Reading Assignment 3

I’m posting this early to give you a chance to organize and plan. Your reflection, posted here as a comment, is due by Sept 8 (Sun) and unless otherwise stated all future readings will be due on Sundays as well. Please get in the habit of checking in to follow-up with what your peers have posted as well.

This is another web reading that I believe gives a good overview of what really comprises 21st century teaching and learning. Be sure to follow and read some of the links as well.

http://www.21stcenturyschools.com/what_is_21st_century_education.htm

Because many of you are interested in working with young children, as you read consider how classrooms and teaching may be changing or need to change to meet the needs of these younger children. Technology can and will play a role, but what else do see as being crucial?

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22 thoughts on “Reading Assignment 3

  1. I really enjoyed reading the website called, What is 21st Century Education. After I read this website, as well as following and reading some of the links that were within the website, I feel more knowledgable about what is all involved in the 21st century. It amazes me how common technology is becoming in schools. As I was reading the website, it talked about how some schools are providing Ipads or laptops for every student. I think that is great because there are some students who don’t have computer devices at home and now days there are so many features and activities on Ipads or any electronic devices that can be beneficial for everyone. The main point that I got from reading this website is that teachers need to have activities and projects that are fun and engaging for students. If a teacher is teaching something by just lecturing, then the students aren’t going to want to learn it and aren’t going to be engaged. The curriculum needs to be connected to the students interests, experiences, and talents in the real world and it needs to be presented in a way where the students can engage and do hands on activities. How the content is addressed should make students eager to learn. Teachers also need to be flexible and allow time in their planning, just in case the students are “deeply involved” in the activity that they are doing and want additional time to do it. The website also gave several slideshows on curriculum links about different real world events. I thought those were very interesting to look at. I believe that students are always learning, even after the bell rings, so, I think that after school programs should be beneficial and fun for students. There are some after school programs that I have observed and I feel like the people working at them think it is just a time to babysit the students. I think that after school programs should be a time for students to continue learning and do projects/ activities that would be beneficial for their learning. In order to use and teach technology with students, I think it is all up to the teaches. If the teachers are unfamiliar with a certain tool or activity that deals with technology then they aren’t going to feel comfortable teaching the students about it. I think it is our job as teachers to learn as much information is order to teach it in a manner where students will understand.

    • While laptops and tablets can be used in very transforming ways, I think we need to be careful about jumping on the bandwagon and spending money without a plan in place for how they will be used or how to train teachers. I’ve visited schools in the area with 1-1 laptop projects and all of them (I’ve seen 3 or 4 schools so far) fail miserably in their approach. For the most part, students simply use a computer to compete worksheet type assignments often in isolation. Not at all transforming. Of course, we are at a time of transition so perhaps this is a necessary phase as we move forward. I only hope we don’t get stuck in bad habits and never move forward.

    • I agree with a lot that you had to say however, I am still not on the ‘bandwagon’ of thinking every student needs their own computer/laptop/iPad. I do not understand how just having a computer lab is not efficient enough. Maybe even have one to three computers per classroom, but not per child. I don’t know if anyone can ever fully change my mind on that, because it’s not necessary and our money could go toward field trips or something else. I really enjoyed the authors knew definitions for teacher, learning and students. I really enjoyed that fact that it didn’t mention ONLY technology. I am just stubborn and really enjoy having kids get away from the computers and getting them to go outside and learn through real life situations.

  2. The classrooms and teaching of the 21st century are changing drastically from what they have been in the 20th century. The 21st century of education is focused on being flexible, creative, challenging. and complex. This is very important for children to have instead of just sitting down in class listening to your teacher and completing a worksheet. The new changes in education are allowing students to think as individuals and bring out their creative side. Students will have their own opportunities to think and challenge themselves into learning. After I read this article, I found it very interesting how the definitions of schools, teachers, and learning changed as we move into the 21st century. School changed from a building to a nerve center. They now connect teachers, students, and the community to the wealth of knowledge that exists in the world. Teach changed from a primary role as a dispenser of information into an orchestrator of learning. this will help students turn information into knowledge and then turn that knowledge into wisdom. A learner use to be thought of as a young student who went to school, spent time in courses, which led them to graduate. That sounds boring and not very useful for their future. A learner in the 21st century is though of to maintain interest and prepare them for life in the real world. We must instill curiosity which is very important to lifelong learning. Learners are now being taught to be more resourceful so they will continue to learn outside the normal school day. These definitions alone show how much schools are changing. Students are now being helped on how to succeed in life. Technology is here to help guide 21st century learners into being creative and thinking outside of the box. They have all the resources in the world and can now be challenged into finding them on their own and succeeding in their life. Schools in the 21st century are changing but this change is good and will only keep improving I believe.

