Education is getting more and more digitized pushing us, teachers and educators, to re-conceptualize what it really means to be a teacher in the 21st century. Whether you are a technological determinist or a digital instrumentalist, technology has become an essential force shaping much of our teaching and pedagogy. It has also placed a number of demands and exigencies on us and to meet these exigencies we need to develop a set of key digital skills
|Record and edit audio clips||· Soundcloud
|Create annotated, interactive and engaging video content||· Blubbr
· YouTube video editor
· TED Ed
|Create visually engaging content||· Piktochart
|Use social networking websites to create PLNs, connect , discover new content, and grow professionally||· Twitter
|Use blogs and wikis to create participatory spaces for students||· Blogger
|Use Social bookmarking websites curate and share resources with your class||· Diigo
|Create Engaging presentations||· Google Slides
|Create digital portfolios||· SeeSaw
|Create non-traditional quizzes||· Testmoz
Contemporary curriculum design involves multiple facets: engaging 21st Century skills, using digital tools, collaborating with others around the globe, performance tasks, and more. Getting these design elements into a teacher’s current curriculum demands that teachers create professional habits around Replacement Thinking.
Four considerations for Replacement Thinking around assessments. In a nutshell, those considerations include:
- Students must demonstrate what they’ve learned. Whatever they create with digital tools should still represent what students were to learn. The assessment shouldn’t tell you more about their use of a tool than it does about the student’s work using the tool.
- Students should demonstrate content proficiency and sophistication. Their new product should reflect the content knowledge that they’ve learned and the multiple cognitive zones they participated in during the learning process.
- Students should be frequently reflecting on their choices. Students should be able to articulate and defend their tool choices, content inclusion, and degrees of audience interaction and how those choices affected the resulting product.
- Students must give credit where credit is due. They should know about copyright, Creative Commons licensing, and how to search for and use appropriate content, giving attribution for the media resources they use.
And while assessments are the focus of this blog post, replacement thinking can be applied across the curriculum: in instructional strategies, classroom activities, or in formative data collection using tools such as Kahoot, Socrative, or Google Forms. To help you start thinking about Replacement Thinking, I’d like to offer the following action steps to bring more contemporary ideas into your own professional practices:
- Action Step 1: Stop thinking technology first.
- Action Step 2: Give students authentic choice in how they will demonstrate their learning.
- Action Step 3: Help students seek feedback from other students, other educators, and experts in the field.
- Action Step 4: Provide always-on, asynchronous access to that which is being assessed.
Problem and Issues: What does 21st century learning and assessment look like?
How about Objective and Assessment: (Do technology-based options enhance or detract from student understanding of content? Data from student surveys will be evaluated to determine student engagement in project. Data from student surveys will determine student disposition at three stages of the process.)
Source taken from: John Sole, Founder and CEO of Guerrilla Educators
With one prominent exception, 21st century teaching and learning best practices are largely the same even if the century numbers are inverted. Sound, effective educational best practices in the 21st century share certain strategic, timeless characteristics. To that end, we have identified ten experience based Hallmarks of 21st Century Teaching and Learning that can be used as touchstones in the educator’s pedagogical approach to teaching and learning.
The overarching caveat, of course, is that technology in the 21st century has permeated most aspects of education and culture and has changed everything. How we, as educators, use technology with our students is now the key to unlocking those 21st century global skillsets so that our students can lead and compete in a world where geography has become, in many ways, superfluous.
- Project Based Learning
- Student Ownership/Engagement
- Collaborative Teaching/Cooperative Learning
- Citizenship/Leadership/Personal Responsibility
- Community Partnerships
- Mastery of Curriculum/Development of Higher Order Thinking Skills
- Technology/21st Century Skills
- The Teachable Moment
- Reporting Out/Celebration
1. Project Based Learning
Project Based Learning is the primary gateway through which the Hallmarks are realized. There are consistent characteristics that make a Project viable. Some of these are that Projects should be:
- Student Centered
Just as any discussion about the design of 21st century teaching/learning spaces includes, by nature, flexibility of those spaces, so too the design of 21st century teaching and learning must also be flexible. With technology an integral aspect of our lives, more than ever our students have individual learning styles that must be taken into account. PBL provides a plethora of opportunities for students and teachers to be engaged in ways that are best suited to their optimum learning styles.
