Monday, 16 March 2009

21st century skills

In search of web2.0-Tools that might be interesting for students and hence should be mentioned in LOTSE I discovered the website "21st century skills". The creators and supporters of the website "21st century skills" believe that
"Learning Environments Must Break Through the Silos that Separate Learning from the Real World"
-sounds very declamatory but its true in regard of the many different coexisting tools.
With the help of partners and reowned educators and authors the whitepaper "21st Century Learning Environments" was created. Its purpose is to offer a descriptive view of the places, tools, people, and policies that make up 21st century learning environments and, we hope, inspire its readers to work towards their realization.

Well, what is a 21st century learning environment?
"The term “learning environment” suggests place and space – a school, a classroom, a library. And indeed, much 21st century learning takes place in physical locations like these. But in today‟s interconnected and technology-driven world, a learning environment can be virtual, online, remote; in other words, it doesn‟t have to be a place at all. Perhaps a better way to think of 21st century learning environments is as the support systems that organize the condition in which humans learn best – systems that accommodate the unique learning needs of every learner and support the positive human relationships needed for effective learning. Learning environments are the structures, tools, and communities that inspire students and educators to attain the knowledge and skills the 21st century demands of us all."

In the whitepaper the authors also -like Michael Welsch - underline:
"...students are more engaged and more successful when they can connect what they are learning to situations they care about in their community and in the world"

To further guide schools and communities in designing dynamic 21st learning environments, the Partnership‟s Resource 21 site provides a wealth of information on this and other Framework elements at The "Route 21" is a one-stop-shop for 21st century skills-related information, resources and community tools. The elements described as “21st century student outcomes” (represented by the
rainbow) are the skills, knowledge and expertise students should master to succeed in work and life in the 21st century.

  • Life and Career Skills: These skills describe the ability to be flexible, adaptable, self-directed, socially aware, accountable and responsible.

  • Learning and Innovation Skills: These important skills include creativity & innovation, critical thinking & problem-solving and communication & collaboration.

  • Information, Media and Technology Skills: These skills include Information Literacy, Media Literacy and ICT Literacy.

  • Core Subjects and 21st century themes: Core subjects like math, English and Science should be taught in the context of themes like global awareness etc.

  • Standards and Assessment: 21st century standards, along with a balanced system of assessment that measure 21st century skills is critical. Student assessment, whether by standardized tests or classroom-based measures, is a cornerstone of effective teaching and learning. Taken as a whole, good assessments can not only provide a reliable and valid measure of a student’s learning and understanding, but also help guide both teachers and students on a day-to-day basis.

  • Curriculum and Instruction: Instructional materials and practice should support student mastery of 21century skills.

  • Professional Development: Teachers should be provided with effective training and support skills for integrating these skills into classroom.

  • Learning Environments: Where students learn affects what they learn - today's learning environments must support the teaching and learning of 21st century skills.

This is an overall-model regarding teaching and learning. The objectives are evident. Unfortunately these objectives do not include handable specifications for implentation or examples/ BestPractices.

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