When we compare our current education system with the traditional one, we hardly find few changes in it. But in the near future, the situation will never be the same. 21st Century education system will be experiencing tremendous changes in it. Students,
parents, educators, administrators, principals, policy makers, education leaders and everyone who is involved in the education system have recognized the need of switching our old education system to the new upgraded version (21st Century Education). We live in a world which changes rapidly with time to time. In such a fast paced world, our traditional educational methods won’t be effective anymore. For example, students spend so much of their free time on mobile devices such as smartphones, laptops and tablets playing games, using different apps, listening to music, etc. If they’re confined to their seats the whole day listening to the long lectures of educators, they won’t be able to concentrate much, they’ll count time and wait for the bell to ring. This is just a basic example why our old education system fails to engage students in their learning. It’s not the failure of teachers, students or parents; it’s a failure of the education system which is still being continued even if it is out-of-date. Let’s have a look at these statistics:
Take US education as an example, which is in deep trouble:
Student test scores are dismal and dropout rates are astronomical.
In K-12 education, out of 30 developed nations around the world, US ranking is 25 for Math and 21 for Science.
1.2 Million High-Schoolers drop out every year.
What reforms US Schools made to overcome this unrest?
An infographic about how tech (especially Apple Technologies) is helping US Education to grow again. Look at the following improvements that have happened due to introducing technology into education.
Through multimedia learning, including digital platforms: Student interest and retention increases by 25%.
In 2001, Maine passed an initiative to provide free laptops to every 7th grader in the state. By the year 2010, interestingly there is a significant increase in 8th Graders passing Math exams from 50% to 91%.
An Inner-City high school in Euclid, Ohio gave one classroom 24 iPads and tested the students: Results showed are 6% improvement in reading and 8% improvement in writing.
It is now a known fact that technology can enhance the learning when used effectively. In fact, you’re reading this guide means you’re using a technological device to acquire knowledge. Using technology in classroom and teaching with technology in classroom are two different statements. There is nothing powerful than the technology in the hands of an efficient teacher who is able to adopt latest practices of teaching. There is no doubt that technology is essential but I’d like to focus on its importance in the vision of 21stcentury education. Let’s learn about the vision and the role of technology in 21st Century Education.
21st Century Education:
The main aim of 21st Century Schools is to help students become independent learners.
21st Century Education is an approach of training students for their future professions right from their early schooling days. As we know, many of the top jobs in 2012 such as Social media strategist, User experience specialist, Telework manager, Elder care coordinator, Sustainability manager, etc., hadn’t existed in 2002. Similarly, many of the jobs students will have in the near future don’t even exist yet. They’re about to use technologies that haven’t been invented yet.
21st Century Education has realized its responsibility to develop students with not just good grades but also with good technical, collaborative, innovative, creative, leadership, problem solving, etc., skills to become good employers, entrepreneurs, leaders, innovators, etc., in nearby future.
It’s not about teaching something to help them learn, it’s about developing them to utilize what they’ve learnt in schooling throughout the life.
In addition to the above mentioned goals, 21st Century Schools also include a creative curriculum to develop students to have a set of 21st Century Skills. Let’s learn about how technology enables educators to help students have 21stcentury skills.
21st Century Skills and the Role of Technology:
Creativity, Cultural Awareness, Problem solving, Innovation, Civic engagement, Communication, Productivity, Collaboration, Accountability, Exploration, Initiative, Responsibility, Leadership, Critical thinking, etc.,are the set of 21stcentury skills that our new education system helps students to acquire.
Neuroscience research has proved that all the children are born with innate creative powers and as they grow up some of them keep their creativity active while others unconsciously keep it dormant. Technology enables educators to help students improve their creativity. Social Networks such as Facebook, Twitter, etc., help students to think creatively to write artistic expressions. They also improve students’ social as well as communication skills.
There are thousands of apps and games available on web that improve student creativity. For example, Spy tool is an awesome app to improve creativity in kids. It has several existing functioning tools like disguise kit, identification kit, fingerprint scanner, voice changer, and night vision goggles.
Communication & Collaboration:
Collaboration in education is an approach that involves a group of students learning together or working together to solve a problem, complete a task, or create a product. Technology helps students and educators collaborate globally. It provides them with platforms where they can collaborate from anywhere and anytime, also beyond the classroom. Social Networks, Blogs, Wikis, etc., are great tools to collaborate with students, parents and educators. In addition to the above tools, Skype, Google+ Hangouts, etc., offer video conferencing to make collaborations much effective.
Critical thinking & Problem Solving:
Critical thinking is defined as the thinking employed to form meaningful, unbiased decisions or judgments based on the use of interpretation, analysis, evaluation, inferences, and explanations of information as it relates to the evidence applied to a specific discipline. Critical thinking differs from student to student as they have different interpretations. Problem solving is the ability to find solutions to problems, overcome challenges, complete difficult tasks through techniques, etc. Both critical thinking and problem solving are similar as their design is to approach and tackle different challenges. Technology makes it easy for educators to improve these kinds of skills in students.
For example, Mystery Skype is an educational game, invented by teachers and played by two classrooms on Skype. The aim of the game is to guess the location of the other classroom by asking each other questions. It’s suitable for all age groups and can be used to teach subjects like Geography, History, Languages, Mathematics and Science. There is no doubt that this kind of tool increases critical thinking, problem solving and collaborative skills.
Teaching students how to code is a great way to inculcate 21st century skills in them.
In addition to the above mentioned tools, there are numerous technological approaches to enhance every skill. Every tech tool has its own importance in developing all the 21st century skills. We hope this information helped you to know the importance of technology in the vision of 21stcentury education. I have few questions for you:
What according to you is “A 21st Century School”?
Do you agree that technology is essential in the vision of “21st Century Education”? Please feel free to comment your answer with explanation.
The comment box awaits you.