The illiterate of the 21st Century will not be those who cannot read or write,
but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. Alvin Toffler

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Making Students Care

My last post centered on the 4 C's of 21st Century Skills--Communication, Critical thinking and problem solving, Creativity, and Collaboration. These elements, infused into our classrooms, will change our classrooms. If students are allowed to work together on meaningful, challenging work that utilizes their creative and cognitive abilities, the traditional model of sit-and-get is gone. Recently I came upon the blog of Scott Jantzen, a school administrator in Winkler, Canada. He writes as follows:

"My desire is for students to have opportunities to learn in an atmosphere centered around positive and caring relationships and engaging in meaningful learning activities that are based on the program of studies. I believe that our biggest challenge as educators of the current generation is to cause students to care about their learning and engage in the learning process. I believe that we as educators need to become increasingly creative in our efforts. I believe that ubiquitous technology can play a critical role in accomplishing this task."

Making our students "care about their learning and engage in the learning process." How do we accomplish this task? He suggests that we do this by becoming increasingly creative in our efforts with the help of ubiquitous technology. In other words, the technology integrates seamlessly into these new, creative tasks. The technology is not the goal; it is merely the tool that empowers and enables student effort. As teachers, we must be willing to be creative, to change the tasks, the environment in which our students work. Without this, our students will not be interested, they will not care and they will not engage. It is up to us as teachers to change according to the needs of our students; not for our students to conform to our static approach to teaching/learning.

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