadel, 24) Basically, people need to know how to use different technologies and use them well for success in the 21st century knowledge economy.
Thinking tools are more essential that memorizing any facts. Students need to understand the fundamentals, and need to be aware that what the skills to solve problems are going to be more necessary than memorizing basic facts, they need to know that problem solving is something that will carry on, not just in elementary school, but throughout their lives.
“Net geners” or “digital natives” are people who have grown up completely submersed in technology, and these people are going to know how to navigate and use different technologies within seconds of being introduced to them. Because of this constant exposure to technologies, net geners are going to need different things and have different expectations than past students. There will be more willingness to engage in technological activities, but also, there is no “one –size fits all factory model” that these students will help these students be successful.
Learning research is allowing for five different findings that as a whole create the science of learning.
Authentic learning is allowing for the students to understand something from a real world simulation, and problem solve for what would actually need to happen for the assignment to be successful. The students are still assessed on standards but the focus is on the real world application of the activity.
Mental model building allows for both hands-on and on-screen activities to allow the students to take what they know and build onto that knowledge. This provides the availability to reflect on the model making in both forms.
Internal motivation needs to allow the students to emotionally connect to what is being assigned as work. Typically when students are internally motivated, they are willing to do the work, but if the students have a deeper, emotional connection to the work they are doing, this will more likely resonate with the student better.
Multiple Intelligences are important to remember when creating lessons so that students with different intelligences are being approached in different ways. Basically, this allows for differentiation of a lesson, so students can have a more personalized lesson.
Social learning is collaborative learning. Students need to interact with other students to be connected with others and value other peoples’ opinions and learn that they are a community of learners.
There are still different forces that are resisting this change and need to be addressed before anything will be completely effective. Students and teachers both need to understand that there is a balance that needs to be sought after. Students need to learn skills but also content, everything needs to be balanced. The biggest challenge is educating the whole student so they have a chance to collectively solve problems and work together.
Chapter 3 is titled “Learning and Innovation Skills” and this discusses how students need to learn to create together. “Critical thinking and problem solving are considered by many to be the new basics of 21st century learning,” (Trilling and Fadel, 50). These basics, along with Bloom’s Taxonomy, particularly the revised version, when combined are going to improve the way that students learn and are assessed, as well as their outcome results. Students will learn the skills to analyze factors that are more complex than ever before, and work to solve the problem that is set in front of them.
Through communication and collaboration students are going to develop deeper relationships with the material they are working on as well as the people they are working with. They are going to work to promote learning as a group, not just an individual. Students are going to use their creativity and knowledge to problem solve as well. Students need to know that creativity and imagination are not only acceptable to tap into but are encouraged.
The chapter ends with this idea, “One of the most effective ways to develop creative skills is through design challenge projects in which students must invent solutions to real world problems,” (Trilling and Fradel, 58). These are the lessons that are going to help students have a wider base for their education future, as well as their career life after.