I recently finished my second course in the Educational Technology program through Marian University. I've posted the video and written rationale that acted as the final assignment for the course. Innovations in Technology (EDT652) provided the research and talking points to many of the pedagogy perspectives I already had. So, while the video and rationale are really just a string of platitudes regarding authentic learning and technology integration, I am finding personal benefit. We all have great ideas about our various interests in life, but rarely are we afforded the opportunity to solidify them.
As the 21st Century Fluency Project puts it, quote, “today we face a new kind of student. Our schools weren’t designed for them. And our teacher weren’t trained to teach them.” The 21st Century Student is not confined to a desk, in a row, with a teacher up front. The 21st Century Student requires a skill set that will prepare them to adapt to the evolving job market.
Providing them with communication, collaboration, and innovation tools is the job of the 21st Century Teacher, who needs to facilitate meaningful learning experiences, allow students to teach each other, and invite collaboration with community field experts. Included in my video are images of community experts acting as co-teachers. Further, I work in images of students modeling communication, collaboration, and innovation, many of which are centered around technology, the professional language they have been bred to speak and will need to harness in the job market.
This can be achieved by expanding the class period and learning space into communities that have a vested interest in student achievement. Chen writes in Education Nation that “the [traditional bell] schedule reinforces divisions between subjects...” (2010, p. 198) Teachers are constantly preaching that lessons need to create student engagement, yet we continue to confine our canvas to eight separate periods. Lessons, units, and assessments are stripped of authenticity when restricted to a single content area. To truly create engaging experiences, an authentic context will utilize interdisciplinary projects that allow kids to utilize course material in a real-world setting. Thus, in the video you will see students learning in authentic settings such as a laboratory with a professional as mentor and a community river.
I conclude my video with a what I expect from the 21st Century Student upon graduation. The traditional model of teaching has done a disservice to students by providing them a curriculum void of real world skills. Those who can go onto college are not always prepared with a career pathway. Those who aren’t college bound for the most part aren’t armed with workforce skills up to par with the jobs that are available. These are not new ideas. Since 1920, the The National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) has worked to prepare students for an every changing workforce. There mission is to quote “help students discover their interests and their passions, and empowers them to choose the educational pathway that can lead to success in high school, college and career.” Therefore, my vision of a 21st Century Graduate is one that not only embodies the 21st century skill set, but has a number career pathways in which to utilize those skills. They have an idea of where they want to go and have been provided the tools necessary to get there.
While the pedagogy and learning space might by new, the end product is not. Teachers have wanted college and career ready graduates since the beginning of the profession. The 21st Century Fluency Project recognizes the pervasive “that’s the way we’ve always done it” mentality that will need to be overcome for us to prepare our students. Students will clammer for this change, but they will not instigate it. It is up to teachers, administrators, and communities to send prepared graduates into the evolving world.
21st Century Fluency Project (2012). Understanding the digital generation keynote perspective. Retrieved from http://www.committedsardine.com/handouts.cfm
Chen, Milton (2010). Education nation. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (2012). Retrieved from http://www.careertech.org/who-we-are/