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21st Century Teaching and Learning

MAED Student

Practicing Teacher Paul Jundt reflects on changes in education for the 21st Century

Graduate Student, Teacher, Guest Author: Paul Jundt

“Students and Teachers Learning Together in the 21st Century”, written by Lucy Gray, speaks of how technology links learners together and promotes the skills necessary to succeed in the 21st century. Karl Fisch, a technology director at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colorado, stated how quickly things are changing in our society:

“We are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t exist yet, using technologies that haven’t been invented, in order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet” (Gray, 2009, p. 1).

By using Web 2.0 tools, students are able to rapidly advance their skills to keep up with our continually changing society. Web 2.0 is a phrase Tim O’Reilly coined in 2004 to “define a more interactive version of the World Wide Web, one in which users of content also generate content for websites” (Gray, 2009, p. 1). Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Wikis and YouTube are some examples of Web 2.0 tools.

All of these new ideas are changing learning for both teachers and students. Students will have to show learning and innovative skills, develop their critical thinking, as well as media and technical skills, life skills, or interpersonal skills needed to succeed in the collaborative online education world that is rapidly developing. Students are now actively engaged in creating wikis that connect them with other classes all over the globe. Teachers are seeing their own teaching styles evolve from being teacher-centered to project-based facilitators.

Teachers are using these advances to further their own education as well. According to Gray (2009), keeping up with the latest technology is difficult for some teachers. Her advice is for them is to take one step at a time and to keep things basic–select one lesson they can use to increase the depth of knowledge their students gain with technology. By facilitating a single project and doing it well, a teacher will gain confidence do it again (p. 2).

I only question one thing from this article: the need for students to develop strong interpersonal skills in order to succeed in an online learning environment. I understand that teachers will likely instruct their students to be respectful if they make a revision or change to another person’s work, but will it really affect their learning and ability to function if they don’t do this?

It seems individuals believe they are able to “hide” behind their keyboard when doing things online–whether it is texting, face booking, tweeting, or whatever. There is a certain bravado that some people have, knowing that they do not have to see another person’s face when they engage in an electronic form of communication.

References

Gray, L. (2009). Students and Teachers Learing Together in the 21st Century. School Talk, 15(1), 1-2. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.pearl.stkate.edu/education/docview/213711166/14169E1E852248B807B/36?accountid=26879


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