What 21st-century learning does/doesn’t look like

By Anne Collier

This post points to how technology in the classroom is and isn’t done properly in the classroom, thanks to teacher Vicki Davis writing in Edutopia and university student Hillary Reinsberg writing in the Huffington Post. Davis talks about helping students (in the first 5 min. of the first day) turn personal Web portals like My Yahoo or iGoogle into their own “personal learning networks” (PLNs) – the new school locker. Her 9th-grade student says the approach “helps me keep things organized. It lets me know when my agenda changes,” and Davis adds: “The fact that a ninth grader would talk about her own research agenda gives a glimpse into the power of the PLN; she is using a term here that is often reserved for grad students.” How not to do this?: Reinsberg describes in a way that puts me to sleep just reading it: “The lights go dim, eyes begin to shut and the room gets quiet…. Welcome to a college lecture hall in 2010. Too many classes begin the same way: with an often cheesy PowerPoint presentation. The professor hooks up a projector to a computer and spends ninety minutes clicking through a series of slides.” Hopefully, that isn’t happening in too many middle and high schools! Because integrating 21st-century learning tools doesn’t work with the sage-on-the-stage approach, which makes not allowance for the self-directed learning required for a user-driven media environment and participatory culture.

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