Some questions about 21st Century education

The 21st Century is no longer the future…we are creeping up on being through 10% of it! Does it look like it should? Should 21st Century methodology be photocopied papers with pencils and erasers? Should it be dominated by chopped up time blocks where teacher directed learning is the key component? Are day after day of lecture and rote memorization the modes by which our students are best served? Is it ok for today’s teachers to be complacent at best about integrating new technologies into their delivery methods, or at worst unwilling to do so?

On a larger scale, why do the state and federal governments continue pork barrel billions of dollars for pet projects while schools are only funded for 180 days (three months off makes lots of sense in today’s world right?) of an outdated agrarian school school calendar? Our classrooms need to be air conditioned. They need to be wired to accommodate today’s new technologies. Our computer labs need to be kept up to date. Our students need to have access to wireless laptop labs that can be brought to the classroom when needed. Teachers need to have time to integrate new methodologies into their curriculum delivery. They need to be supported by curriculum technologists who can help them in their efforts with expertise in best practices backed by research. We talk about leaving no child behind….I am wondering if we will ever catch up!

2 thoughts on “Some questions about 21st Century education

  1. Older teachers often feel like they are the ones being left behind. We remember when students could add two digit numbers in their head without calculators, remember how an atom worked, knew how to write a complete sentence and even punctuate it correctly. Today the students want to be entertained and many have no desire to actually learn something by doing any work. Is the newer technology really helping to make the students more intelligent? Will they learn the knowledge and skills they need for a successful working environment? What do we really need to be teaching different than what we teach now?

  2. Let’s start by defining the knowledge and skills they need to be successful in the work environment(that is a long discussion that needs to include a lot of people. I will not be so bold and say I am the definitive resource on what they are). I believe that most of our students learn what they need to learn to pass tests and do one time projects. My observations lead me to believe we teach too much superficially and the students never have a chance to demonstrate a deep understanding of concepts. Students need to apply knowledge. I took every science class my high school had to offer…..ask me how an atom works. Do you think I remember? Please do not take this as an indictment on how and what you teach. I know you challenge our students. The conversation I am trying to start, the changes I am trying to catalyze in no way should be taken as “he does not value what we do.” I simply believe that in many ways we, and I mean “we”(I included), can improve how we do things and better challenge our students. Technology is not the answer. It is simply a set of tools that we need to use to engage our students.

Leave a Reply