21st Century ready students: start with the teacher

Here are two recent presentations by US educator Brad Flicklinger on 21st Century learning that you should find inspiring (you’ll need QuickTime to view them):

21st Century skills part 1. 

 21st c skills 1

The “Spot the skills” slide is especially relevant – six skills that demonstrate 21st Century learning:

  1. Creativity and innovation
  2. Research and information fluency
  3. Communication and collaboration
  4. Critical thinking, problem solving and decision making
  5. Digital citizenship
  6. Technology operations and concepts

Also “spot the skills” for teachers:

  1. Facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity
  2. Design and develop digital -age learning experiences and assessments
  3. Model digital-age work and learning
  4. Promote and model digital citizenship and responsibility
  5. Engage in professional growth and leadership

Watch the video to find the answer to the question “How do we know when someone has 21st century skills?”

Brad goes on to discuss how we can embed such skills into the curriculum and how can we ensure all teachers are skilled up. He also addresses the issues many teachers have with technology:

  • lack of time
  • lack of equipment
  • lack of confidence

as well as the teachers who are ‘blockers’.

21st Century skills part 2

21st c skills 2

In this video, Brad suggests that teachers complete an online, self-paced Web 2.0 course such as the SLAV Web 2.0 Learning with the Web or the Syba Signs Web 2.0 course. However, Brad suggests that teachers could take up to a year to complete the course so that the course is truly self-paced and there is less pressure on the teacher.

In the course that Brad uses as an example, teachers are then challenged by their school Principals to produce a curriculum unit (or artefact) that embeds Web 2.0 into it, therefore using, refining and sharing their newly acquired skills. This is an excellent idea as it promotes sharing and learning as well as getting teachers comfortable with their skills and seeing how they can be used directly in the curriculum. So steps to doing this are:

  1. Pick an ‘artefact’ such as a podcast that shows 21st Century skills.
  2. Embed these skills into the curriculum using rubrics so students and teachers know what to expect.
  3. Use online support such as Atomic learning (be aware that they are sponsors of Brad).
  4. Reward teachers who support 21st Century learning (for example, Principals give teachers digital cameras etc. to use in curriculum development. Brad suggests that funds could be sourced from Regions/Districts.)
  5. Principals should be leading the way. If teachers are expected to have blogs, then the Principal should have a blog and be reading the teachers’ blogs.

So if we want 21st Century students, we need to start with the teacher. Or if you listened to Brad’s presentations, start with the Principal. Or if you really listened, start with the Region/District. The question is, can we do this? Can we get our Regions to make this happen? Maybe it is already happening?

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