Introduction – Education in the 21 st Century
Revised August 2008.
Your Assignment, Should You Choose to Accept It.
Like Alice, many educators, policy makers and even the general public respond resoundingly with "That's impossible!" when challenged to adopt a new paradigm of education for the 21st century. Most people today adhere to a paradigm of education that is strictly 19th century. But, like the Queen, a growing number of educators are believing in and accomplishing "the impossible".
Scott McLeod, in his blog, Dangerously Irrelevant. recently reminded us of a line from Mission Impossible. and we must apply that challenge to all of society. "Your assignment, should you choose to accept it" is to take education truly into the 21st century. It is not enough to say that we are already living there. Technically it is the 21st century, but our schools are not there, and our challenge now is to reinvent schools for the 21st century - for the sake of our children, our students and the welfare of our world. Making such a paradigm shift is not easy. After all, when any of us thinks of education, we usually think of what we knew as school - the way it has always been. That is how parents, policy makers, politicians and many students think of school. But we have to make the paradigm shift to 21st century education.
So what is 21st century education? It is bold. It breaks the mold. It is flexible, creative, challenging, and complex. It addresses a rapidly changing world filled with fantastic new problems as well as exciting new possibilities. Fortunately, there is a growing body of research supporting an increasing number of 21st century schools. We have living proof, inspiring examples to follow, in schools across the United States. These schools vary, but are united in the fundamentals of 21st century education - see Critical Attributes of 21st Century Education and Multiple Literacies for the 21st Century. Scott McLeod has issued the challenge of creating a plan to get us from "here" to "there".
The 21st Century
The new millennium was ushered in by a dramatic technological revolution. We now live in an increasingly diverse, globalized, and complex, media-saturated society. According to Dr. Douglas Kellner at UCLA this technological revolution will have a greater impact on society than the transition from an oral to a print culture. 1
Today's kindergarteners will be retiring in the year 2067. We have no idea of what the world will look in five years, much less 60 years, yet we are charged with preparing our students for life in that world. Our students are facing many emerging issues such as global warming, famine, poverty, health issues, a global population explosion and other environmental and social issues. These issues lead to a need for students to be able to communicate, function and create change personally, socially, economically and politically on local, national and global levels.
Even kindergarten children can make a difference in the world by participating in real-life, real-world service learning projects. You're never too young, or too old, to make your voice heard and create change that makes the world a better place.
Emerging technologies and resulting globalization also provide unlimited possibilities for exciting new discoveries and developments such as new forms of energy, medical advances, restoration of environmentally ravaged areas, communications, and exploration into space and into the depths of the oceans. The possibilities are unlimited.
21 st Century Skills
21 st Century Schools, LLC recognizes the critical need for developing 21 st century skills. However, we believe that authentic education addresses the “whole child”, the “whole person”, and does not limit our professional development and curriculum design to workplace readiness.
21 st century skills learned through our curriculum, which is interdisciplinary, integrated, project-based, and more, include and are learned within a project-based curriculum by utilizing the seven survival skills advocated by Tony Wagner in his book, The Global Achievement Gap.
- Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Collaboration across Networks and Leading by Influence Agility and Adaptability Initiative and Entrepreneurialism Effective Oral and Written Communication Accessing and Analyzing Information Curiosity and Imagination