  3. This reading actually caught my attention first by saying that Kindergarteners will retire in the year 2067. I know that really has nothing to do with technology, but actually reading that shocks me! After reading this article on 21st century learners, I can’t really decide how I feel about all the technology children are growing up with. I know it is inevitable and technology is on the rise more and more but it amazes me that children are spending about 6 hours a day using technology. I do think technology in schools is a good thing, but it is also frightening that it is consuming the lives of children and that’s all they do. The article said it is mostly for entertainment and so the children are not actually media literate. I think as teachers in this digital era, it is our goal to switch media use from entertainment purposes only, to more media literate in terms of “researching, analyzing, synthesizing, critiquing, evaluating and creating new knowledge.”
    The difference between a 20th century and a 21st century learner is huge. Even just the focus of the learning- memorization vs what they know, can do and what they are like after all details are forgotten. 21st learners are all about higher level thinking skills and using technology and media to be more creative.
    I think the most crucial thing for young learners is for them to learn media and technology as a educational purpose rather than as much of an entertainment purpose. I also think learning how to embrace all of the technology around us and bring some of it into the classroom is crucial. I think it will benefit classrooms, but only if there is a valid plan on how it will be used.

    • There was a chart in the article that compared 20th cetury learning to 21st century learning, where 20th century learning was text book based, and 21st century learning was research based; I believe that the technology these children have some acess to will help shape that. I do agree with your concern about the entertainment aspect of technology, and it should shift more towards an inqury based use. This would tie into some epidemics that are relevant to the ammount of time spent using technology, but for this article they are irrelevant. Teachers need to be the guide to a lifestyle enhanced by technology, but the fact that a lot of children take care of themselves is a determining factor for the misuse of technolgy. There needs to be some sort of shift to where technolgy can be shown to the children in entertaining, yet innovative ways.

      • One key role teachers will play when designing lessons is to provide opportunities for students to use tech in creative and productive ways. Young people usually have few opportunities to use tech for much beyond entertainment and low-level educational uses (writing papers). It is through good 21st century teaching that students will see the broader benefits of technology.

  4. I like how this website calls the students “digital natives” and the educators “digital immigrants”. Children today have grown up surrounded by technology. Technology keeps changing everyday and with the knowledge that children have about technology helps them adapt to these everyday changes. However, my fear of children becoming so reliant on technology is that they are going to forget or won’t even learn how to do things without technology. Younger children won’t be able to write with a pencil and paper, they will rely on typing or computer games to teach them. And older children or even adults won’t know what to do if a computer crashes at work.

    I love the definitions this website gives of school, teacher, and learner. As I work to become a teacher this is what I strive for. I want my students to want to come to school everyday. I want them to strive to learn more everyday and go home and want to learn even more. I do not want to just give information and have them give it back to me. I want the information I give them to stick in their brains for many years to come. And I believe this is possible with interactive activities and is very well done with technology. Since kids today are so wrapped up in technology I think it draws their attention better than other ways of learning.

  5. I think is article had valid points about teaching technology to the younger generations at a younger age than when most of us started learning about it. I know that most schools in the future depending on funding will have their students using tablets and computers to teach their students and have them do homework on them, rather than them using paper. I have also noticed that with my niece that is only eight she uses more technology than i did at her age, and fits in the the students that multitask between different technology tools.

