21st Century Skills

21st Century Learning Skills-Do you have them?


By: Andrea Chouhan

“For students to succeed in the coming decades, they must also learn to be creative, think critically, communicate, and collaborate.” New literacies of information, media and technology skills are additional skills that are vital for 21st Century Learning. Young children are already self-learning how to digitally think critically.

Let’s face it-children and students crave technology. Technology grabs their attention, is exciting and is engaging in many ways. Other than handheld blinking light toys, 2- 3 year olds first technology is the iPod or iPad. Its ease of use and simple directions are learned quickly. Young children learn that if they touch the screen-something exciting will happen. Sounds and animation are a given. This interactive technology wins against watching a cartoon on t.v.

The next type of technology that young children interact with is laptop computers. Like the iPad, it is handheld and interactive but in a different way. The computer allows a child to learn by searching the internet, using the keyboard to type letters and words, and using the mouse to click and drag objects on the screen.

All the above technologies foster learning by reaching out to so many learning styles: tactile, visual and auditory. Students today are influenced by the media-rich and instant technology based environment. Technology provides immediate, fast, engaging, and dynamic learning experiences. Students’ methods of learning are different than earlier generations. Students collaborate, network and communicate via technology, like Twitter, blogs, texting and Facebook. They learn online and rely on digital media for information and socialization. They crave this technology, just like prior generations craved the radio and talking on the home telephone.

It almost seems unfair that children have such easy access to technologies that were not even created when we were in high school. This brings up the fact that these children have the opportunity to learn more efficiently, than we did as children.

“Today’s students need to be prepared for life in a world that will require new skills. That need puts schools at the forefront of technology adoption and education.” In order for teachers to meet students “where they are at” schools must create a learning environment that inspires students to attain the 21st century skills that society demands of us. The classroom should be student-centered instead of teacher centered. In a student centered classroom, learners are engaged in meaningful conversations, interactions with technology and group-based tasks. The direction of learning is facilitated by the teacher, as opposed to being dogmatic about covering specific standards. Long gone should be teacher-centered classrooms, where the teacher stands in front of the classroom and talks while the students take notes and listen. Who actually likes to sit and take notes anyway? This is not a conducive style of learning for most people. This requires tough change, which begins with the school and then the teacher. This change begins with integrating and aligning technology within curriculum, instruction, learning standards, teacher professional development and student assessment. In order for schools, teachers and parents to nurture student learning, they must learn about these new technologies. Just as teenagers acquire more knowledge from the internet than they do their parents, we adults need to follow their example. To start with, I encourage you to investigate some of the new technologies that I have discovered. A simple Google search provided me with knowledge on the following: Augmented reality learning, iStation computer assessments, Animation-ish software. By clicking on the links below, you can begin your journey towards critical and creative thinking. Can you use these new technologies? Can your child or student use them? If so, how? Enjoy your learning journey!

References:

e-book, “21st Century Learning”: Tech & Learning Online Magazine http://newbay.ebookhost.net/tl/lenovo/1/index.php?e=41&open=1

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Computer-based Reading Assessment- http://www.istation.com/Assessment/ISIPEarlyReading

Animation-ish Graphic design Software for children- http://shop.fablevisionlearning.com/animationish/fa/shop.detail/productID/2542/

Letters Alive, Augmented Reality 3-D Software for the Whiteboard http://www.logicalchoice.com/archive/archive/augmented-reality-for-teaching-learning/letters-alive-curriculum-pre-k-k/

http://www.howstuffworks.com/augmented-reality.htm

http://www.scoop.it/t/augmented-reality-in-education-and-training

Augmented Reality Technology Brings Sesame Street Characters to Life | Augmented Reality in Education and Training | Scoop.it

http://popartoys.com/2011/05/3-d-interactive-augmented-reality-childrens-book-series-popar-debuts-at-the-new-york-international-book-fair/

Interesting Parenting Article: http://www.psfk.com/2010/10/the-digital-birth-of-the-modern-child.htmly

Interactive WhiteBoard interactivity!

Children love using Interactive whiteboards in the classroom. I have observed that children learn more and are involved more when they are actually interacting with the board, with their touch.  It is true that children learn by doing, therefore the whiteboard should be used to its full capability-instead of just being a backdrop to view Power Points and video’s. Power Points and video’s are important too, but should not be the only method for delivering instruction. Children are very capable of coming up to the screen and touching it to advance each slide. I have realized that I need to include more whiteboard interaction into my teaching. I will be using this cute little picture icon to display whiteboard activities that I have found online, from other other teachers. I am excited to start using other professionals activities!

