|Posted on 15 November, 2014 at 17:00|
"Is your technology driving you or are you driving your technology?"
For many years now, educators have been reminded that we are preparing students for occupations and careers that don't yet exist. And now, teachers globally are making conscious efforts to ensure that all students of the future will develop those essential skills which will be deemed as necessary in years to come.
Nationally, syllabi's have been developed to include opportunities of 12st century learning and work readiness capabilities. 21st century learning is form of creating authentic education that addresses the “whole child”, the “whole person”, and does not limit our professional development and curriculum design to workplace readiness.
21st century skills learned through our curriculum, which is interdisciplinary, integrated, project-based, and more, include and are learned within a project-based curriculum. Tony Wagner goes further by utilizing the seven survival skills advocated in his book, The Global Achievement Gap:
- Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
- Collaboration across Networks and Leading by Influence
- Agility and Adaptability
- Initiative and Entrepreneurialism
- Effective Oral and Written Communication
- Accessing and Analyzing Information
- Curiosity and Imagination
These syllabus documents have been rolled out into each Australian state which is now seeing schools embed these innovative theories into practices that all students from K to 12 will learn, develop and master.
A key component of such educational practices is that of technology. Technology certainly enriches teaching and learning and plays an integral role in connecting real-life examples into the classroom. However, although teachers are looking for technologies to be integrated into classrooms, it must be a tool that is driven by curriculum. That is, it must not drive curriculum. It is essential that we create blended learning environments that encompasses both technologies and traditional forms of learning. Writing using pen/pencil and paper is still a life-long skill that students - children, of our future still need to possess. Students need to know that communication outside technologies is a real and critical form of gathering and sharing information and that, although tools such as Skype, Lync or Hangouts allow us to do this with others who are geographically distanced from us, sitting down with peers in the classroom can have more of an effect on ones wellbeing that chatting to someone via Edmodo or Ning.
Finding the balance to create a 21st century learning classroom that embeds all of these things is not a simple task. I am certainly not saying that we should omit technologies, but use them in the correct practical way that teacher our future citizens that there is a time and a place for technologies. Students should be exposed to a range of technologies such as Surface Pros, iPad, Tablets, laptops, phones, kindles and desktops so that they can individually determine which device is best practice to complete the task at hand. We should also practice skills of how to use certain technologies rather than not use these technologies. Blocking websites will not do anyone any favours. For example, blocking Facebook only makes students more determined to access in private and make them more reluctant to share this tool with others of authority (such as teachers and parents). This tool in particular, should be open to discussion and be a tool that individuals are proud to share with individuals that they actually converse with on a regular basis.