Friday, September 5, 2008

Planning for the 21st Century

Often I hear educators discussing 21st Century learning, particularly now that the Partnership for 21st Century Learning has released their framework and many states are now officially adopting it as a basis for school change.

There are many great thinkers out there trying to guide schools and professionals as they change from industrial revolution teaching and learning to global learning. Ian Jukes, from the Info Savvy group, does a great job explaining to others WHY we need to change what we do in schools because even kids' brains have physically changed due to all the media that they now use. Marc Prensky's "Digital Immigrants, Digital Natives" concept is hard to disagree with. David Thornburg, from the Thornburg Center, has been speaking for 10 years about the need to change education. This list can go on and on with all the great thinkers and planners of today.

It is time for the educational field to move beyond discussing 21st Century learning to implementing change in education. I have spent the past 10 years reading, listening and studying these great thinkers and planners. Change in education boils down to a few key components that will change education so that students are engaged and teachers can achieve their goal of preparing students for the future....their futures. The key components needed to change 20th Century teaching and learning into 21st Century teaching and learning include a strong base in student-centered problem-based learning centered around real-world problems that focus on creating content for real audiences using a variety of technology and non-technology communication and collaboration methods.

What is your school doing to move teaching and learning into the 21st Century? What has really changed in the past 20 years? What are the plans for changing your school in the next 10 years?