Here are my teacher inspiration blogs below!

http://edutech4teachers.edublogs.org/2012/06/29/interactive-whiteboard-resources/

Here’s an early childhood one- It’s one of my favorites!

http://besbellotic.blogspot.com/2008_06_01_archive.html

http://upendogod.blogspot.com/2011/05/interactive-whiteboards-and-flipcharts.html

Here is an Australian sight that allows you to use activities for free.

http://www.seeshareshape.com.au/share/story.aspx?sc=53122&id=1105&ch=3

This one is by Carson Dellosa and includes a free download unit:

http://iwb.cdlearningspot.com/iwb/free/

More downloads here:

http://blog.learningtoday.com/blog/?Tag=interactive%20whiteboard%20math%20lesson

This post below is even better than mine and has a comprehensive list of hundreds of interactive lessons!

http://small-changes-big-returns.wikispaces.com/SMART+Board

IWB

Brain Pop Jr. is a great online tool for teaching!

                             images from google

If you have never used brain pop jr. or brain pop…you have to try it! Educators and parents can use brainpop jr. It is appropriate for younger students (I would say up to first grade). However, brainpop ,is for older kids. There is a cute little robot named Moby that guides the lessons and his friend does all the talking and explaining. It has such great content and depth, but is at the children’s level. One of my favorite lessons is about story characters. Moby gets dressed up with a Goldilocks wig and re-enacts the story. Hearing my students laugh and learn, at the same time, is such a wonderful thing to see! Some of my other favorite topics on brainpopjr. are: recycling, animal habitats, space, rocks & minerals, holidays, bike safety, family and so much more! Their website is: http://www.brainpopjr.com

Here is a link at the educator’s section that shows how a teacher uses brain pop in her classroom and in the computer lab: http://www.brainpop.com/video_tutorials/brainpop_jr_in_the_classroom/

So, there is a catch. Daily video’s are free. To view everything, you must subscribe. I never had to pay a dime because our PTO paid for it. You may even could write a grant to cover the costs. It is worth every penny, though. If my school ever stopped paying, I would do it myself. I cannot imagine teaching Science or Social Studies without brainpop jr.!

Poptropica is like facebook for children!

Poptropica

Poptropica (Photo credit: grace mcdunnough)

“Poptropica® is a virtual world in which kids explore and play in complete safety. Every month, millions of kids from around the world are entertained and informed by Poptropica’s engaging quests, stories, and games. Kids create a “Poptropican” character to travel the many Islands of Poptropica and use gaming literacy to enjoy a narrative that is often rooted in factual history. Problem-solving skills are honed as kids discover and solve mysteries unique to each Island. There are always new areas to explore in this ever-expanding world where kids can collect objects, read digital books and comics, watch movies, and compete in head-to-head competition. Parents can always trust that their children are playing-and learning-in a safe, online environment.” (direct quote from their website)

I must admit, I felt a little guilty for letting some of my students use Poptropica during free stations (or a no recess day, due to rain) in my classroom. I knew there must be something amazing to it though, and I am so happy to have found out that Poptropica is truly educational fun! I plan to use it as an incentive now in my classroom!

Students can blog too-read all about it!

Ok-I am sold! I will begin blogging with my students. Thanks to my “Kindergarten Teachers United” Linkedin group member, Sharon D., for sharing this idea with me. Kid blog looks so easy to set up and I am about to do it. I am excited to share me and my students journey with blogging in the classroom! Stay tuned for updates!

http://updates.kidblog.org/  “”Kidblog.org creator, Matt Hardy, was featured in the front page story for the Sunday Pioneer Press. Here is one quote from Matt, who is also a 3rd grade teacher in Minnesota:

“With blogs, it’s more about the ideas,” he said. “It’s not so much about the original post as it is about the discussion that follows, that trail of comments that comes afterward.””

Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy…low and high levels of technology!

Have you heard of it? Well, I have heard of Bloom’s Taxonomy, but never “Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy.” So, here it is-and I can’t wait to use it in my classroom! I will outline some key points from Andrew Churches document, based on Bloom’s levels of learning.

1. Remembering (Knowledge)- finding, locating, using a google search or bookmarking, social networking

2. Understanding (Comprehension)- explaining, blog journaling, subscribing, using twitter

3. Applying (Application)- using, executing, uploading, sharing, editing, hacking, playing, running

4. Analyzing (Analysis)- organizing, linking, validating, cracking, organizing, media clipping

5. Evaluating (Critical thinking)- judging, experimenting, critiquing, posting, moderating, blog commenting, reviewing, networking

6. Creating (Creative thinking)- designing, constructing, producing, inventing, programming, filming, animating, video blogging, wiki-ing, publishing, podcasting

I was so happy to stumble upon this information at an article found at the following blog: http://coolcatteacher.blogspot.com/

The original contents comes from a very thorough document created by Andrew Churches:

http://edorigami.wikispaces.com/file/view/bloom%27s+Digital+taxonomy+v3.01.pdf