Monday, January 31, 2011

Final Reflection

The book, 21st Century Skills was an enlightening book that really focused upon the future of education. Surprisingly the focus was not upon specific pieces of technology, rather the book focused upon the need for education to transform itself in ways that enrich the way we teach students and present information. Of all of the information presented within this book the part I found to be the most important was collaboration. Collaboration needs to happen within classrooms, schools, districts, cities, counties, states, countries, continents, and ultimately the entire world. “None of us is as strong as all of us. “
My hope is to utilize more collaborative teaching methods within my computer class. In many ways I am already fostering this type of learning through ePals. My hope is that teaching students to network and communicate using technology collaboration will naturally happen.
In addition to collaboration, another crucial skill that our students must obtain is problem solving. This skill does not require a machine of any sort. Students need to be able to reason through issues and problems in ways that foster global thinking in ways that develop and advance humanity in general.
Lastly, the book places an emphasis upon balance. Previously education has been teacher-centered. Teachers are now being asked to abandon the idea of teaching their content and learn about their students learning and skills. As educators we have to abandon the idea of being the expert and shift more towards focusing upon the learner. A quote I am reminded of is, “The person doing the talking is the person doing the learning.” This spills over into creating students who are lifelong learners that develop a purpose for their own learning. This is strongly developed within the walls of a classroom that is allowing for a collaborative, project based classroom. The sooner the global community embraces this type of a learning format the better off all students will be.

Section VI

Final Chapter
The most crucial point made at the end of the book was, “With Increased international educational cooperation and collaboration (an essential 21st century skill!) Every country can play a part in building a global learning network as powerful and pervasive as our existing business, financial, and communications global networks.” Twenty-first century skills are not a need in the United States, rather they are a need for the entire world. Education is finally being viewed worldwide as the “golden ticket to a brighter economic future.” The future lies in the hands of our educational systems. Students are already globally connected through various worldwide programs. Adults need to continue to get on board.
The needs of the 21st century include a healthy economy, having affordable and sustainable energy and a healthy environment, and eliminating poverty. These issues are not specific to the United States; again, they are issues that face the entire world. These issues will be remedied through the hard work of students who have the skills necessary to solve these complex problems. The final quote in the book was very telling, “It’s time to give all our students the chance to learn how to build a better world.”

Tuesday, January 18, 2011