21st Century Learning

Preparing Youth for Online Civic, Political Action

Monday, April 30, 2018 Comment TCscreenshot

The internet is where many young people get their news and express their own perspectives on civic and political issues. So, how can educators prepare them to be heard in an informed and impactful way in today’s digital age? Several new Teaching Channel videos provide some great ideas and examples of what’s possible. For example, in one video, featuring a lesson on creating digital stories, students in high school English teacher Janelle Bence’s class, share what they learn from the lesson. One of the students says: “This generation is just a techie generation, you know? Including


What Do We Mean When We Talk About 21st Century Learning?

Monday, May 22, 2017 Comment future school

The signifier “21st century” has become ubiquitous in educational policy discourse. A glance at most local, state, and national education plans reveals reference after reference to the need for “21st century schools” focusing on “21st century skills” that prepare “21st century students.” For example, the term appears (quite appropriately) 21 times in the U.S. Department of Education’s National Education Technology Plan. Authors of the Common Core State Standards in Literacy indicated that standards were adopted only when determined “essential for college and career readiness in a 21st century, globally competitive society.” The National Assessment for Education Progress


The Importance of Connected Learning Leadership

Monday, February 27, 2017 Comment

At the beginning of our conversation, Emily Vickery cautioned: “I can’t talk about being a connected educator without talking about teacher leadership.” In addition to teaching English at Pensacola (Florida) Catholic High School, Vickery also serves as a “21st Century Learning Specialist” who designs and delivers professional learning for teachers on curriculum design, pedagogy, assessment, learning management and the use of digital tools. “I kind of backed into it — I was a reluctant teacher leader,” she was quick to add. Coming from “a family of teachers, preachers, and farmers,” Vickery swore she would never become


Safely Guiding Students on Learning Journey

Monday, February 20, 2017 Comment classroom with teacher and students

I remember the first year I started teaching. It was exhilarating and confusing and led me to a mini-existential crisis of sorts that I imagine often when you walk into a class with a bunch of faces staring at you who assume you have all the answers and the key to their future. Why else would they be there? I had a conversation with a dear friend and I asked her the point of teaching. She said: “To remember that students don’t know what they don’t know, but that they are in that space to learn


The Contradiction of Borderless Technology in a Border-Filled World

Thursday, August 25, 2016 Comment cars at U.S.-Mexico border

As I am slowly making my way through an analysis of the mission statements and strategic technology plans of the United States’ largest K-12 public school districts, one thing is becomingly increasingly clear to me — nearly every district is striving to prepare students to be “21st century ready,” but none define what exactly this means. Instead, what they are doing is throwing around terms like “global citizenship” or “21st century economy” to stress the necessity of new investments in pedagogical models (e.g. blended learning) and digital infrastructure. I’ve realized that education policy discourse (particularly when it