At a time when so many teachers and administrators fear and forbid student access to the internet from school, a high school teacher on the California coast is encouraging students by the hundreds to blog, Skype, gamify, and mindmap collaboratively in public. Problems? Zero. Enthusiasm -- I can personally testify as one of the people Dr. Preston invited to videoconference with his students -- blows the roof off. Preston’s students are enthusiastic about the texts, the ideas, the possibility of reaching out to the authors of those texts and inviting them into the class, and the power and responsibility of co-designing their own learning. They launch “learner ventures,” learning about “entrepreneurial learning.” They are involved in micro-finance in Africa. They sat in as one of the “fishbowl” respondents in a Connected Learning videoconference.
Sarah D. Sparks reports on a special report released this week by the National Research Council of the National Academies of Science. The report sought to define what we mean by "21st Century skills." The report's findings have implications for research directions in the field of education and the skills defined shed new light on what students need in order to succeed in post-secondary education and the work force.
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