In order to get off the ground, your first reading assignment is attached below. It consists of 2 chapters covering the idea of 21st century learning and learners. Readings and your reflections will generally be due on Sundays of the week we will discuss them. In this case, it will be due by 8/28. If you are running into issue posting we’ll address those next week.
The concept of 21st century learning has become something of a buzz word in education lately. Most adults grew up prior to the Internet and as we moved into the 21st century computers and the Internet were becoming central to our lives. As such, people tend to think that 21st century skills and learning are somehow related to technology. The fact is they are not really related except that technology allows us to expand on the potential of 21st century skills.
In reality, what we are really talking about is critical thinking, collaboration, problem solving, creativity, innovation, etc. These are the 21st century skills. You might argue that they were 20th century skills too. They were, but they were not greatly integrated into teaching. Life in the 21st century requires a better grasp of these skills if a student is to be competitive in the global economy and competent users of the overload of information that is becoming highly fragmented, widely distributed and increasingly biased. At least one writer has suggested these skills aren’t really 21st century either but Nth Century (read that for context).
In short, learning in the 21st century is about learning how to learn, communicate, and contribute in meaning ways. There is simply way too much info in the world and no way to cram it all in into kids’ heads. Paulo Freire was critical about what he called the banking model of teaching (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paulo_Freire#Banking_model_of_education) in which students just had their heads filled with info. Actually, that wikipedia link does a good job of explaining it. Contrast this with the agricultural model of education. There is an outstanding Ted talk on this (http://www.ted.com/talks/sir_ken_robinson_bring_on_the_revolution.html). Rather than a banking model, Sir Robinson in the video contrasts with an industrial model.
Anyway, here are the chapters. Post your reflection here by 8/28 (Wed).
You do not need to reply to each chapter though you can if you wish. In general, just respond to what really stood out for you as interesting, a challenge, a problem, etc.