Integrating Technology In K12/21st Century Classrooms
What is 21st Century Education?
A fundamental part of the 21st century education system is about believing and achieving “the impossible.” Though making such a shift in the educational system is not easy, it is important to reinvent schools for the future well being of our society. The 21st century classroom is flexible, creative, challenging, and complex. We have been and we currently are under a technological revolution and our schools must keep up because we currently live in an increasingly diverse, complex culture. I point this out because students need to be able to communicate in ways older populations didn’t need, such as personally, socially, economically, and globally. Therefore, the 21st century classroom prepares young children by participating in real-life, real-world learning projects.
21st Century Skills
Students’ are taught skills throughout a project-based curriculum by utilizing seven skills: Curiosity and Imagination Accessing information Effective oral and written communication’ Initiative Adaptability Collaboration across networks Critical thinking and Problem Solving The goal is to create students who are globalized citizens. Teachers must use the media tools students grew up with as resources to gain intelligence. Students completely understand how to access these tools but most strictly use them for entertainment purposes. We can use those devices as they function in collaborative, researches-based environment.
How do you meet the needs of students in this 21st century world?
To meet the students needs in your classroom you need to become a media literacy expert. Our role as teachers must change from the factory-model education of the past. No more textbook lectures, no more teacher-centered paper and pencil schooling. A new way of designing and delivering lessons is mandatory. Schools will go from buildings to centers where the walls are transparent and teachers are connected as the students are with the community around them. The teachers primary role is to show the path to success and assist in learning and helping students turn information into knowledge.
To meet the needs of the students we must identify that there is a difference between the past learner and the current learner. Step one is to maintain student interest by helping them see what they are learning is preparing them for life in the “real world.” Secondly, teachers’ must instill curiosity to make learning more exciting. The third step is to be flexible when you teach, be creative. Lastly, we must excite learners to become even more resourceful so they continue to learn outside of the classroom.
21st Century Remodeling
The 21st Century classroom should not be equivilant to yesterday's factory model of schools, it is simply not appropriate anymore. The educational system is currently undergoing remodeling of present schools to create environmentally friendly and energy effiecient schools. Each school should be designed around the communities educational goals. The basic areas to consider are to avoid isolated classrooms, create selected space, create large areas of wall space, and place for performance.
You want to avoid a design of the traditional school that has students in isolated small classrooms. That design was towards 19th century learners which curriculum was based on a factory model system. Also, it is very important to create space for students and teachers where they can conduct their experiments and implement their projects. These spaces should be thought out for individual work as well as small to large groups. It is important to have wall space in the classroom to hang up posters and other projects displaying student's work. Lastly, the design should incorporate a place where parents can gather to watch student's presentations or performances and where they can meet for discussions.
CORE SUBJECTS AND THEMES of 21st CENTURY CURRICULUM
The following subjects are essential for students:
English/Reading/Language Arts World Language Arts Math Economics Science Geography History Government
These core subjects will construct a knowledge base for individuals for the future of our society. Promoting such a curriculum provides a higher level of thinking, in turn, the themes of our current society such as global awareness, economic, business, and financial literacy, health literacy, Environmental awareness and literacy.
Under these core subjects it's the teacher's role to suggest different forms of thinking and reasoning, inductive and deductive, in different situations. Use these subjects to analyze complex systems and their parts. Twenty-first century classrooms must inform students on effectively evaluating situations and making judgements and decisions while interpreting information.
Students will learn innovative skills throughout this curriculum. These skills include communicating clearly and collaborating with others. This means that students will articulate thoughts and ideas through speaking, writing, and nonverbal communication skills using different contexts. Students will learn the use of communication for multiple purposes: motivate, persuade, instruct, and inform. All the while, they will be intigrating tools to effectively communicate in diverse environments. To collaborate with others, students will share responsibility with classmates where they will demonstrate the ability to respectively work with diverse teams. They will assume shared responsibility for the final project to be done, and they will exercise flexibility to be helpful while accomplishing a task or specific goal.
Lastly, an important task as a teacher is to confirm failure as an opportunity to learn and creativity, communication skills and innovation skills is a long-term process, they may not see results right away.
Using Netbooks in the Classroom
Netbooks in Math
Math is a subject area that has a large range of student abilities in one classroom and how fast the student progresses. To some students, math comes easy and is fun; to other students, math is one of the most frustrating subjects in school. For the students it comes easy for, sitting through lessons on material they already know because other students need more/longer instruction can be extremely repetitive and boring. As the instructor, you will lose their attention and soon they may become distractions in the classroom making it harder for the already struggling learners to grasp the material.
