Teaching the 21st Century is this the Way and the Life?

 Another perspective.

Teaching 21st Century style



By EducationHQ News Team
Published November 30, 2011

Q. I’m a class teacher and ICT coordinator. I want to start to shift the attitude towards the use of technology, but really don’t know where to get started.

A. Great question, and this really is the Holy Grail of ICT headteachers and coordinators everywhere!

The first thing to shift is the use of ‘I’ to ‘we’. It sounds like you want to shift the attitude and engagement, which is admirable, but this alone isn’t a driver for change for the wider staff. I would tackle this on a number of fronts.

My first strategy would be to raise awareness of the research that exists which clearly articulates a link between powerful pedagogy, ICT (particularly as a tool for personalised learning) and improved learning outcomes.

The Innovative Teaching Learning research is a multi-year global research project which identifies the factors that promote transformation across a broad range of contexts. Visit www.itlresearch.com to review its 2011 research and findings.

One of the obvious points made from the research is that if teachers don’t design tasks which develop 21st Century skills then (not surprisingly), students don’t demonstrate them. Basically, the development of skills doesn’t just occur, even in an ICT rich environment!

I would gently start to feed out the research findings from this and use a process to reflect upon the material. This ‘depersonalises’ the agenda.
Schools love baselines and data collection (well, love might be too strong!). A professional audit will not only create a baseline, it will also raise awareness of the things that are presently unknown.

You can start the research in your own school right now with free surveys of teachers and school leaders that will measure 21st Century teaching and learning skills. The surveys are self-assessment tools for schools that measure innovative teaching practices.

Survey responses are confidential and anonymous and the survey tools and school reports are free. Schools can use the surveys each year to track progress. Just go to www.pilsr.com for details.

Once you have a sense of the bigger picture (global research) and have reviewed your own position (data collection) you will find your ICT committee with support from leadership is in a much better position to develop a mud map to shift the school across the digital borderlands! … but that’s another story.

Mark Sparvell is a South Australian principal, Microsoft Innovative Teacher Awards international judge and 2011 NEiTA national award winner.

Do you have a question for our tech experts? Email classroom@ozteacher.com.au with the details.

Mohandas Gandhi

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”