Tuesday, November 09, 2010

21st century learning - what is it?

I am preparing for a couple of workshops, framed around the use of technology to enhance learning. The first to ‘learning advisers’, the other to teachers across the NZ tertiary sector. In general, I take a neutral stance, introduce ideas, provide opportunities for some hands-on computer-based try outs and then consolidate the concepts of collaborative learning, student engagement and ubiquitous computing. Also important to discuss the ways in which educators critically think through the reasons for integrating technology into their teaching and how technology may be useful for enhancing student learning through collaborative activities and projects.

Have provided several on Web 2.0 over the last couple of years, so time to do a refresh and update to Web 3.0. A video on 21st century teaching was introduced to me by Kirstin Dofs, our learning centre manager. I will use parts of this to show the changes education has to undergo in order for students to learn 21st century skills.Also some of the ideas summarised an animation of Sir Ken Robinson's ideas on the need for educational reform but with proviso's as discussed by George Siemen in a recent blog arguing that trying to meet current needs just means we continually 'chase our tails'.

To add to above is a recent Becta report from Derek Wenmouth's blog which I skimmed over the weekend. The report finds (through a study of teacher's logs) ICT makes possible new forms of classroom practice AND creates the possibility of a wide range of learning practices. So change is possible, given educators who are willing to put in the time to become familiar with technology and be savvy enough to make the most of ICT in enhancing student learning.

A couple of months ago, I worked through Mark Threadwell's book which summarises some of the above and provides ideas for improving teaching and learning using ICT. His website has a good list of books and resources to start teachers up on adopting use of technology as ONE form of learning engagement.

Other resources previewed in the last couple of months, which I have considered via Greg's blog, a Dunedin school principal are 3 youtube videos – difference between 20th & 21st century teachers. One from John Seely Brown on 21st century learners,  David Willingham on – learning styles don’t exist and Greg Wilby on the importance of theory based practice.

So lot's of ideas to build the presentation on Web 3.0 and 21st century learning. Will need to sift through them and maintain a strong thread so that the overall argument is maintained - educators need to make an effort in order to help enhance student engagement, using technology to assist may be one option.