I would like to see schools let go of their search for 21st century learning skills. The 21st century is here and we need to embrace a “new culture of learning” now. (Thomas & Brown, 2011) A slow rate of change in schools is viewed by some educators as expected and acceptable. Students, however, do not have time to wait for us to make changes to the work of schools. We can teach in ways that bring to life the words “where imaginations play, learning happens.” (Thomas & Brown, 2011) Through active use of technology tools, our students have the power to explore possibilities, collaborate with each other, to share their learning with the world – and to receive feedback on their work from this global audience. Students can make an impact right now by designing their learning journeys and expanding their understanding of the world. Â They need to do this without waiting for the adults around them catch up with the 21st century.Â By being participants in their own learning, students discover what it is they are curious about and can explore it in ways enabled by web 2.0 tools.
In their discussion about the power of play, Thomas and Brown describe how play can allow students to “discover what is important to them, what it is they actually want to learn…”. (Thomas and Brown, 2011, Ch. 9) When they are learning about what they care about, students explore,Â createÂ and build knowledge in authentic ways: ways that transform their understanding; learning that stays with them.
Classrooms, and the schools they are in, can be knowledge building collectives where students experience first-hand the act of discovery, risk taking, evaluating, exploration and collaboration. In a learning environment where everyone, including the teacher, is on a path of exploration, teaching and learning will be motivating and engaging. Student motivation will be sustained as they delve into â€œthings that matter to the learners and to the world.â€Â (Canadian Education Association, 2012)
What really counts? What really counts is creating learning environments that support students in being open to learning and active in their exploration of the world. In such environments, students will be able to move confidently into their own 21st century futures and teachers can run alongside trying to keep up.
Canadian Education Association. (2012, 09 01). Playing to Learn. Retrieved 10 10, 2012, from Canada Education Think Twice: http://www.cea-ace.ca/education-canada/article/playing-learn
Thomas, D., & Brown, J. S. (2011).Â A new culture of learning: Cultivating the imagination for aÂ world of constant change. [Kindle Edition]. doi: 10.4236/ce. 2012.33057
Image Credit: Evolve TechnologiesÂ http://evolvewithus.com/evolve-technologies-the-evolution-of-cloud-computing/
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