Monday, September 12, 2011

21st Century Teaching vs 21st Century Tools

As more of our classrooms become equipped with 21st Century tools such as interactive whiteboards, LCD projectors, document cameras, and teacher and student devices - some reflection is required.

If we accept the notion that technology does not define 21st Century teaching, then what needs to change?

Lower order skills can be taught by lecturing and using chalk on a blackboard or an overhead projector.  We need to acknowledge that the same lower order skills can be taught by lecturing using an interactive whiteboard, a laptop connected to an LCD projector, and a document camera.

Scenario A
A teacher has prepared a lesson on World War 1 using PowerPoint.  The teacher connects his/her laptop to the classroom projector and projects the PowerPoint presentation onto an interactive whiteboard for the class to copy notes.  Some students copy the notes into their notebooks, while others use their iPad/Netbook/Laptop  to copy notes into a wordprocessor.  One student logs into their online account in Evernote and syncs the notes to their home computer.

Scenario B
A teacher stands at the front of the class, and moves the overhead up and down to uncover the typed notes that were used last year to cover the same topic. Students copy the notes during class and occasionally ask the teacher to slow down since they aren't finished copying the previous section before the notes are moved to allow space on the overhead projector for the next page.

Quiz time:  Which scenario is an example of 21st Century Learning?
Answer:     Neither!

Digital Resources

Scenario C
Students are assigned to one of five groups.  Each group represents a country.  Each group is asked to:
- assign the following roles to members of the group: President/Prime Minister, wife of a soldier, soldier, member of the clergy, radio reporter.
- prepare a 5 minute radio interview that will be Broadcast across the Country that involves each member in the group above taking part in the interview
- The interview broadcast will take place live at 9:00 a.m.
- Group 1 interview takes place in 1914, group 2 in 1915, group 3 in 1916, group 4 in 1917 and group 5 in 1918.

Scenario C will require students to learn the facts that they would have memorized in Scenario A and Scenario B,  but the activity will require analysis, synthesis, point of view and different perspectives, and will likely result in the use of multimedia tools for researching, validating, creating and presenting the resulting knowledge... not filling in the blanks with facts that have been memorized without understanding the relevant context.

The skilled 21st Century Teacher would have included learning goals and  a rubric at the beginning of the activity so that students understood how they would be assessed.  The teacher would have provided some guidance toward quality resources, and established time lines and group norms.  The 21st Century Teacher focuses on the higher order thinking skills as outlined in Bloom's revised taxonomy.

Digital Resources and Professional Learning

Here are 10 suggested resources for Ottawa Catholic School Board teachers creating 21st Century Learning Environments.   Staff can access the login and password information from their BlackBoard portal launch page.

1.  Discovery Education Canada Plus
A rich resource of over 120,000 learning objects, many interactive, animations, video, audio and more.  The Ottawa Catholic School Board covers the subscription cost to allow our teachers access to these resources.

2.  Learn 360
Over 73,000 rich multimedia elements from trusted sources to help engage students.  The Ontario ministry of education covers the subscription cost to allow all Ontario teachers access to these resources.

3.  Ontario Educational Resource Bank
Over 25,000 resources and learning objects directly related to the Ontario curriculum.  The Ontario ministry of education provides this resource through eLearning Ontario.  Click here to see a full list of courses available in 2011-2012.  New this year, full courses will be available to regular daytime teachers.

4. Simple K12
Simple K12 provides professional resources, webinars, and online training to teachers based on an anytime, anywhere in-service and professional development model.  The Ottawa Catholic School Board covers the subscription cost to allow our staff continued learning opportunities.

5.  Google Docs (access via BlackBoard portal)
Google Docs provides students and staff with opportunities to collaborate, share, and build resources using web 2.0 tools and resources.

6.  Smart Exchange
Connect with other teachers from around the World, and share learning objects and learning activities to promote the interactive use of your classroom interactive whiteboard.

7.  Web 2.0 Classroom 
Staff are encouraged to join this classroom web 2.0 Ning to participate in free webinars, share resources, and learn how to engage students through the proper use of web 2.0 and social media tools.

8.  EduTecher
Web 2.0 tools and tutorials with daily recommended sites for teachers.

9.  EduGains
Visit this portal created by the Ministry of Education.  The focus is on improving instructional practice based on research and high yield teaching strategies.

10.  Recommended Blogs/Sites with excellent resources

Of course, there's lots more, like:  Kathy Schrock's resources, Teacher Tube, Khan Academy, etc. but that's enough to keep you going for this week!

1 comment:

  1. The lesson outlined provides an excellent example for teachers as we continue to shift to inquiry learning and higher order thinking skills!Brenda Wilson