Rliberni's Blog – Radical language

February 24, 2010

Is education ready for 21st Century learning?


 2-23-2010 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST  

21st Century educators!


Thank you to Olaf Elch @olafelech for this week’s edchat summary (see bio at the end of the post). Olaf is a stalwart of edchat and was also our guest moderator at edchat yesterday!

This was a tough topic for discussion as there were four variables in the mix – 20th Century learning, 20th Century teaching, 21st Century learning and 21st Century teaching.  With so much scope for input, it wasn’t surprising that the views came thick and fast.  At the end of the hour there were over a thousand posts logged at a pace of around one every three seconds.

An important aspect that concerned me before the start of the discussion was that there would be a tidal wave of posts proclaiming the new world and denouncing the old. I had a post prepared, but @rliberni beat me to it with her warning not to throw the baby out with the bath water.  I was really pleased to see that people weren’t getting carried away and that there is still a need for traditional skills.

I started with the intention of giving my views on the discussion, but ultimately that’s not what the discussion was about today.  It’s not what I think that’s important, it’s what the people who were there think that’s important.  So I’m going to absolve myself from the teacher role and add what I took from today’s discussion.  If other participants would be so kind as to add their feedback, I’m sure the benefit for the group will be higher.
 Here are some of the main themes from the discussion: 
  • Has learning really changed or is it just the teaching process?
  • What do teachers need to do with the new opportunities available?
  • Dealing with the massive amount of information available.
  • Access to the new learning technology.

Here is a selection of some of the comments: 

With such a vibrant discussion, it’s almost impossible to do it justice in a summary, but I’ve picked out some of the comments that caught my eye.

@angelbrady I think 21st Century learning is defined by connectedness, 24/7 access, and rich media.

@bjnichols  21st century learning is not about techology. It is about what you do with it… Collaborate., Think Critically, Problem Solve, etc.
@CHuckeba  The whole learning process is redefined.No more ‘sage on the stage’ from the teachers. Students have ownership of learning.
@melhutch  I think the shift between availability of knowledge and engagement for students requires teachers to rethink teaching.

@timrylands: Today is a great time to be alive, to teach, to learn. Interactivity. Speed. Communication.

@ShellTerrell  Definite shift from teacher as center of knowledge to student & teacher supplying knowledge & working together.

@rliberni   … are we throwing the baby out with the bath water?

@seanbanville  21st century learning means focus on info management for students.

To give some idea of the pace of the discussion, all of the above appeared in the first five minutes.

@wmchamberlain  Has learning changed? I don’t think so. I think what can be learned has changed. Content is ubiquitous and so should learning be.

@Swanny203  students must realize that memorizing facts/content won’t cut it in 21st century – they need to be problem solvers, thinkers, innovators.

@nothingfuture  The problem isn’t access to information, but rather access to good filters for that information.

@boundstaffpress  Problem solving and creativity don’t have a specific century. These are always the tool of innovators.

@johntspencer I’m not enraptured by 21st Century learning. I want a classic education in a contemporary context. Socrates meets Linux.

@andycinek  … the world is now flat and hyper competitive, therefore the demand for mastery of skills is crucial.

@andycinek  Challenge students to find an answer in their community, in their world, not simply in their classroom.

@akamrt  Learning skills remain the same, the way we use those skills are different, enhanced by access to technology tools.

@bonitadee  Demand on teachers is different. Teachers must relearn what learning is.

@fredsheahan  The need for educators to become continuous learners themselves has increased.

@seanbanville  Internet access in extremely remote areas have increased education opportunities in many poor areas.

@openstudy  Teaching with technology doesn’t mean it has to sparkle & glitter. Technology facilitates connections to real life learning.

@sudam09  Our goal should not be to produce distinctive students but people to change thinking, outlook n way of living.

@Parentella 21st Century is about expanding the conventional lines of learning to include worldwide learning.

I could just have easily chosen fifty other tweets which would have done equal justice to the summary of this discussion, but I’d like to end with one tweet:
  •  @cybraryman1: So many wonderful collaborations & learning is going on. How do we make others aware of it?

This is precisely the challenge for those on #edchat.  We know about these issues and we are reacting to them, but for the vast majority of the education world this is just background noise.  To really change something, we have to go out there and get the other stakeholders involved, the hundreds of thousands who neither write nor read blogs, who aren’t really aware of the changes going on around us and haven’t been made aware how important it is.

