A most common phrase you might hear in schools today is “21st Century Learning“, and how schools and teachers are (or are not) preparing students for a 21st Century World. At UVEI we even use a prompt related to this during admissions for prospective teachers.
The title of this post is somewhat tongue-in-cheek. After all, shouldn’t we be preparing students for the 22nd Century? A student entering Kindergarten now will graduate from college in about 2030! Besides, we are actually 13% of our way through the 21st Century anyway!
Regardless, when I hear this phrase, I often hear it in the same sentence as “technology”, as it the goal was to become more technologically proficient. But really it’s so much more than that.
Technology is not the focus of 21st Century Learning, rather, it has caused, massive changes in what we need to learn. The idea that teaching and learning is about absorbing large amounts of factual knowledge is not something that will well serve tomorrow’s adults. They need the “Wagner Skillset.”
Technology has played a part in this, but 21st Century Skills are not about learning technology, they are about using technology.
The video below has a great line, “many of the jobs students will have don’t even exist yet.” Our children need to be, more than anything else, adaptive and flexible.
If you have children at elementary school, ask yourself this. Is the homework they are bringing home helping them learn this critical skills of critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity? Or is it drill and kill trying to memorize facts and figures.
I’ll leave you with the question we ask our interns, “if you are the parent of a child at school, how do you hope their teacher is preparing them for tomorrow’s world?”