Essential Question: How have you, and will you continue to “Learn the 21st Century” and allow your students this experience in your classroom?
Obtaining a Master’s in Educational Technology has definitely helped me stay current with 21st century teaching skills. Before entering the UAS Ed. Tech program I sought out professional development that would help me stay current with teaching and technology trends. When I taught in a rural village in Alaska I was fortunate to attend many different teaching conferences. Thoughtful Learning lists 21st century skills as:
- Critical Thinking
- Creative Thinking
- Information Literacy
- Media Literacy
- Technology Literacy
- Social Skills
As an educator I try to do my best to foster all theses skills in my classroom. Taking UAS courses has helped a great deal. Last year being an instructional technology teacher I learned a lot about integrating technology and technology tools from my colleagues.
Most of the responsibility of staying current with 21st century skills is on the teacher, however I believe that administration, school board members and community members also have a responsibility to help teachers stay current. Districts need to integrate time and money into quality professional development that allows teachers to learn 21st century skills. My district was looking at budget cuts for the 2015-16 school year. Last year the district planned on a new laptop roll out for teachers for 2015-16. It was decided that because the district needed to cut the budget that teachers would not be getting new laptops. One idea that was presented to the board was having teachers share their laptops. A comment was made that some teachers only use their laptops for checking email and entering grades. Along with other cuts the district decided to make cuts to instructional technology teachers. The instructional technology teachers taught lessons across grade levels to ensure all students received equitable technology opportunities. They also coached teachers and helped with technology troubleshooting issues. My point is, if we can’t get stakeholders i.e. administration, school board members and community members to understand the importance of technology then how can we expect teachers too.
According to Martinez & Stager (2013), “Failure to embrace the kids’ competence, capacity, and creativity leads educators to deprive children of opportunities to achieve their potential. Worst of all, it cheats children out of the rich 21st century childhood they deserve.” I wholeheartedly agree with this statement. I believe that it is important as a teacher to stay current with skills. Not only because it will make me a better teacher, but most importantly it will positively effect my students and prepare them for their future. As stated by Stevens (2011), “It’s up to educators to find the best ways to integrate technology in fulfilling curriculum requirements.” I will continue to do my best to incorporate technology into my classroom and seek out professional development, while collaborating with educators in the hopes to stay current with educational and technological trends in education.
Martinez, S., & Stager, G. (2013). Invent to learn: Making, tinkering, and engineering in the classroom. Constructing Modern Knowledge Press.
Stevens, M. (2011). 21st-Century learner. National Education Association. Retrieved July 28, 2015, from http://www.nea.org/home/46989.htm
Thoughtful Learning. (2014). What are 21st century skills? Retrieved July 28, 2015, from http://thoughtfullearning.com/resources/what-are-21st-century-skills