>> 21CL01 >> Aligning 21st Century Learning with Learners

Hello everybody!

This is the first of my new series of articles on 21st Century Education, as part of Twitter #edsg’s thematic tweets project.

Unlike the challenging but important theme of “Identity“, it is easier to find readily-understood material on “21st Century” Education, which also has some bearing on “identity” (viz. how does a learner be and become as s/he navigates this fast-changing world). The bad news is that there is a plethora of perspectives on 21st Century Learning, and many frameworks by different countries and various organisations purporting to provide 21st century education. You can read for yourself examples from Singapore, from Finland, and from P21.  I shall not bore you with the details but I think many of the frameworks involve, inter alia, Communication, Creativity, Collaboration and Critical Thinking.

I have always wondered why “21st Century” Education is labelled as such, since I felt this is what education should have been all along. Perhaps the need for a wholistic and relevant education for everybody seems to be felt acutely only in recent times, due to the rapid changes in technology, in the ways of doing business, in economies, in ways of communication, in globalisation,all of which affect everybody around the world.  Indeed, today we live in a VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) environment.

What is so “21st Century” about “21st Century” Education? The ever-changing technology is, needless to say, part of the backdrop of our everday lives, like it or not. But chasing technology, having the latest toys, gadgets, apps and educational fads does not cut it. For example, getting students to blindly copy and paste articles from Wikipedia does not constitute any meaningful learning. If pupils take a photograph of a mathematics problem and have an app to solve it for them, are they really learning how to think themselves?  Students should be learning important skills and dispositions of communication, creativity, collaboration and critical thinking and other things, with or without technology.

I’ve chosen a series of YouTube videos which talk about 21st century learning. You get to listen to various experts’ and practitioners’ points of view. I have also selected videos that show examples of how 21st century skills can work in schools that have already begun to implement 21st Century education successfully, and videos on how mindsets are to be changed.

You are invited to critically watch and discuss these videos about 21st Century Learning on #edsg and/or post a comment below. Today’s video is Aligning 21st Century Learning with 21st Century Learners.

As you watch the video, do ponder these questions:-
Q1) Why do we need “21st Centry Education”?
Q2) How is “21st Centry Education” different from most current “education” around the world?
Q3) What qualities or sorts of character must learners acquire to be able to cope with the 21st century? What sort of identities should they cultivate?
Q4) How does technology play a part in 21st Century education?
Q5) Should we focus in teaching the skills for specific software? Why / why not?
Q6) How should learning be “assessed” in the 21st Century? Alternatively, how do we let learners show (to themselves, their peers, their teachers, and their parents) that they have indeed learnt on their own?
Q7) What is the role of parents in Education? Who is/are accountable for the children’s education?
Q8) What is the role of the learners in Education?
Q9) What are the things that need to be aligned when we pursue 21st Century Education?
Q10) Do you have any of your own observations, remarks or questions?

 

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