With continuous growth of technology and as generation of digital natives continue to develop, it is important to change the way we approach teaching, learning and assessing with out students. We as educators need to be able to equip our students to be prepared with the necessary skills to compete in a globalized world. The world is increasingly diverse, and complex. As seem from the Gapminder data video, the world and many societies continue to grow and change. Many countries and able to participate and compete in the global economy. Information nowadays are readily available and accessible that students need to be taught to how effectively locate information, create content, share content and be able to work collaboratively with other people. It is important that students are educated with 21st century skills in order to be able to meet the challenges and new discoveries of the future.
As Tony Wagner stated on his video, “Do you have the skill and do you have the will to use the knowledge you have acquired?” Wagner referred to the concept of students being able to use the information that is all around us and knowing how and what do to do with that information. From Wagner we learn about several important skills students need to survive in our information and technology saturated world. These skills include critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, adaptability, initiative, communication, accessing and analyzing information and curiosity.
When thinking about 21st century skills, I think that one of the important skills to have for a student to attain is a combination of critical thinking and problem solving skills, I know those words have been passed around in the education world, but as education shift their teaching methods and embrace the changes with the increased integration of technology in the classroom, it important for educators to teach critical thinking and problem solving skills to students. Students need to be able to think critically by being able to identify relevant information and facts, organize the information, apply that information, analyze the information, be able to do something with that information and be able to make reflections. It important for teachers to teach critical thinking skills to the generation of digital natives so that students understand how to navigate the Internet filled with tons of information. Students need to have the skills to evaluate the information whether or not the information is reliable. With problem solving skills, students should be able to work through complex problems both by conventional and innovative methods. Students need to be able to analyze and solve from multiple perspective to consider best solutions.
Since students are growing up as digital natives and technology is infused in their daily lives, it also important that educators not only teach and have students learn 21st century skills but educators need to be able to assess 21st century skills in a 21st century classroom. With available technology and increasing use of iPads or other tablets in the classroom, web application like Nearpod is a great tool for teachers to assess students. Nearpod allows educators to create engaging presentations with embedded assessments. The presentation is interactive and controls the student’s activity by having students submit their response using various devices. Analytics are provided from the data collected so that teachers can make adjustments to their instruction.
As an art educator, I think is important for students to really understand the art making process. With the readily available technologies such as digital cameras, iPads or mobile phones, students can document their art making processes to demonstrate their learning. The use of Youtube would also be a great use of technology to assess 21st century skills. Students can use 21st century skills to develop and create content and share their content with their peers. Students can also use their Youtube product as a means of self reflection and self assessment to evaluate their work.
As educators continue to integrate technology in the classroom and are embracing the changes in how we teach students, it important that teachers are able to effectively use technology in the classroom to teach, learn and assess. Knowing which digital tools are effective in the classroom will help support students with the growth and acquisition of 21st century skills.
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