Monday, July 02, 2007

NECC Take Aways- Setting a direction

One of my great finds on the exhibit floor was actually a T-shirt. It is not that the T-shirt is so fashionable , although it is better looking than the big yellow bag, but the message on the shirt is truly worth pondering. The shirt came form NetTrekker and the message was crafted by a group of educators...It reads as follows-

21 Skills for 21st century learning!

Can your students....

Make complex choices?

Benchmark a process?

manage a negotiation?

Communicate clearly?

Motivate others?

Connect globally?

Organize information?

Cope with change?

Read a digital map?

Demonstrate innovativeness?

Resolve conflict?

Distinguish fact from opinion?

Respond to a blog?

Frame problems and solutions?

Sell ideas to others/

Give an effective presentation?

Set priorities and goals?

Lead a team?

Use technology well?

Learn outside the classroom?

Work effectively in teams?

One of my take aways from Edubloggers and NECC had to do with clarifying the goal. Our school will be revisiting our Student learning Expectations (SLEs) this year. They represent our unique identity and our understanding of what students will know and be able to do when they graduate from our school. We wrote our current SLE’s 5 years ago and they were very content oriented, reflecting pretty discreet packages of knowledge we would impart to the students. A lot has changed since then. The questions above can form the framework of some great discussion for all of us. They reflect a shift in pedagogy, at least as I see them, from information to skills. Not just any skills though, essential skills requiring much more that mechanical mastery of a process.

I also think the new NETS are an essential framework for this discussion. I will spend the summer with staff members reflecting and collaborating on what they will look like in the classroom. By definition they too represent a shift in pedagogy and focus much less on the tools and much more on the requisite learning/thinking skills. The broad framework of creativity and innovation, communication and collaboration, research and information fluency, critical thinking problem solving and decision making, digital citizenship, and technology operations and concepts may well become the organizational structure of curricular content.

This whole exercise will give us an opportunity to think outside box. Can we unpack our content areas and move the modules around to create an inter-connected curriculum that creates students who can…….

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Michael E. said...

Great thoughts, Barbara. I am virtual attendee of NECC, and have been perusing the blog posts over the last couple of weeks. Amazing how something like a t-shirt can have the biggest impact. It sounds as if you have some great conversations coming up soon. I posted on my site based on your post -


Barbara said...

Thanks Michael for the mention on your blog and for your comment here. We have a lot of work to do but I know now that the time spent on the pedagogy will lead to transformation. The tools are cool but when we focus to much on the gadgets we miss the point.

tom said...

That's a great list of skills. Except for one about blogging, these skills have nothing inherently to do with web tools, but everything to do with professional work standards.

I learned most of these skills not at school, but while on the job (which was almost never a teaching job). I learned them from my bosses and colleagues; I learned them by trying and failing, and figuring out what works, what doesn't.

And when did/will today's teachers learn these skills and learn how to pass them on to their students, especially when most of their time is eaten by discipline, paper, and teaching to the next test?

I agree totally with the notion that students need to learn these skills. But --with the ironic exception of extracurriculars like sports, clubs, theater, etc-- our schools are not designed to teach them. These are skills that are learned from models and mentors and peers, sometimes parents, and from doing things, not from worksheets and quizzes.

Oh boy, I feel a blog post coming on...