Twenty-first century readers and writers need to
• Develop proficiency with the tools of technology
As opposed to Shakespeare, who got by just fine by eating his pen and drinking his ink.
• Build relationships with others to pose and solve problems collaboratively and cross-culturally
Ah yes, collaboration. Never noted before, except in all the examples of trading across cultures, or working together in hunter-gatherer tribes. The Allies in WWII acheived their success by fighting with each other all the time.
• Design and share information for global communities to meet a variety of purposes
Sir Issac Newton's work on calculus is being used by global communities to meet a variety of purposes.
• Manage, analyze, and synthesize multiple streams of simultaneous information
This is a skill necessary for that 20th century skill of flying a plane. Or the 19th century one of driving a car.
• Create, critique, analyze, and evaluate multimedia texts
Why do we all need to do this? And what's the difference between critiquing, analysing or evaluating a text?
I also note that science textbooks have often been multimedia dating back before the 19th century (in less fancy language, they include pictures).
• Attend to the ethical responsibilities required by these complex environments
Because ethics only started to matter in the 21st century. Never mind all the debates amongst the Ancient Greeks about the good life.
On the whole I think the complexity of the literate environment we handle nowadays has reduced, because of better design of books and newspapers, cheaper printing allowing for more use of white space, typing standardising writing far more than handwriting is standardised, the rise of English as a second language not merely in Europe but in distant places like Asia and countries that were never colonised by the British, and other factors. Also, practice in solving problems cross-culturally has been making this easier - not perfect, but easier. Every case of successful cross-cultural trading makes the next step easier.
21st century skills are visual, not verbal
In my district, the visual is dominant. For the new "environmental stewardship" item on our Strategic Plan, kids were invited to --- wait for it! --- make posters.
For Honors English, students have the option of making posters.
For the new, improved, much more serious, advocated-by-the-PTSA ELA reading plan, the AP photography class is going to take pictures of teachers reading books and hang them in the hallways of the high school.
When you've reached the point where the first response to a request by the PTSA that students be assigned many more good books to read is to make posters of teachers reading books, you've missed the point.
As of this week, I think this is happening because students can't read. Schools are still using whole language repackaged as balanced literacy (whole language with phonics sprinkled in), and very large numbers of students don't read particularly well. A couple of days ago, I came across a personal account written by an attorney who couldn't read as a child -- and who, when he reached 8th grade, I believe -- had a social studies teacher who taught using lots of charts and graphs, which was unusual at the time. Suddenly, he could understand what was going on in class, his confidence rose, and he (somehow) prevailed.**He was extremely grateful to this man, whom he saw as the special teacher who saved him.
It struck me that, when their students fare better with visuals than they do with print, teachers would be positively reinforced for emphasizing charts, graphs, and images over text. If this were the case (assuming bright, barely reading students really do fare better with charts & graphs), over time teachers would gradually shift towards the visual without being aware of having done so. Slow changes for the worse go unnoticed.
Temple (Grandin) calls this phenomenon: the bad gets normal.
* Environmental stewardship falls under character education, in case you're wondering, along with "global awareness."
** I've lost the link - sorry. I found it via Wrightslaw.
why lawyers burn out
Independent George re: foldables
your tax dollars at work part 2
my busy day
not your father's formative assessment
remembering key concepts in math with foldables
south of the border
Steve H and palisadesk on foldables
homeschooling convention: no foldables
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21st century skills in Singapore
the master plan
horselaughs are heard in Singapore
more horselaughs in Singapore