What Does it Mean to Be a 21st Century Learner?

This weekend, I have spent a bit of time mulling over few different topics, very different from one another, all in between attending the Google Apps for Education Summit in Charlottesville, Virginia.

What does it mean to be a 21st Century Learner in today’s environment?

My thoughts have really been turning to this huge question over and over in the past year. Does it really mean the mass customization of learning? Does it mean more one a one-room schoolhouse approach to learning? With the flexibility of my position in the school system, I think about the necessary skill sets that student must have to transition from students to active members of our society. Some of these are:

  • Creative Problem Solving Skills
  • Computational Thinking Skills
  • Knowledge of Internet Ethics

In order for students to be preparing themselves for careers that do not exist, we educators must be creating thinkers who have the maturity to self-assess, challenge their own thinking, and be open-minded. In addition to basic knowledge-based processes, we must teach the ethics of proper intellectual property laws. So much of what these student can do revolves around their technological devices, that we must teach them about properly utilizing data for proper consumption.

Unfortunately, most of what students can do using technology consists of two veins: social networking, or socially-based internet practices, or interest-based internet practices, such as online gaming. How can we teachers best harness the current knowledge that students do have and extend their thinking to cloud computing and workplace readiness skills?

We must assess students based on competencies and not standardized tests. Tests to not show how ready students are for the real world. 

What do you all think about the needs of our future leaders? 

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