This short video demonstrates a real world boat building Project featuring middle grade students at a Philadelphia charter school that authentically models these characteristics: https://youtu.be/lyNNC0Pa3zk.
2. Ownership and Engagement
When students are interested and invested in the completion of a school-based project, they begin to own their educational processes. With ownership, all aspects of their school career, including mastery of curriculum become important to them. With ownership also comes:
- Personal responsibility
- Strategies like critical thinking and generating hypotheses and extension of learning becomes commonplace
- Motivation to succeed
Ownership starts with you, the teacher! Get invested in the processes of PBL. Initiate projects with your students that interest you, so you can authentically model ownership.
Ownership and engagement are essentially 2 sides of the same coin. When students take ownership and personal responsibility for the successful outcome of their Project, it follows that they are engaged and interested. Any good Service Learning project will present students with many opportunities to think critically, make hypotheses, and extend what they have learned. Engagement is the door to performing these important skills, which in turn, engenders academic and civic success.
This high school Project activity using the built environment is a great example of student engagement: https://youtu.be/Mu5vODUKTeg.
3. Collaborative Teaching and Cooperative Learning
Teacher collaborations present powerful opportunities for educators to learn from each other, which can increase the strategies available to them in their pedagogical toolboxes. With technology, it is now just as possible to collaborate virtually with the teacher across the globe as it is across the hall.
Students working cooperatively in small groups to achieve project-based goals is a powerful strategy to achieve curricular and standards based objectives. Moreover, when students are focused on the goals of a project, they are more inclined to negotiate with their peers which clarifies their understandings and solidifies their learning. The cooperative nature of small groups working together for successful completion of the project also has an extremely positive effect on the classroom climate and behavior issues are significantly mitigated.
This Project with post graduate students demonstrates experientially collaboration and cooperation: https://youtu.be/mr04qE46fXg.
4. Citizenship, Leadership, and Personal Responsibility
Development of good citizenship skills as part of the fabric of teaching and learning is critical to the long term, real-life success of our students.
Civic skills give greater depth, context and meaning to student mastery of curriculum and standards. Integral to a Project is the inclusion of Community Partnerships. Professionals who freely give their time and expertise to benefit students are models of good citizenship.
Project Based Learning requires administrative and teacher leadership while developing those qualities in our students. One of the key components of effective leadership is having the humility to know what you don’t know and having the ability to listen and learn, from those who do. So, for teachers and administrators:
- Leadership involves having the inner strength to make decisions and to take personal responsibility for the consequences of those decisions
- Leadership is enabling those whom you lead to be innovative problem solvers without feeling threatened by their success
- Leadership is being able to buffer and protect those you lead from distractions and impediments so they may carry out their responsibilities unimpeded by those distractions
- Leadership is the ability to turn mistakes into “teachable moments” rather than “blamable moments”
- Leadership is knowing when to step back to give opportunities for those in your charge to take the lead, while understanding that ultimate responsibility rests with you
- Leaders understand that leadership is a way of life and therefore unbound by the time constraints of the school or business day/week
It is incumbent upon us as educators to instill in our students that, as much as the teachers have a responsibility to present information in interesting, informative, and innovative ways, students also have the personal responsibility to make sure that they have mastered the requisite information to satisfy the goals and objectives of the Project. Student engagement, ownership, and interest in the successful completion of the Project engenders personal responsibility. Ultimately, one of our most critical functions as educators is to inculcate this sense of personal responsibility in our students.
5: Community Partnerships
Community Partners are the heart of Project Based and 21st century teaching and learning. Having real-world professionals and others in the community work with our students to help address real-world problems present powerful opportunities for students to get involved and engaged as citizens and leaders while achieving and retaining, curricular and standards-based proficiencies. Community Partners also model good citizenship/leadership and provide opportunities for taking class trips that are fun and demonstrate real-world learning skills.
This video demonstrates how Community Partnerships both in, and out of, classrooms can have a transformational effect on students: https://youtu.be/PPrfbiVZmxo.