Implementing netbooks in a classroom is a great way to make your math lesson individualized so it moves at the pace of each student. Videos can help add to teacher’s instruction and teachers can base examples and further instruction off of the videos they choose to use. In addition, interactive online practices games and activities can be used as practice for the students. By having the students practice the material this way, the games will benefit them in three ways: gives instant feedback when a student gets an answer wrong, lets the student practice until they know it, and moves at the individual’s pace.
Netbooks in Science
Being a student in a science classroom at one time, we know that science entails lots of hands on activities and experiments and to be completely honest, this is what makes science fun. Students love to get their hands dirty and get actively involved in what they are learning about. It is when students can physically see what they are being told that science becomes real to them and not just another thing they hear about from a teacher.
Netbooks can help a teacher in their science classroom in multiple ways. Many amazing simulation Gizmos can be found online. These simulation Gizmos will give students a better visual understanding of concepts that we as teachers could not give them otherwise. By each student (or a small group) having their own netbook they can go through the simulation Gizmos at their own pace to make sure they understand what is being said and shown. In addition, a huge part of doing experiments is collecting data. Many times experiments and activities will need to take place outside of the actual classroom. Netbooks are portable so it would be easy for the students to carry the netbooks with them to collect the information on the spot.
Netbooks in Reading
To be completely honest, reading off of a screen is not nearly as good as reading from a book itself; but that is the way our world is heading. Using netbooks for reading would not have to be an everyday thing. It is still important to have student be reading from actual books. But netbooks can be a way to differentiate instruction. They can be used to do interactive reading activities and also to give students a chance to listen to the recordings of books as a break from reading themselves. Even if students aren’t reading themselves, they are still building their vocabulary by listening to a story being read to them. At the same time, students can follow along on the screen so they are not only hearing it, but also seeing the words as they are being read to them. This would be a great tool for students who may be learning disabled in reading or have a cognitive disability. That extra little help will get them going in the right direction and give them that interest in reading that is so important.
Netbooks in Writing
A great tool netbooks provide is the access to Google Docs. By students working in Google Docs, the teacher can have access to the student’s files. Having this access allows the teacher the capabilities of monitoring student progress and commenting on students work right there on the page. Doing this also eliminates how much paper is being used, and to be completely honest, how much paper is being wasted.
Once again, the netbook is portable making it possible for students to move around the classroom if needed. This makes individual conferences with the teacher achievable and allows for students to work more easily in groups.
Using Wikis in the Classroom
Wikis are an increasingly popular tool being used all over the world. I will be discussing a few ways wikis can be used in any classroom for any subject.
1. Group Projects
Giving students the opportunity to work in groups is a great way to build collaboration and teamwork. The only downfall to working in groups is finding time that everyone can get together to work on the project at the same time. We all know it is never easy coordinate schedules.
Using wikis allows students to work together without actually being together. Each student can work on their part of the project and add their material from their own computer at their own time. Yet at the same time, they can still see what everyone else has done and can edit that material in anyway needed. If there are questions or topics that need to be discussed, the group doesn’t need to be in the same room to do it and email can cut people out of the discussion. There is a discussion section where all group members can see what the questions are and all can reply to each response.
2. “Take Home Folder”
Most elementary and middle schools have some form of a “take home folder” that sends important papers home for parents to see. Wikis can eliminate that use of paper by giving each parent the access to the wiki as the new form of the “take home folder”. Doing this eliminates students forgetting to bring the folder home and not showing the folder to their parents. It also adds the ability of parents to ask questions and make a discussion with the teacher/administration. This way, all parents are able to ask questions, see other’s questions, and read all of the responses.
3. Instructional Material
If teachers were to put their instructional information onto a wiki page, students would always have access to the information outside of the classroom. It would eliminate how many notes students have to take, therefore leaving more room for interactive activities and active learning. Also, many students come up with questions on material but by the time they get to ask, they have forgotten the question. If students come up with questions while they are outside of the classroom hours, they are able to just logon and ask their questions on the wiki page. Teachers can then answer these questions either in the next class period or have them answered on the wiki before the students return to the classroom. Lastly, it would make for a great source for students as they are working on their homework or projects when the teacher is not present to ask questions to.