21st Century Learning.

The Hallmarks of 21st Century Learning Strategies:

  • Project Based Learning

Hands-On, Collaborative, Multi-Disciplinary, Student Centered, Real-Time, Real-World, Flexible

  • Student Ownership/Engagement

When students are interested and invested in the completion of a school-based project, they begin to own their educational processes. With ownership, all aspects of their school career, including mastery of curriculum become important to them. With ownership also comes: personal responsibility, strategies like critical thinking and generating hypotheses and extension of learning becomes commonplace and finally, motivation to succeed

  • Collaborative Teaching/Cooperative Learning

Teacher collaborations present powerful opportunities for educators to learn from each other, which can increase the strategies available to them in their pedagogical toolboxes. With technology, it is now just as possible to collaborate virtually with the teacher across the globe as it is across the hall. Students working cooperatively in small groups to achieve project-based goals is a powerful strategy to achieve curricular and standards based objectives. Moreover, when students are focused on the goals of a project, they are more inclined to negotiate with their peer, which clarifies their understandings and solidifies their learning. The cooperative nature of small groups working together for successful completion of the project also has an extremely positive effect on the classroom climate and behavior issues are significantly mitigated.

  • Citizenship/Leadership/Personal Responsibility

Development of good citizenship skills as part of the fabric of teaching and learning is critical to the long term, real-life success of our students.

Leadership involves having the inner strength to make decisions and to take personal responsibility for the consequences of those decisions.

Leadership is enabling those whom you lead to be innovative problem solvers. Leadership is being able to buffer and protect those you lead from distractions and impediments so they may carry out their responsibilities unimpeded by those distractions.

Leadership is the ability to turn mistakes into “teachable moments” rather than “blamable moments”.

Leadership is knowing when to step back to give opportunities for those in your charge to take the lead, while understanding that ultimate responsibility rests with you.

Leaders understand that leadership is a way of life and therefore unbound by the time constraints of the school or business day/week

  • Community Partnerships

Community Partners are the heart of Project Based and 21st century teaching and learning. Having real-world professionals and others in the community work with our students to help address real-world problems present powerful opportunities for students to get involved and engaged as citizens and leaders while achieving and retaining, curricular and standards-based proficiencies. Community Partners also model good citizenship/leadership and provide opportunities for taking class trips that are fun and demonstrate real-world learning skills.

  • Mastery of Curriculum/Development of Higher Order Thinking Skills

The primary rationale to employ Project Based Learning is, in fact, as a tool for student achievement, both academically and socially. A project’s success is ultimately determined by whether the project-based activities are connected to grade appropriate curriculum and state standards and more importantly, whether these connections enable students to achieve mastery across a range of academic disciplines. We have seen that when students work within the Project Based methodology they own their educational processes, are engaged in a project’s activities, work cooperatively to achieve success, and see citizenship modeled by the Community Partners, then mastery of curriculum becomes more likely.

  • Technology/21st Century Skills

Any good project will be embedded with a wide array of real-world technology-based applications. We still, by and large, teach interminably about how to use tech applications with our students. Well, that ship has sailed given the fact that the younger we are, the greater our ability to use technology in an agile way. So now, more than ever we need an educational paradigm shift away from learning how to use technology and towards using it.

  • The Teachable Moment

Agile educators nimbly take advantage of those “off the curriculum grid” spontaneous learning opportunities when they occur. These teachable moments are powerful opportunities for effective, authentic teaching and learning to take place. Being able to identify and use real-time teachable moments is one of those transcendent qualities that good educators possess.

  • Reporting Out/Celebration

Students will report out to peers, school staff, and the larger community: What they learned, how they addressed the problems or issues, their final products and they will be celebrated for their important, authentic, real-time work

  • Fun

School and Fun? While the terms are usually perceived to be in diametric opposition to each other, students having FUN within the framework of their school-based activities is an integral aspect of Effective Teaching and Learning and is one of the overarching links that facilitate academic and civic success. This short video is a compilation from 2 elementary schools conducting on-site water monitoring and having FUN: https://youtu.be/4VaI_LWu8mY.

References

10 Hallmarks of 21st Century Teaching and Learning. (2016). Edutopia. Retrieved 25 October 2016, from https://www.edutopia.org/discussion/10-hallmarks-21st-century-teaching-and-learning

Building Schema – Monitoring for Meaning. (2016). Sites.google.com. Retrieved 25 October 2016, from https://sites.google.com/a/share.wilsonsd.org/freedom/building-schema

Differentiated Instruction for English Language Learners | Colorín Colorado. (2012). Colorincolorado.org. Retrieved 25 October 2016, from http://www.colorincolorado.org/article/differentiated-instruction-english-language-learners

 

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