Teaching 21st Century Skills

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Today I talked with our 6th grade team about using the new laptops that were purchased. 20 laptops for 10 teachers and 150 students. The administration is looking for “more than word processing and researching.” So today I gave them the shotgun approach to things you can do. From wikis to blogs to flickr, youtube, and podcasting. I showed them examples of other middle school projects using these tools and we talked. I kept coming back to 21st century skills. Every time a teacher would say “Yeah, but what if….” I would say “That’s a teachable moment….” After awhile I think it started to set in that these are skills we should be teaching our students. Skills like learning to comment appropriately. Writing for a worldly audience, producing content for others to use. We talked about how students will respect information if you give them the power to “own” the information. When you hand the power of information over to students and you have the discussions that come with the power of information you eliminate a lot of your problems. I quote Spiderman’s Uncle a lot:

With great power, comes great responsibility

It works for both students and teachers 🙂


I started blogging in 2005 and found it such a powerful way to reflect and share my thinking about technology, this generation, and how we prepare students for their future not our past.


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  4. My friend who teaches humanities at a secondary school (Netherlands) found out that the students who did practical technology only (not much theory) were the best debaters of the school. She and other teachers were really surprised. The students were better able to argument because they had experienced how things really work. This was not an experiment, but it does suggest that tech is a powerful way to learn about relationships, predictions, truth and other important concepts, and teaches students to think for themselves better. Now this result was found at a secondary school for average and low scores on scholarly tests. The children with the lowest grades were the best debaters.

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