Technology and the 21st century classroom

We found an interesting set of slides on 21st Century classrooms and how technology fits in. The framework revolves are basic pedagogical practices, with technology complimenting the teaching and learning process, not driving it.

[…] focus on the 3 R’s – reading, writing, and arithmetic. But in order to fully participate in today’s global community, students must also master the 4 C’s –creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration.
Our world is changing and changing rapidly.  But while we often see digital natives on the covers of contemporary magazines, we have students in our classrooms from both sides of the divide.  A 21st century classroom must engage and energize, preparing all students to be active participants.

The best way to help students master these skills is to change HOW we teach and learn in our classrooms, not WHAT we teach. It is the process of learning, not the content of learning, that addresses the 4 C’s.

We can help students build creativity and critical thinking by the types of questions we ask them to respond to.  With all of the information that can easily be found online, we no longer need to have students think of things, but think about them.

[…] this isn’t about learning how to use technology or even teaching with technology tools, it is about students creating and constructing with technology. 

Students should be building communication skills that reflect the media rich world they are surrounded by. Rather than writing an essay or a report about a subject they are learning, ask students to help solve a problem and let them share their solution using formats they see in the world around them, such as digital stories, eBooks, virtual museums, video journals, news broadcasts, and interactive games.

While you can encourage students to respond to a question in multiple ways without technology tools, multimedia authoring tools engage student’s different intelligences and interests and naturally encourage them to create products that reflect their individuality and unique ideas.

The hardest questions and biggest problems we face today do not have one right answer.

In our test-driven classrooms, it is easy to get in a rut of looking for that one correct answer. Products that look different help to foster a learning environment where lots of right answers are accepted and encouraged. As David Thornburg states, “Helping students figure out how to ask good questions prepares them for their future, not for our past.”

21st century classrooms are not about technology, they are about learning! The are places that have moved from “teachers telling to students doing.” They are places where students are media producers, not just consumers.

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