This morning for the first Learning Leader meeting, we watched the Seth Godin video, “Stop Stealing Dreams”. Seth talks about how education began and what the status quo has been for a long time. No matter how education came into being or how it has evolved, it should be pretty obvious, especially to educators, that it does not work for everybody.
So, what do we do for those learners who have said it didn’t work for them or those students of ours our are already saying that? I think that as educators, we should move towards looking at how to meet the needs of 21st century learners. I feel like learning in the 21st century is very different from learning that occurred in the past. Once upon a time, people didn’t have the access to information that is currently available. As as student in the current system not even 15 years ago, I was limited by what my schools had to offer and I was limited by what my parents had to offer. My parents had lots of books and exposed us to lots of ideas, but it was still limited. The schools tried to offer a glimpse of diversity but that diversity was still limited. Libraries are great but they are still a limited resource because they do not contain access to every single idea or every single piece of information available. Even when you add up the access provided by schools and parents and libraries, there was still a finite amount of information available.
Fast forward to today. The amount of ideas and information that are available with the click of a mouse button are seemingly infinite. If there is an idea or a person that I disagree with, I don’t have to discuss those differences. I can simply click to another site or do another search until I find something that supports what I think. There is no mechanism where we learn to tolerate differences let alone explore those differences. I think that is a unique challenge faced by 21st century learners. It is not something that has been a problem before because when you are in a classroom or in a static location you are sort of forced to explore those differences. Even if you don’t fully explore them, you are still sharing the same physical space. I think more attention needs to be given to how to share the same virtual space because the lines between virtual communication and real life communication are being blurred at a staggering rate.
Young people have a different attitude about technology than older people do. A lot of older people are leery of technology and are not comfortable with it, and I had even been reluctant to ‘make the jump’ to Twitter until I TRIED it. Kids that are growing up today are what is known as digital natives. There has never been a time in their lives when they have not had computers as part of the scenery. There has never been a time when they have not been able to go online. Learning how to use a mouse and keyboard is something that they learn early on. I know that my 2 1/2 year old niece is already quite proficient with an iPhone and now that the district has given me an iPad for this project, she’s added iPad to her limited vocabulary! She can navigate to her favorite apps using the folders on both devices that I have set up for her. Watching her play and learn so quickly has me wondering if the role of the teacher shouldn’t be evolving just as quickly…@JanelleLongpre #psd70