Wednesday, May 11, 2011

21st vs. 20th Century Education

I came across this video that compares and contrasts pedagogical techniques, learning environments, student/teacher characteristics, and expectations associated with education during the past two centuries.


What are your thoughts on the various points made in this video?  How can we better meet the needs of learners and educators in the 21st Century?

15 comments:

  1. This video has great timing for me since @alhelmy and myself are leading our staff in a discussion today where we will create a definition what 21st Century Learning is specifically for our school.

    One reason that I appreciated this video is that it had a focus on many areas of education such as the student, the teacher, learning, instruction, curriculum, etc and not just technology. One of our goals today is to avoid having the focus of our discussion center around technology and we certainly do not want teachers to evaluate their effectiveness solely on their use of technology.

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  2. Although this video presents many good ideas, let us think critically here. I went to school in the 50's, 60's and 70's. I remember collaboration (we called it group projects), student directed learning (we called it learning how to use reference tools, and being told to look it up), physical demonstrations of scientific principals. Does anyone remember the concept of the open classrooms with schools built without walls? There is no doubt that technology is expanding the walls of the classroom and shrinking the globe and should be used to the utmost. But critical thinking, cross curricular projects, creativity and high standards are hardly new concepts hatched in the last 10 years.

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  3. I have to agree with mrdv above. It is brilliant what is going on in classrooms around the world and the huge benefits of the emerging technologies in enriching the experiences of pupils everywhere. However, I've seen so many of these presentations where 20thC learning = bad; 21stC learning = good. And it just isn't so simple. I was taught brilliantly at school in the 60s and 70s. I was also 'taught' wonderfully by my parents; ie they gave me a life filled with enquiry, appreciation, thought. I know it's in vogue to create these black and white presentations of two pedagogically contrasting millennia. However, I think it would be good to begin breaking with this prevailing shibboleth. I should add that I love technology. I also love what Eric Sheninger has brought to my own personal learning journey.

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  4. mrdv and David: You both bring up very good points. Why do you think then that there is so much hoopla surrounding all of these pedagogical and learning environment shifts associated with 21st century education?

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  5. I think we really have a PR battle.

    The public doesn't see the value of the "new" educational style, and that is why public funding is not a high priority.

    I remember in the 80s, even though we were suffering from a strong recession, we still always voted for the education bonds. Now, it is a struggle, at least here in Oregon, and they often don't pass.

    We won't be able to provide any sort of learning to the kids in school and those who will be entering schools in the future unless we can show that we are effectively teaching the important skills students need to succeed in the world.

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  6. Eric, I'm going to do a follow-up post on this video. Do you know who made it? The URL is nonfunctional...

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  7. Scott:

    I tried the URL as well and noticed that it did not work so I do not know who made it either.

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  8. After a good meeting today with our staff about 21st Century Skills I wanted to share part of our discussion after we watched the video in the meeting.

    There were some teachers who were not happy with the negativity toward 20th Century Education in this video. Our principal had a good analysis of the video. What he suggested is that we are really dealing with a label. There was actually "21st Century Education" going on in our schools in the 20th century. In the same light, there is also some "20th Century Education" going on in our classrooms right now (unfortunately). One could look at this as just a label for effective OR ineffective instruction/learning/teaching methods/etc.

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  9. I am in agreement with both sides of the argument, that education in the 20th was not bad & that the C21 is not a cure. The point rather is that we live, teach & learn in a different environment with influences & outcomes that are dependent on how we can & need to adapt. The tag "21st Century Education" I believe is encompassing in expressing the message that we may just need to reevaluate what we are doing currently & to determine the next steps in identifying models that effectively engage educators & learners to be successful for the future.

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  10. This is too simplistic. Eric, having followed your blogging and tweeting for a while, I've got to say that the dichotomy presented by this video is far more simplistic than what you usually post and write. That said, it does capture what good teaching and learning should be about, albeit in a sound-bite way. This good teaching and learning existed in some places before - usually islands of classrooms or clusters of classrooms, and now, with technology, we have an opportunity to reshape the culture of teaching to be much more about true learning.

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  11. I like the video as a place to start a discussion. I would use the word "Choice" rather than "Freedom". I feel that students need to have a choice as to the way they provide evidence of their learning. It is not a choice to provide the evidence, but rather how they will do that, video, essay, MM production ....

    I am not sure that discipline has vanished, students still show up at my office as the result of poor choices.

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  12. As several others have stated it is a great piece for starting the conversation. It also is great for the school system that has not started down the road at all. I did push the video out because I think we all need to be thinking about we use the technology today to enhance our education of the 21st century student. What did standout in some of the example pictures was not technology at all but students working on real world applications.

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  13. I really liked the concepts on the video about 21st century learning. Unfortunately as a new teacher it really seems like one of those impossible things. These concepts of the new classroom and learning can be terribly difficult to integrate. Yes, I know that with hard work, time and dedication and all of that other stuff that new teachers are supposed to be equipped with, it seems unachievable. As a teacher I really try to integrate across the curriculum regularly, I would love to do more cooperative learning and allow students to have more charge over the learning process. I guess to answer the question on how to meet the needs of learners in the 21st century is a combination of the new and the old. Educators in the past did not have it all wrong, they produced thousands of well educated and capable people. As educators we should not throw everything from the past but understand that student has changed and in many ways they have become harder to teach. We have to change in many ways because the youth are so used to being entertained traditional methods sometimes don't reach them. I'm new to this and may be a little pessimistic but I am aware that it is a process.

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  14. I really liked the concepts on the video about 21st century learning.Unfortunately as a new teacher it really seems like one of those impossible things.

    Education

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