Learning in the 21st Century
During workshop day prior to the start of the school year this year, our principal divided us up into groups of 8 ro 9 and had us come up with a list of skills that our students should have by the time they graduate if they would go straight into the workforce or if they would go to college. After each group compiled their list, we shared. Our principal then told us that we would be working with this information in our staff meetings to come.
When I started to read "Learning in the 21st Century", I felt like I was reading the results of our staff meeting again. In fact, when the article organized the information into a chart and narrowed it down to the 3 categories: Information and Communication Skills, Thinking and Problem Solving Skills, and Interpersonal and Self-Directional Skills, I began thinking to myself...."Wow, we won't have to do anything at the next staff meeting because it is already done for us right here!".
As far as the 21st Century tools, I find myself between a rock and a hard spot trying to determine which direction to take and what is best for kids!
Things like school e-mail address for students are not allowed in our district right now, but I struggle with the fact that we are not teaching students how to properly us e-mail and I feel as though that is a disservice to our students, mostly because I know they will us e-mail in their future schooling and in their jobs. I have already heard a colleague complain about the capitalization, grammar, puctuation and salutation in an e-mail from a student this year.
There has been a lot of discussion regarding social networking in the media and I struggle to decide if their is another way of approaching the topic other than to ban the sites from school and then "discuss" with the students the potential dangers associated with these types of sites. I do not think the "discussions" are having much of an impact.
We've recently banned the use of personal listening devices during our school day. The policy was established mostly because of theft, but there is also the ability to "cheat" using these devices and the knowledge regarding the use of these devices is better known by our students than by our staff. Socially, I agree the devices should be eliminated from school, however I do think we should look into the benefits of possibly recording information on the listening device for review at a later date. I do know that if I were to come up with a reasonable lesson involving the positive use of the devices, students could bring them to class. I also struggle to find the time to learn it myself and then teach it. It would be cool to have a "tour of our building" on an ipod, though.