I would ask that the following question is added to the poll next week:
  • What can we in #edchat do to get the message across to the education stakeholders that change is no longer a cause for discussion and is now a matter for action?

Getting the message of today’s discussion out to the people outside of #edchat would bring about an evolution from being a forum into being a movement for change.

To follow the complete discussion see here 

For the stats on #edchat participation see here 

As ever, there were some great links shared:

TeachTC  ITeaching after a career in business. Great, challenging, surprising, rewarding. http://nyti.ms/9LW55S

openstudy:  Changes of teaching methods and mathematical content caused by new technologies. #edchat – STUDY: http://bit.ly/9DxA1s

anneschwal  My favorite take on 21st Century skills (they aren’t new) http://bit.ly/djxlqk

olafelch:   Here’s a view of 21st Century schooling. Interesting comparison with the 1960’s http://bit.ly/cdgNou

angelbrady  Not just learning changing in 21st cent: Tufts Now Accepts YouTube Videos as Part of College Application: http://bit.ly/aoBx97

fredsheahan  21st century learning should combine diagnostic learning (http://is.gd/90W0g), connectivity, and authenticity

openstudy  A SlideShare MUST view for today’s #edchat: Teaching 21st Century Skills In A 20th Century Final http://bit.ly/9WQJdc

DeborahMersino  Worth watching! Short video about new public school & 21st Century learning in GA: http://bit.ly/da8Ogb via @WorldOfLearning

evab2001  @penciltommy very true http://www.teachingvillage.org/ do it your way is a gr8 example

msmithpds  And more from @EDPressSec http://twitter.com/EDPressSec/statuses/9534598162  I’m sure #edchat folks have thoughts.

k_shelton  At #ISTE2010 I am part of a great panel, discussing on this topic from a teacher perspective http://bit.ly/bb6Od9

here’s a 21st century reading and vocab lesson idea w/ rubrics http://maistec.posterous.com/6th-grade-reading-projects

Parentella  @hadleyjf @thinkmaya here’s the link: http://chickensaltash.edublogs.org/2009/06/23/you-heard-it-first-here-heroes-are-global/

rliberni:   Some Youtube videos on 21st C learning http://bit.ly/9klExN

openstudy e-Learning: Changes in Teaching and Learning Styles: http://bit.ly/91aNZn For those who wondered about LEARNING styles 🙂

NMHS_Principal:   Three-fourths of professionals believe the internet makes us smarter http://bit.ly/dmU7Hi I’m a believer!

rliberni  http://bit.ly/c8h3fH Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach’s site for thoughts

acmcdonaldgp  #edchat folks – if you still have thoughts on change you would like to add, I’d love if you added to the comments here: http://bit.ly/bTwAfi

rliberni  The UK viewpoint on 21stC edu http://bit.ly/aKsLRj

ShellTerrell  My friend sent me this brilliant e-mail today, We Mourn the Passing of Common Sense… http://bit.ly/9t3kVH

jpsteltz  Latest Post: ‘Building Positive School Climate’ http://bit.ly/9VHcy1

socializatiooon  SO crucial to keep working on those socialization skills we begin in Kindergarten. .. #edchat http://ow.ly/16E2T1

akamrt US Dept of ED in announcement w/ (@usedgov) #letthemknow

I studied industrial management and work as an ELT and intercultural competence consultant, both in industry and schools. I believe strongly that a school’s function is to open the doors to opportunity and no-one should be restricted by the system in what they can achieve. I have introduced a teaching system in schools where children are taught English as a foreign language according to their ability, rather than in single year classes. My hobby is to make life difficult for people who are not prepared occasionally to do the extra five minutes to see that the job is done properly. I love red wine, and my daughter Lauren (but not in that order). My blog is called What’s New in the World

New to Edchat?

If you have never participated in an #Edchat discussion, these take place twice a day every Tuesday on Twitter. Over 400 educators participate in this discussion by just adding #edchat to their tweets. For tips on participating in the discussion, please check out these posts! 

More Edchat


If you’re new to hashtag discussions, then just show up on Twitter on any Tuesday and add just a few tweets on the topic with the hashtag #edchat. 

What do you think? Leave a comment!


1 Comment »

  1. Your article was most tweeted by English Language Teaching experts in the Twitterverse…

    Come see other top popular articles surfaced by English Language Teaching experts!…

    Trackback by Most Tweeted Articles by English Language Teaching Experts: MrTweet — March 6, 2010 @ 1:42 am | Reply

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