  6. I thought the article pointed out some important points about education today. I think that it was very clear that 21st century learning is not only technology; such as computers labs and television. I think that it is neat to have class outside and engage the students. We can’t bash the old school system too much. We are in this weird time period where children wanted to make their own decisions because we wanted them to have that “freedom” and I feel confident in saying our country is facing some of the biggest problems ever. The militant way of teaching may have been agonizing and I don’t agree with it completely, but I guarantee 20 years ago they would not have canceled school because it was “too hot”, like they are doing today. I did find myself questioning some of the points made. I do not think that our first priority in education should be making sure every child has a computer at home and has constant access to technology. We have to be realistic; not every child has a place to live or a family that would not take their computer and sell it. There are still children in America that do not have food to eat and only get one pair of shoes a year. Technology is important, but survival comes before ensuring your child has a computer. Not only that but also, some schools in the inner city don’t have front doors. How do we solve that problem? Or some children just don’t get the opportunity because they have low test scores, therefore they don’t get funding therefore they don’t have a front door and nice computers are problem only a figment of the imagination. We have a lot of problems to fix. The politics need to be taken out of the education process because most people have no clue what is the best things for the children and what really goes on when children learn.

    • There will always be disparity. It’s practically a requirement for a capitalist society. Yes, the political and competitive nature of education and funding is a problem, but I think it’s easy to get sidetracked by these larger societal issues which are beyond the reach of an average classroom teacher. I think the real issue for teachers today is what are you going to do for the students in your class? How will you empower them to be successful? Technology is not the sole answer. It’s simply a piece of the puzzle. I think a good 21st century teacher could do more for class of low income students with limited access to tech than a mediocre teacher in a high tech school. It’s not the tech it’s the teaching.

  7. I don’t know if I like technology taking over education. I am more of hands on person. I like activities where students are working with their hands, being involve with other students working face to face. I feel like students learn better when they are working with their hands, and visually seeing what they are working on. On the other hand, I feel like the article is talking about there will be a better future for education, pretty much saying school will turn into Utopia. Turning schools into a place where there is no bullying and there will be peace, there will be no negative things about school. I am always up for new things, and what caught my attention is about ePals. I always wanted to incorporate different cultures into education. Have students get to know new cultures and learn about their values. I think culture plays a huge role in education. For ePals I like that student and teachers will be able to communicate with anybody in the world to work on projects and other stuff. It will be a huge step for schools around the world, to be able to get to know new people from different countries, and for teachers to teach different cultures from their home without leaving their home.

    • We live in a technology enabled world and there isn’t much we can do about that. It will become more and more ingrained in our lives.

      That said, there is a tendency for students in this class to see the readings and projects as somehow meaning technology is the focus or “taking over”. Hopefully you have been hearing me say over and over that tech is NOT the focus. Far from it. The focus in student-centered, inquiry-based learning that allows students to use technology as a tool to greater learning and understanding when it’s needed or able to add value. Plenty of good learning will continue to happen with little to no technology or with technology that has become transparent (we use it without thinking about it).

  8. I really enjoyed reading ths article, it really opened my eyes to what 21st century learning is and why it’s so important, not just to teach but to learn. First thought when talking about 21st century learning is it makes things easier, technology in today’s society makes life much easier, but looking deeper, and after reading this article it’s not just easy, it’s going to prepare our students for a world that is full if technology, and if we don’t take the time and effort to teach with technology our students are going to fall behind in the real world. One thing I really liked in this article was when he said issues of today “lead to a need for students to be able to communicate, function and create change personally, socially, economically, and politically on local, national and global levels” and our jobs as teachers is to get them the point that they can do that. Another thing I thought was neat was that schools Are providing students with access to technology with iPads, computers etc. this is allowing a “new concept of knowledge”. Over all this article was eye opening to how important technology already is and is soon to become.

    • I would argue that 21st century learning is actually harder. It takes a good deal more brain power to critically examine real-world issues and engage in problem-based learning than it does to read chapters and answer the questions or fill out worksheets, etc. Technology does make it easier to engage in these harder problems by speeding up access but that only helps make this type of learning possible. What tech often makes easier is “get and spit” type work where students can easily look up and copy/paste answers but that not 21st century learning.

  9. I think that this article really did a great job explaining not only what it takes to teach in a 21st century but also what it takes to learn. Technology is not making it easier to learn but rather is allowing student to learn in a different way. From Kindergarten up students are using tech to go deeper with the topics that they are studying. we are making a shift from spoon feeding students information and expecting them to recite it for a test, to giving students the tools that they need to build on their knowledge and make connections that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to make. 21st century education is not just about technology, its about the way that we learn so that students are able to thrive in a world that is now more diverse than ever and yet more accessible. Its about how to communicate and use the tools that are available to come up with new solutions to both old and new problems. We know that we are preparing kids to solve problems that don’t yet exist and so we must teach them how to use available resources and be creative.

