Shifts in the world = shifts in education? Welcome to the 21st Century!

I have three things very much on my mind, lately…

  1. the general direction that education is going;
  2. technology and how best to integrate it/use it/teach it;
  3. and, the work we’re doing at my school on continuing to build a collaborative culture.

Until I wrote that previous sentence I have been thinking of those three things separately. I must be going blind/losing my mind. Seeing them in print – it hits me hard that they are all inextricably related. The fourth thing, that ties the three together, is what I deal with at work on a daily basis.

I read Jay Cross’ Internet Time blog (irregularly) when I want to reflect on 21st Century learning as it spans the worlds of education and business. He descriptively summarizes the direction the world is going when he talks about learning…

The process of seeking out and sharing meaning is a responsibility of enlightened social citizenship… Work-life was much simpler in the last century. Information work entailed following instructions, logical analysis and left-brained procedures. Today’s concept work is improvizaton (sic). Learning leaders must deal with situations that aren’t in the rule book. Concept work relies on pattern recognition, tacit knowledge and the wisdom borne of experience. You can’t pick this up in a workshop… The workplace has changed. Business has become unpredictable. Results are asymmetric. Everyone’s connected…  Learning and work are converging. Time has sped up… The 21st century workplace is so different from its predecessor that managers and professionals must

follow a new set of practices to succeed.

Which leads to my thoughts on technology and education. There’s so many amazing blogs and websites that deal with technology, integrating it into instruction, tips and tools, etc. One of the most comprehensive ones I’ve come across is Educational Origami. I like it for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is how it organizes ‘Digital Approaches’ into the revised Bloom’s Taxonomy categories. Useful for educators to help students build the competencies/practices necessary to negotiate and succeed in the 21st Century workplace that Jay Cross describes.

Every ounce of my being believes that developing a collaborative culture in which administrators, teachers, students and parents learn together by establishing what outcomes are essential (the Target); how we will know students are achieving those outcomes (the Evidence); and, what we will do to support ALL students in achieving those outcomes (the Action) is THE WAY TO GO! Rick DuFour and his Solution Tree colleagues have a great blog (for all of us) that helps keep us focused on how to develop a real collaborative culture centered on learning. Problem is… it ain’t easy!

Procrastination, Coblaboration instead of Collaboration, unwillingness to adjust practice based on evidence because ‘that’s the way we’ve always done it’ all make it very difficult to stay on course and promote a collaborative focus on learning.

More to come later on using Targets, Evidence and Action as an organizer for school improvement and focusing on improving student learning…thank you, Jennifer Sparrow, EARCOS Expert Practitioner!

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