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21st Century Schools: Part IV, A New Hope

Browse recordings: livestream.com/educon6

Session Four: Sunday 10:30am–12:00pm
Room 300
John Schinker, Alvin Trusty
Affiliation: Brecksville-Broadview Hts (OH) City Schools, University of Findlay
Conversational Focus/Audience:
All School Levels
Conversation Description:

For years, we've been hearing about the importance of 21st Century Skills. To succeed, our students need to have information literacy, communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity skills. Unlike students of previous generations, they must be able to quickly filter and synthesize information. They have to share ideas in a concise way in many different forms while working together on projects with people of different cultures physically located all over the world. They must be able to find innovative solutions to problems that seem to have no solutions, and employ both creative and analytical skills in their problem solving.

To accomplish this, we must change the way we think about teaching and learning. The incremental changes in technology we've relied on for the last generation without changing the underlying pedagogy aren't sufficient.

Many teachers aren't comfortable with change. Even something as simple as a conversation proposal for Educon can be daunting if you're used to being the one at the front of the room with all of the answers. The loss of control can be very difficult. When added to the pressures of NCLB, standardized testing, and individualized student needs, it's easy to become overwhelmed.

This conversation will provide a brief overview of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills framework along with several examples of how these needs are addressed through actual classroom projects. The session will then focus on the challenges to implementing such programs, and ways to address those challenges.

Conversational Practice:
A focus/framing exercise will center on the problem of facilitating 21st Century Skills projects in typical schools. The challenges will include overcoming policy limitations, scarce resources, a lack of time, and technology needs. Participants will be encouraged to help identify the most critical barriers to successful use of project-based learning to address 21st Century Skills, and they will also help to develop a set of recommendations for overcoming those challenges.


Joel T. said:

How does a teacher deal with students use of technology (communication, collaboration, critical thinking) as a method of cyber bullying and working out student social problems? The virtual environment may separate the understanding of actions/consequences which may result in a lack of feeling remorse. How do we as teachers approach/deal with this issue?

Sun 30 Jan 2011 11:48:32 AM EST