6. Mastery of Curriculum and Higher Order Thinking Skills
The primary rationale to employ Project Based Learning is, in fact, as a tool for student achievement, both academically and socially. A project’s success is ultimately determined by whether the project-based activities are connected to grade appropriate curriculum and state standards and more importantly, whether these connections enable students to achieve mastery across a range of academic disciplines. We have seen that when students work within the Project Based methodology they own their educational processes, are engaged in a project’s activities, work cooperatively to achieve success, and see citizenship modeled by the Community Partners, then mastery of curriculum becomes more likely.
This video shows second graders making and testing hypotheses: https://youtu.be/b133AGFclCY.
Universal access to the internet by our students has changed the equation of how they learn, whether we, as educators, are ready for this change or not. Unlike the traditional teaching and learning experience, with the Project Based methodology students are gaining knowledge experientially. Rather than feeding the students disconnected facts to be regurgitated on a test, Project Teachers coach the students to apply that knowledge to real world situations which engenders Higher Order Thinking Skills like evaluation, synthesis, and analysis. Many of the videos on the Guerilla Educators blog authentically demonstrate HOTS in Action.
7. Technology and 21st Century Skills
Technology is the #2 pencil of the 21st century. As such, any good Service Learning project will be embedded with a wide array of real-world technology-based applications. We still, by and large, teach interminably about how to use tech applications with our students. Well, that ship has sailed given the fact that the younger we are, the greater our ability to use technology in an agile way. So now, more than ever we need an educational paradigm shift away from learning how to use technology and towards using it.
This high school Project activity using the built environment is a great example of students using technology: https://youtu.be/Mu5vODUKTeg.
8. The Teachable Moment
Agile educators nimbly take advantage of those “off the curriculum grid” spontaneous learning opportunities when they occur. These teachable moments are powerful opportunities for effective, authentic teaching and learning to take place. Being able to identify and use real-time teachable moments is one of those transcendent qualities that good educators possess. Click here to see two examples of teachable moments in real-time.
9. Reporting and Celebration
Students will report out to peers, school staff, and the larger community:
- What they learned
- How they addressed the problems or issues
- Their final products. …and
- They will be celebrated for their important, authentic, real-time work
As a 4th grader concisely put it some years ago, “Teacher John, if it ain’t fun, why would we do it?” School and Fun? While the terms are usually perceived to be in diametric opposition to each other, students having FUN within the framework of their school-based activities is an integral aspect of Effective Teaching and Learning and is one of the overarching links that facilitate academic and civic success.
This short video is a compilation from 2 elementary schools conducting on-site water monitoring and having FUN: https://youtu.be/4VaI_LWu8mY.
This paper presents the learners readiness towards the implementation of E-Portfolio as means of solving the persistent problems in educational setting. The purpose of the study was to examine the learner’s readiness towards the implementation E-Portfolio in higher education. Initially, this paper was conducted a study with a total number of 300 students form Social Sciences and Humanites cluster and then practicing portfolio in their coursework. The pilot study was conducted and showed the reliability coefficient with Cronbach’s alpha () is 0.825. The instrument was divided into five components which involved (1) technology accessibility (2) online skills and relationship (3) motivation (4) internet discussion and (5) importance to success, to measure the learners’ readiness. The findings were reported that students are ready to have an E-Portfolio as a learning tool in constructing their knowledge and experience of learning. The E-Portfolio will extend the opportunity from paper-based into the electronic based with a variety of online learning features in gaining students interest and motivation in learning. At the end of the day, the E-Portfolio will not only benefit the students and the faculty but also towards the employability.
Are Students Ready to Adopt E-Portfolio? Social Science and Humanities Context. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/277325158_Are_Students_Ready_to_Adopt_E-Portfolio_Social_Science_and_Humanities_Context [accessed Jun 15, 2015].
Word clouds are ideal for eLearning professionals who are looking for ways to visually represent text, whether this is content within an eLearning course or writings of the learners. Color and size can be used to denote a word’s level of importance within the cloud, which helps learners to acquire and retain significant ideas (i.e. bolded words) more effectively. While word clouds are often associated with language arts eLearning courses, they can actually be used in virtually any eLearning setting.