Creativity is the Fuel

Carole's Blog

What Really Counts? Post #3 EDER 679 Technology and Society

Filed under: EDER 679.05 October 14, 2012 @ 8:55 pm

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.  They need to do this without waiting for the adults around them catch up with the 21st century. 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, create 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 “things that matter to the learners and to the world.” (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:

Thomas, D., & Brown, J. S. (2011). A new culture of learning: Cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change. [Kindle Edition]. doi: 10.4236/ce. 2012.33057

Image Credit: Evolve Technologies


  1. Nancy Toy:

    Hi Carole,

    Your comments this week reminded me of our personal responsibility as teachers to stay current and passionately motivated to grow and learn. It is very easy in the busyness of life and teaching to become complacent and drawn into the ‘status quo’ – just doing what needs to get done and nothing more. However, knowing that the world is ever-changing and evolving does not allow us to do this. We have a choice – to actively engage in the change process or to allow passivity to drive us to the sidelines. Learning requires to us to “get in the game” with our students. We need to play, explore, imagine and create with them. For far too long, I think the act of teaching has become a ‘spectator sport.’ It no longer sufficient for teachers to direct from the sidelines. We need to create a larger vision of learning, which requires us to become a part of the team – where we can inspire, collaborate and challenge one another to grow and develop as learners.


  2. Christina:

    Hi there,
    Both the comments and blog post have really struck home with me. There are times in my work as a Middle School administrator that I feel I am ‘running alongside to keep up’ with the lives and ways of the teenage mind. Staying open, keeping fresh, and playing with technology in one’s spare time are the road signs that set my course straight when I’m running behind. I don’t always remember these things, nor did I as a classroom teacher, when I do, things seem to run more smoothly. I remember chatting with a student of mine in detention about Angry Birds. It was like lights went on and he saw me a fellow-human all of a sudden. He felt seen as a teen!

    Thanks for the thoughts today!

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