Week 2 post

For centuries, education was “done” pretty much the same way it has been done in the past. But, in the 21st century, with the outbreak of technology and its availability to the masses, learning and education is now being rethought, redesigned.

 I agree wholeheartedly with the statement in Learning in the 21st century that students are woefully unprepared in facing the challenges of the job market when they leave school. So, I’m really glad to hear that the Partnership for 21st century skills is working towards bridge that gap.

 As I went through the list of six key elements of 21st century learning, I particularly appreciated the emphasis on instilling learning skills in students. Knowledge that is now available to students is exploding that it might not always be possible for educators to actually teach them everything they need to know. But, ensuring that students know how to learn on their own ensures that they can keep up with the latest.       

I also love #4—teach and learn in a 21st century context. Although this seems like a no-brainer, right now, it seems liked educators need to play catch-up in the instructional methods and strategies they are using. If your students prefer using e-readers to books, or using the internet, instead of objecting to it, ensure they do it right.

I hadn’t quite realized that all these changes in how learning is done means that measuring students’ skills also needs to change. 

In Part 1—The need for Change, the authors highlight the importance of lifelong skills development. As I was re-doing my resume recently, I just realized something. In each of the past 4 jobs (spanning over 61/2 years), I’ve used a different software to get the same kind of job done. No wonder my head hurts sometimes.

So far, I agreed with most things in the report. But, I must admit I’m a little disappointed to read that standardized tests are here to stay (even though they may look very different from previous avatars). But, it’s a relief that more study is being done to evaluate their effectiveness.

From the report, the most encouraging bit of news is that going forward, education is going to be a collaborative effort that includes partners from outside the field of education.

Onto the three E’s of education article–the section on mobile learning trends piqued my interest. I can see why teachers might  think of handheld-devices as a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, students are more engaged, and can benefit from personalized learning. On the other hand, these gadgets can be used to cheat on tests.

Hmm, so BYOT bombed? Can’t say I’m surprised. After all there’s no way the teacher would be well-versed in every device available out there. But, I can’t help wonder whether this program could have been saved with a few modifications. How about using it for self-learning segment of the course? And, just show the instructor the final product—don’t involve him or her in the process at all.

 Ok, I end with a question. Why is the extension of the learning day a benefit of learning using digital content? If we are being more effective in our learning, shouldn’t we also focus on efficiency and speed? Just saying.

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2 thoughts on “Week 2 post

  1. Education is changing Carol. You caught that from your readings. That much is clear. The direction and speed of that change may be a huge question in the minds of many. Standardized tests here to stay? Are they sure about that? Such people make many assumptions. They assume that we will go to school for the same reasons in 100 or 200 years. That is highly unlikely. Robots will clearly be doing most monotonous jobs. So, then, what we will need is problem finding skills, teaming skills, creativity, etc. Such things are hard to test with standardized exams. Not only are they hard to do, I would not want them to be tested with standardized exams.

    Technology can also change how, when, and where basic skills are tested. It already is. Look at the Khan Academy. Watch the video in the About section.
    http://www.khanacademy.org/about

    And then tell me that testing will always be the same. Whoever said that is lying. Plain and simple. You have nothing to worry about.

  2. I am going to attempt to address your question based on my recent experiences.
    “Why is the extension of the learning day a benefit of learning using digital content? If we are being more effective in our learning, shouldn’t we also focus on efficiency and speed?” Last semester I helped write a grant proposal with the Bloomington HS principals. They were requesting funds for tablets. They already had Moodle in place in most of the core classrooms. Their intentions were to extend the school day in order to personalize student learning. Their hope was for students to have access to class content outside of class for the purpose of review, remediation, and enrichment. Immediate feedback was an additional goal. The technology would allow the teachers to quickly generate formative assessments, send them to students, analyze the students results and provide them with feedback immediately.
    My other experience is a project I am working on this semester. With a team of 2 other gals, we are creating an online module about flipped classrooms. An advantage of flipping a classroom is providing the students with a video-recorded lecture and other content at home for homework. The students are then able to process the lecture and the content at their own pace.
    Thus, my opinion is:
    extending the school day with technology isn’t about making the school day longer, but it
    is about providing students with time to process and reflect on what they have learned.

    btw: What degree are you pursuing in the IST program? I am in the master’s program. I would love to chat with you about what courses you taken 😉

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