I believe an educator’s role is to partner with students to create content, assessments, and authentic learning experiences that are relevant and meaningful. Learning should not be passive. New knowledge and learning should be actively constructed and should “create a culture of learning in which students feel autonomous, masterful, and purposeful.” (November 2012 p. 13)
Students should have control over their learning and be able to think about
what they are going to learn, how they are going to learn it, and how they are
going to show their learning. If educators keep these questions in mind
while designing their curriculum and use the 21st century tools available
today, they will evolve as educators which in turn will help them transform
their current practice. Students “want to have some ownership in the
learning process, and they want their work to have purpose.” (November
21st century learning to me means that students are connected to other learners and resources throughout the world preparing them to become problem solvers and communicators. They construct their learning and have relevant, authentic work and assessments. Students are comfortable collaborating with others in and out of their classroom. They have good digital citizenship and know how to use multiple technology resources. Students also show creativity, problem solving, and leadership. 21st century students know how to explore, have curiosity about the world, are accountable and know how to take initiative. “Thanks to technology and the Internet, all children now are children of the globe, not just children of the neighborhood where they live.” (Jacobs 2010 p. 107) My definition of 21st century learning evolved through my own educational experience, professional readings and research.
In the research, Creating Technology-Enhanced, Learner-Centered Classrooms: K–12 Teachers’ Beliefs, Perceptions, Barriers, and Support Needs, it suggests that there needs to be “strengthened links among technology, pedagogy, and
content.” (An 2011 p. 60) Many times technology integration, professional development, and training focus on knowledge and skills rather than the relationship to pedagogy and content. The research suggests that “it is possible that teachers who are learner-centered in philosophy are
teacher-centered in actual practice.” (An 2011 p.60) The research
suggests that teachers build communities of practice, social networks or
collegial groups to develop their own network of influential colleagues.
Teachers’ practices and thoughts are shaped by others and their opinions and
values. The communities could help explore new methods of teaching and
tools to help each other. Networking or observing can provide ideas for updated practices in a learner-centered classroom. Teachers may also
gain confidence by building communities of practice. (An 2011 p. 61) Communities or social networks I recommend are:
PLP –Professional Learning Practice Community Hub
My Big Campus
Educators and students are able to share content, connect with, and learn from one another through these social communities and networks. “It is the greatest time in history to be in a classroom because learning technology is changing at an exponential rate, and our students can thrive with it.” (Jacobs 2010 p. 197) We can continue to develop and transform our teaching practice if we connect, learn, and share with others. Let’s continue to evolve.
An, Y., & Reigeluth, C. (2011). Creating Technology-Enhanced, Learner-Centered Classrooms: K–12 Teachers’ Beliefs, Perceptions, Barriers, and Support Needs. Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education, 28(2), 54-62.
Jacobs, H. H. (2010). Curriculum 21: Essential Education for a Changing World. Alexandria, Va: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
November, A. C. (2012). Who Owns the Learning?: Preparing Students for Success in the Digital Age. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
Post by Kim Hendrick - Program Manager - Indiana Online Academy