The Talk About 21st Century Education

21st century kids’ brains are literally wired differently!

In one of the professional organizations I am a member of on Linked In, I read a discussion entitled, “Why is everyone crazy about bringing in 21st century education. Then what about all the ideas and works of 20 centuries???” 

I think there are two things that need to be addressed in order to answer this question. 

• The actual content and curriculum

• Communication style of the curriculum. 

In my work, my experience has been that when it comes to the focus and learning of the 21st century student, 21st century kids’ brains are literally wired differently! You can read more about the how and why of it in these two locations: 

1. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/21/technolog/21brain.html?pagewanted=all

2.  Generation Text, Raising Well-Adjusted Kids in the Age of Instant Everything,” by Dr. Michael Osit.  

21st Century media, learning, research and entertainment is interactive and collaborative. Exposure to this has completely altered the effectiveness of prior teaching methods such as text book reading and lecturing.

Haven’t you ever heard a student say, “How will I ever use this in real life?” One of the benefits of the 21st century style of teaching is that a student will not even think to ask this question!  In today’s fast paced, technology driven society, the methods of communication that were used in the 80s, such as "lecturing," would put anyone to sleep! 

Jill Brown

Generation Text Online


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Aidan August 09, 2012 at 02:49 PM
If you're interested in putting modern day technology to good use, I suggest districts begin in earnest to evaluate online learning for specific groups of learners. Solid remediation can take place there ... and so can solid enrichment activities. It's not necessary for every ounce of learning to take place in a classroom or even a school. We can supplement/enrich the in-class experience without invading more teaching time ... and we could actually move the very motivated ahead even more quickly. Similarly, there are many elements to learning that can and should take place with the student as the engineer ... weaving his or her way to a successful end point. But, in the end, it is all choreographed by a master teacher who knows his students and knows their strengths and weaknesses. Textbooks also have to go. Go digital and save in the long run. Allow internet access to the school's library if possible ... or else to supplemental sites of merit. And stop sweating about kids' preparedness in terms of technology. Most kids can tutor teachers when it comes to computers and such. Acknowledge where we are in the technological current and treat as yet another version of some very old technology that's now gone cobwebbed like phonographs, slide shows, and even pre-prepared overheads. It's a new wrinkle and nothing more. The world of teaching will never function without gifted teachers at the top. No technology can replace the impact of an adult on a child.
Aidan August 09, 2012 at 10:56 PM
I've no idea of your credentials, but to say, "21st Century media, learning, research and entertainment is interactive and collaborative. Exposure to this has completely altered the effectiveness of prior teaching methods such as text book reading and lecturing" is ludicrous. And it smacks of a lack of actual teaching experience. First, interactive and collaborative learning is hardly new at all. It was not discovered last week or even last decade. Second, there are teaching venues that require a level of lecturing. Try that caveat of yours on seasoned AP teachers. It'll fall flat. Perhaps you were a poor lecturer ... one without a style and absent a clear cut purpose. Then you were boredom personified. Master lecturers are as focused as a laser ... and have the magic to clear up the confusion and spotlight the essentials ... and tie it all into an event or era young minds can understand. I taught for more than 30 years and I heard such dogma from the egghead crowd every time a cloud passed by. Most of these "new" approaches emanate from folks who have limited classroom experience or have fled the real world of teaching to join forces with the educrats who seem forever on a quest for the magic chalkboard. There's only one magician: the teacher. Of course, technology is important. A master teacher would never dismiss that. But teaching remains an activity of human interaction. And that human interaction is always at the command of the teacher.
Ruby November 14, 2012 at 11:11 AM
For me, the 21st century education will be focusing on the usage of the internet as a means of educating the public. Many online courses will be offered and the construction of essays will be made online but of course with proper <a href="http://www.essaywriter.co.uk/essay-outline.aspx" rel="dofollow" title="Essay Outline" >essay outline</a> and <a href="http://www.essaywriter.co.uk/essay-tips/how-to-write-an-essay-plan.aspx" rel="dofollow">essay plan</a>.


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