  10. While I understand that technology is becoming more common in the classroom, I worry about expenses. It talks about students having laptops and tablets. But I think it’s important to keep in mind that not all students are going to have these; sure, they may be provided at school….but what about at home? Students coming from low income families wont be able to complete tasks or homework at home like all their fellow students. This might discourage these children and drop out rates may increase. We must also think about the schools themselves. While some school may afford this, many may not. And instead of spending money all this fancy technology, why wouldn’t we spend it on helping less fortunate schools and making the lives of all students brighter and better? It might sound as if I hate technology, which is partially true but the truth is that I am just very bad with it, which could be why I’m so bias. I do realize that it is becoming necessary for students to succeed, so I hope to grow and learn with it. Hopefully as I do this, I become more open to the idea and can jump on the “bandwagon”.

    • Keep in mind that 21st century learning is largely collaborative so not all students need technology or at least not at the same time. A shared computer is often enough. Outside of school there are also access points like libraries, community centers and even the schools themselves that can offer extended hours. We are in a transition phase right now. In time, schools will likely spend less money on building tech and instead encourage and support personal tech.

  11. I think it is really important now matter what grade level we want to teach, that we can use technology effectively. I think kids are getting exposed to technology a lot sooner now than they ever have before. I think kids are going to expect that technology aspect when they go to school and if they’re not getting that, school may not be something that they look forward to. And I think kids will understand that schools may be full of technology but I feel like they will almost expect some aspect of that in their classroom. And by having the technology in the classroom early on, we as future teachers can look at how that is affecting the students’ development and if they are learning. Some kids will just love the technology in the classroom because it will help them learn in a way that works for them and then there will be some that it does not work for at all. And even though it will be part of education for the rest of their lives and beyond, and they will have to become more comfortable using it, we will know as teachers that that could be something we really need to sit down with the student and work on them with instead of just telling them to use the technology without any direction or guidance.

  12. While there is no doubt in my mind that as technology advances it will continue to play a significant role in education, it is obvious that the goal of 21st Century learning is not just the institution of faster computers and ipads for every student. The element of 21st Century learning that is most crucial in my opinion is the development of a “culture of inquiry” that was mentioned in the reading. The new tools that technology has given us are worth nothing if we do not know how to utilize them effectively. The new roles that were listed for teachers really highlight this concept. The teacher should become an “orchestrator of learning and help students turn information into knowledge, and knowledge into wisdom.” The goal here is to transform the learning process, and technology is just an asset that we can use to achieve this goal.Granted, even though the experiences we’ve had in class with the transforming model of education were frustrating, I still feel like I really learned something. In college all we do is regurgitate facts and I think that if we are not careful we will get stuck in this monotonous cycle, the cognitive process is so important and as an educator that is something that I hope to be able to instill in my students.

  13. This was an interesting article on how we are emerging from this 19th century teaching to 21st century teaching. They talked about how children these days are digital natives where as the teachers are digital immigrants. Students today have been growing up in a generation of technology, they are learning it from a very young age. This makes it harder for the teachers because they haven’t always had the use of technology in the classroom. Teaching styles will have to change in order for this shift to take place. Instead of handing the students a piece of paper and having them write the different types of clouds and their differences, have them go outside and figure it out by themselves. They will be able to look at the different types and control their own learning. This change makes me excited to become a 21st century teacher.

  14. In reading the website, What is 21st Century Education, and some of the links found on the website I feel that I gained more knowledge on the involvement and meaning of 21st century education. Technology is becoming more necessary as time lapses and we continue to change our ways. I feel that schools providing i-pads, tablets, or laptops for student use are very beneficial. I feel that providing these for each student without a plan as to how to incorporate them into lessons and do more that worksheets, powerpoints, and paper could be very costly at the same time though. Technology is a great thing to add to education and allows children of all ages to learn in a different way. Helping children to learn and thrive within the class room is about how we communicate and use the tools that are available to come up with new solutions to both old and new problems. Teachers, parents, and other adult role models know that we are preparing kids to solve problems that don’t yet exist and so we must teach them how to use available resources, be creative and expand their knowledge to the unknown. Because of this I am excited to become a role model, and teacher within the 21st century model.

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