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What is 21C Learning?
Principles for 21st Century Learning
An education vision for the 21st century must embrace teaching and learning practices that help everyone prepare for a lifetime of active learning in a global, high-tech, information-rich society. As such, each of us must:
• Display a desire and capacity for learning anytime, anywhere;
• Achieve proficiency in learning and life skills, such as those identified in Colorado's Vision; and
• Cultivate the capacity to respond to rapid change.
The transformation to 21st century learning requires rethinking what students learn, how they learn it, and the learning environment itself. This means providing curricula that help students acquire skills and knowledge that will enable them to thrive in the 21st century; instructional strategies that include powerful experiences through which learners construct knowledge; and learning communities that involve learners both as individuals and collaborators. Each of these areas is discussed in more detail below.
(How urgent is the need to change our system of education?)
21st Century CurriculaUsing core subject knowledge, 21st century curricula attend to how people learn and get things done. Traditional education focuses on the recall and comprehension of facts and concepts. A nationwide sampling of education standards found that roughly 80 percent of core content standards target factual and conceptual knowledge rather than skills or procedural knowledge.
The Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce notes that state assessments do little to measure the qualities that “may spell the difference between success and failure for the students who will grow up to be the workers of 21st century America.” Such qualities include creativity and innovation, and facility with the use of ideas and abstractions. Also important are self-discipline and organization, ability to manage and complete projects, and the ability work well in teams.
Cultivation of these qualities is left to chance in the current education system. If they are taught, mastery of these skills does not “count” or get measured in any formal sense. States need to adopt standards aimed at mastery of essential skills, habits, and processes.
A growing body of research and practice points the way to teaching and assessing essential skills for the 21st century. For example, the literature on effort-based learning and learnable intelligence offers tremendous insight into the growth mind-set, in which students learn to embrace challenges and persist in the face of setbacks, resulting in higher levels of student achievement. Another beacon is the CES Network of schools, which holds as its first principle “learning to use one’s mind well” and calls on teachers "to provoke students to learn how to learn, and thus to teach themselves." In this model, engaging students in authentic, in-depth learning experiences and coaching them to master content replaces covering broad content areas superficially.
(What skills and knowledge do you consider most important in the 21st century?)
21st Century Instructional StrategiesResearch on how people learn demonstrates that the learner needs meaning and context — tangible connections between the learning task or goal and the learner’s existing patterns of experience or knowledge. These connections occur when learning is embedded in circumstances or purposes that feel intrinsically important to each learner. Strategies for meaningful learning experiences include:
• Providing a structured inquiry process in which students construct new knowledge through the exploration of ideas, information, and phenomena;
• Emphasizing “real” work that has explicit and direct meaning for the learner (through contexts or purposes that feel personally important);
• Using digital tools and media to empower each person’s learning by supporting knowledge production, providing authentic audiences, linking multiple communities, and facilitating equity;
• Incorporating assessments that authentically report on what students know and can do, and which are used primarily to guide instructional and learning decisions rather than to evaluate learners.
Examples of such learning strategies include both recent innovations (e.g., Journey North , and Urban Plan , and Fremont Business Academy ) and longstanding practices (e.g., school plays, newspapers, and athletics). We know how to create powerful learning; we just need to align it with skills-focused curricula and implement it within 21st century learning communities.
(What instructional strategies do you think would best promote 21st century learning?)
21st Century Learning Communities
Perhaps the most challenging and essential element of educational transformation relates to organizational culture: thinking of schools as learning communities. The deeply embedded Industrial Age culture of schooling relies on hierarchical authority, teachers producing knowledge that students consume, and rigidly maintained patterns and structures. “Built on the factory model,” observes Alvin Toffler, schools provide “a ‘covert curriculum’…of three courses: one in punctuality, one in obedience, and one in rote, repetitive work.”
In marked contrast, learning communities are dynamic living systems identified by the premise that all members of the community are engaged in the lifelong work of constructing knowledge. The community promotes abundant, multi-directional flows of information, the fundamental source of system energy. The community assures equity and embraces diversity, and its rich interconnection of relationships makes each individual as well as the overall community more vibrant and resilient.
To cultivate true learning communities, each school, district and agency must conceive anew how it undertakes the enterprise of learning. It will require questioning long-held notions, and brushing aside how-we’ve-always-done-it mind-sets. Each community will create its own learner-centered culture that seeks to help students find their way to success.
(What would it take to build a community in which every member is a learner?)
Latest page update: made by lesliekm
, Dec 17 2009, 12:41 PM EST
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|Started By||Thread Subject||Replies||Last Post|
|mbr21c||What does quality 21st Century school governance look like?||1||May 26 2010, 6:32 AM EDT by brigitte33|
Thread started: Oct 14 2008, 12:12 PM EDT Watch
The What is 21C Learning states, "The community assures equity and embraces diversity, and its rich interconnection of relationships makes each individual as well as the overall community more vibrant and resilient." This implies that stakeholders at every level need to be learners. How do we support and encourage this culture shift?
|lesliekm||What is the inquiry process?||1||Oct 6 2008, 11:32 PM EDT by mbr21c|
Thread started: Oct 3 2008, 4:14 PM EDT Watch
In another discussion called : A 21st Century Learning Experiment RangerMel said, "What I'm hearing here is some redefinition, perhaps, of what it means to be a modern "teacher." So much of the learning process seems to be FACILITATING the learning process rather than directing it. It sounds like you're working with your students to define the process steps of learning, which I would think would give them to skills to say (consciously or subconsciously), "I'm really frustrated with this project right now...oh! wait--this is how it's suppose to be at this stage!" I would think that if students had a better understanding of the learning process, particularly when it becomes frustrating, that they'll have the fortitude to stick through the tough times and work for clarity and success."
She is describing the inquiry process that we need to be able to tap into in order to facilitate learning. What does it look like or feel like to be in the midst of an inquiry? how can we better facilitate authentic learning experiences like working through a complex problem?
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