Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I found the book difficult to get into. It was awfully dry and hard read for more than a couple of minutes at a time. It did have its good points though.

It is scary to think we are trying to teach the youth for jobs that may not even exist yet. There are many standards we are trying to teach the students everyday and 21st Century Skills have to be incorporated into these standards. Sometimes the standards lend themselves into the 21st Century Skills while other times it easier to teach a certain standard with traditional methods.

Students need to be involved with critical thinking questions and activities that promote critical thinking and problem solving to help them work toward the completion of assignments.
Teachers need to be aware of the way they are introducing the assignments so that it is promoting students to use critical thinking and problem solving and not just answering questions or completing a task. Assignments also need to help students work collaborate and communicate to complete the end product. Creativity and innovation are also a big part of 21st Century Skills.

Thinking about it just makes things seem so complicated with combining all of these skills into the standards we teach each day. Sometimes I feel instead of teachers spending so much time trying to integrate all the 21st Century Skills into lessons it might be just as important to create lessons that teach the standards to mastery for each and every students.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

reflection post

Reflection post
21st Century Skills- Learning for Life in our Times
At first, I was not into reading this book. I am not sure if I ever got into the mode of wanting to. I am not tuned into technology and not very willing to open up to it. As I read this book, I felt that we are trying to push technology on to our students and that technology was the only way to teach certain skills to our students. Students in the past have learned just fine without technology. So whatever happened to “real” teaching?
Can teachers teach skills without the use of technology? They can because it has been done for many years. The skills have changed but not to where the teachers cannot teach them without the use of technology. The skills focuses on in this book are, learning and innovation skills: critical thinking, problem solving, communication, collaboration, creativity, and innovation; career and life skills: flexibility, adaptability, initiative, self-direction, productivity, accountability, leadership, responsibility, and cross-cultural interaction; Digital literacy skills: information literacy, media literacy, and Information and communication technologies. These skills can be taught through “real” teaching. So why must we use technology?
I understand that technology is here and it is an access to learning but I do not feel that it should be the only way to teach. Technology is here to stay and it will change our lives but I do not see why we must turn over our teaching to it. As a kindergarten teacher, I find it hard to incorporate technology into my classroom. The children are not independent or do they have the basic skills to run the technology. I feel that I can teach the same skills of critical thinking, problem solving, communication, creativity, leadership, accountability and more, in my classroom to my kindergarteners without technology. I do see where technology can be incorporated to teach certain skills. The teacher is the leader and could use the tools of technology to teacher her students.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Reflection Post

21st Century Skills
I would like to first say this book scares me. I guess I am still not okay with the fact that we must start teaching children and preparing them for things that do not yet exist. I do not totally understand this concept.
I am in agreement with the fact that we are being over taken by technology and concepts that go along with it. However, I was born in the technology age and have always had it growing up, but I do not believe for one second, that this is going to take over our world. I think about how many families do not even have a regular telephone and do not have electricity at all, some without running water, etc. Is technology really going to do what they think??? I, nor will anyone ever know until it actually gets close to happening.
I think we need to take education back to reality. Let's go back to "old fashioned" teaching! As noted on page 14-15 of this book, in Table 1.2, I feel where I live is still in the Agrarian Age. There are a few areas where the Industrial Age is happening. I feel we are very far from the Knowledge Age. This books reminds me of how teaching was in the "old days." When I read books about teachers just starting out in education it is very similar to the concepts in this book, minus all the "silly technologies." I think it would be a much safer world if we went back to the ideas from the Agrarian Age.
Technology is here to stay, and I realize that. However, lets use it to help us learn and not use it as a tool we learn from. I guess I am saying that I am not really sure I am okay with all of this! I live very near the poorest county in SD. Where I live is so very far from anything I learned in this book that it makes me wonder how many other people have never even heard of this concept?? I do not think that this will no ever happen, but I do think it will not happen as fast as they are predicting. Maybe I just don't want it too!
This book was very eye-opening and I did learn about how important it is that I take my class back to reality. I am going to go back to "real" teaching!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Chapter 8: Retooling Schooling pp.117-150

Schools are complex communities which need to be equilaterally brought into 21st century learning. The interactions of student to student, teacher, administrator, board, and parents radiate beyond the walls of the building to include interactions between private businesses, community institutions, media, and the world. Each of these parties has a vested interest in moving the educational institution from the 20th to the 21st century. Shifting the educational system will require paradigm shifts in six areas: vision, coordination, official policy, leadership, learning technology, and teacher learning. Without this coordinated system change "isolated changes may generate enthusiasm for a while, but without the support necessary from the other systems to sustain the change, they almost always become short-lived 'experiments.'" (Trilling & Fadel, 2009)

The first area is sharing a common vision of 21st century skills which will focus educators, government, business, parents, and students as systems are changed. The vision must be built with activities which build consensus about the world in the future, the skills needed for that world, and the design of powerful learning experiences that prepare students for that world. Immediately following the development of a vision will be the development of official policy. Policy should address standards, goals, objectives, assessments, and the accountability as well as funding for planning and implementation. Improving technology resources and teacher training will also be critical aspects to be addressed in developing an official policy. Another critical aspect of change is leadership in 21st century teaching practices. This leadership should consist of educational leaders from the classroom up through those involved in education at the national level. These leaders must work with transparency before everyone who will be affected and benefited by this new system of education. Furthermore a broad spectrum of technology will need to be available to students and teachers to create an effective learning environment. Finally, teachers must be trained and held accountable to design learning projects and develop skills tin coaching and facilitating to support the students in this new learning environment. These elements will build a strong foundation on which to build the future of education.

Remaining at the heart of education is the development of standards which define content and skills necessary for students to succeed in the future. These standards should include all levels of mastery as well as 21st century standards for communicating, thinking, and reasoning, and personal and workplace skills including leadership, ethics, respect, responsibility, and productivity. The standards should be interdisciplinary with a focus on real-world problems. Assessments that support these standards should assess the whole child--cognitively, socially, physically, and emotionally, including the health, safety, engagement, and attitude of the student. These assessments will include essays, teacher observations, instant online quizzes, polls, and voting, blog commentaries, simulations, portfolios, and evaluations of internships, and community service. It is believed that half of instruction should be based on inquiry, design, and collaborative project learning while the other half of instruction could remain traditional. The success of this system change will be dependent on quality teacher professional development giving teachers the skills, knowledge, and support needed to be effective in the 21st century learning environment. This professional development must include engaging teachers in the design and implementation of projects as well as guiding them to develop the ability to manage and assess those projects. Teachers must be encouraged to draw from the expertise of a wider community of educators and should be engaged in modeling, mentoring, coaching, and problem solving with their colleagues. Learning environments must also be transformed to support the changes in the move toward 21st century learning and the culture which it will create withing the school. As this goal is realized learning will reach beyond the walls of the school building into real-world learning environments in the community. Education systems will be challenged to be flexible in the use of time in regard to the school calendar year, too. Mobile technology will allow students to learn anywhere, anytime as teachers, administrators, and parents search for learning opportunities outside of the school.

Ultimately the goal of this new system of learning is to move students from skills to expertise. Student experts will notice patterns and features, have a broad base of content knowledge grounded with deep understanding, can draw from that deep understanding to apply the knowledge to solve problems and do so quickly.