Week 11 – How have you, and will you continue to “Learn the 21st Century” and allow your students this experience in your classroom?

It is interesting that teachers and many adults need to “Learn the 21st Century.”  We are living in the 21st century, but our students are living in a different world of technology and social media.  We have to understand what our students are experiencing before we can teach them, or more importantly, help prepare them for their future.  To make this even harder, we don’t even know what this future is going to look like.  Will it be Star Wars or Star Trek?  Or will it be something we haven’t even imagined yet?

Jenifer Nichols has some good suggestions for how to help students experience 21st Century learning from her article, “4 Essential Rules Of 21st Century Learning.”  They include:

  • Instruction should be student centered
  • Education should be collaborative
  • Learning should have context
  • Schools should be integrated with society (Nichols, 2017)

Jennifer’s advice is very similar to what our textbook suggests.  This is nothing new, but it is packaged in a different way.

What is new is how we think about teachers and their use of technology.  Martinez, in our textbooks says, “It is impossible to teach 21st century learners if you haven’t learned this century” (Martinez, 2013).  She goes on to question why we always assume that teachers are going to be inferior to students when using technology.  Why is this okay? Why don’t we expect teachers to become experts instead of always behind?  One of the ways I am going to learn this century is by expecting my teachers to learn technology and be leaders for our students, not just spectators.  I haven’t figured out how this is going to work yet, but it is one of my goals for this next year.  Personally, I will continue to take classes and play with technology.

Rita Oates in her article, How to Learn in the 21st Century states that, “Teachers need to teach using the tools of today and not the past” (Oates, 2009).  This is another reminder that teachers need to permanently retire the chalkboard and start using the most up-to-date technology, apps and social media.  My goal is to help my staff make this happen.


Martinez, S. L. (2013). Invent to learn: Making, tinkering, and engineering in the classroom. Constructing Modern Knowledge Press. Kindle Edition.

Nichols, J. 4 Essential Rules Of 21st Century Learning. Retrieved on 7-23-17 at http://www.teachthought.com/learning/4-essential-rules-of-21st-century-learning/.

Oates, R. (2009). How to Learn in the 21st Century. Educational Leadership. Retrieved on 7-23-17 at http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/sept09/vol67/num01/How-to-Learn-in-the-21st-Century.aspx.

By waclawskid

3 comments on “Week 11 – How have you, and will you continue to “Learn the 21st Century” and allow your students this experience in your classroom?

  1. I have to agree. But there are some time tested things we should teach to all people. The standards for mathematical practice for example.

  2. I really like the idea of teachers becoming experts in technology instead of always being behind. I know the main reason for me is lack of time, and I would bet other teachers feel the same way. It always seems like every year there is something new for us to learn besides the technology in our classrooms, so it’s hard to find a balance between everything. Maybe starting a mentorship program for the staff would be helpful in fulfilling this goal. As different staff learn about new technologies they mentor others continuing on until many staff members have participated in mentoring.

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