kitchen table math, the sequel: 21st century skills

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

21st century skills

What are 21st century skills? (hit refresh if necessary)

Do we know?


update

oh

I've got it

communication and problem-solving


update update

uh-oh

from Teacher 2.0: Developing the 21st Century Workforce:

re: laptops in the schools

Are any of us surprised? Laptops programs do not yield improved results on standard testing. Furthermore, students are distracted by video games, YouTube, blogs and IM.

[snip]

Before we distribute laptops to every student we need to build organizational capacity to ensure that our investment in technology really pays off:

  • Move all rote curriculum to the web for immediate student review and to free teachers from the tedium of delivery and assessment chores of this kind of content
  • Design more motivating and rigorous assignments
  • Redefine literacy to include web literacy and global communication literacy
  • Shift the balance of control between learners and the organization of school
  • Redefine education from the child to the whole family
  • Redefine the job description of students to be content producers as well as consumers
  • Redefine the job description of teachers as building learning communities instead of teaching 20 individuals in a classroom
  • We need to redefine leaders to be innovators and team leaders instead of managers


I'm pretty sure I'm against this.

All of it.

Especially "Redefine education from the child to the whole family."

That one gives me the willies.

6 comments:

Tracy said...

21st century skills - communication and problem-solving?

Hmmm, what were Western schools back in the 19th century (or the 14th century, or the 4th century BC) teaching?

Reading, writing, grammar, Latin (necessary in the 14th century to take part in educated discourse), public-speaking (rhetoric) - or in other words, communication skills.

Also, maths (look at all those Ancient Egyptian math textbooks), logic, philosophy, in other words problem-solving skills.

What did people need from school in the 4th century BC, or the 14th century or the 19th century? How to communicate and how to solve problems - and in some centuries lots of Christain theology but for the locals that probably was an important part of developing morality, which is of course another sort of problem-solving skill (how do I live my life so as to further God's glory?)

If we're human we need to communicate and solve problems. There's nothing special about the 21st century.

Catherine Johnson said...

I'm going to have to ask our superintendent what exactly she means by 21st century skills.

Now that we're entering our Strategic Planning process, the phrase "21st century skills" is cropping up in the backpack letters.

Instructivist said...

"If we're human we need to communicate and solve problems. There's nothing special about the 21st century."

Very well said.

Educationists are notorious for breathlessly trumpeting the most mundane things that have been around for a long time as earthshaking new discoveries.

SteveH said...

"I'm pretty sure I'm against this."

I think you're more than pretty sure.

There is no connection between the problems of laptops in schools and the agenda the author is pushing. You could substitute anything for the bullets and the justification would be the same.

You also have to watch out for educators who talk about K-16. They would just love to get their hands on state colleges and universities.

KathyIggy said...

Especially "Redefine education from the child to the whole family."

Like it's not there already between EM and projects? The other night my 1st grader was doing an EM "challenge" problem (one of those that drop from the sky) and we were laughing that "challenge" really means, "problems where Mom and Dad tell you the answer and how to do it." Only 10 more days to go this year--I bet half of them are fieldtrips, field day, picnics, and fun stuff anyway.

Catherine Johnson said...

Educationists are notorious for breathlessly trumpeting the most mundane things that have been around for a long time as earthshaking new discoveries.

oh gosh is that the truth

I just got my copy of Martin Brooks' book --- woo hoo!

I'm going to be busy typing up passages!