21st century EVERYTHING. We hear it all the time, in a multitude of ways. 21st-century learning, 21st-century educators, future ready students, millennials, but what does it all mean anyway? In this blog post, I’d like to take some time to reflect on my 21st-century practices as a second-year educator in areas that I think I do well, and of course, areas that I would like to improve upon. Below, I’ll list each characteristic of a 21st-century educator and discuss my personal reflection on each characteristic as it pertains to me.
Collaboration, Communication, and Connection:
Collaboration in education can mean a slew of things, and is most typically found inside the walls of your school building, or on the rare chance that you get to gather as a district. However, in today’s world, collaboration is taken to a whole other level through the power of professional learning networks. For me, collaboration is KEY and integral in all parts of 21st-century learning and education. What do I mean by this? Teachers need to be demonstrating to students, through modeling, how important collaboration actually is. This can be done in a variety of ways. The easiest and personally the most effective way to do this is through Twitter. Twitter has a slew of networks and educators for your to connect, communicate and collaborate with. This can be done by simply exchanging ideas from your classroom to another around the world, or participating in twitter chats surrounding a topic of interest to you. Here’s a calendar created for educators with the dates, times, hashtags and topics for some of the most popular twitter chats around. Aside from Twitter, many other social media networks allow you to perform the “3 C’s” relatively easy. Instagram and Facebook, of course, allow you to connect with other teachers, but other communities such as Google+ have provided educator groups where you can reach out to teachers across the world to connect in a variety of ways. One of the most popular ways to connect is Google Hangout or Mystery Skype. Both are extremely powerful tools to utilize in the classroom. Mystery Skype is a tool that allows you to video chat with another classroom across the nation or sometimes the world and try to guess where they are located in the world. Below, you’ll see some pictures of that in action in my classroom. In addition to that, Google Hangout is another powerful tool. I was fortunate enough to collaborate with a teacher over twitter and participate in the #GMTTC5 with her class as well as do a group talk Google Hangout with her students and my students around Valentines Day, where we shared our virtual valentines and also had conversations about similarities and differences in our classrooms. For more information on this, take a look at my other blog posts surrounding the benefits of global connectedness here. This area is definitely one of my strengths and is something that I am fortuante to present about to other teachers around the area. However, I am always looking to push myself and grow and forutnately, I’ve found a lot of great teachers across the nation who are looking to do the same thing and we are able to grow and learn together.
Innovation and Inquiry–
Innovation and inquiry are also something that I feel I am able to contribute greatly in to my classroom because of the incredible district I work in. I’ve been blessed to work directly with an iCoach, who has helped me look at both my lessons and units to see how I can take them above the SAMR line, by partnering SAMR with TPACK. Through this model, I feel that I’ve been able to bring a lot of innovative practices into my room to benefit my students significantly. Along these lines, I like to think that self-paced and self-directed learning is another strength of mine that I focus on for myself as well as my students. My students all work at their own learning level for each unit and each content area in my classroom, promoting advocacy as well as self-directed and self-guided learning in the classroom.
Competency in Digital Literacy + Media-
This is an area, that while I believe my students are able to master, that I would like to continue to work on. I want my students to leave a positive digital footprint on the world and understand plagiarism rights, copyright information and regulated for reuse cues. I’m hoping that this year I’m able to provide my students with more information about proper use of websites, republication and social media, etc.