Prep for Week 2 - Digital Learning

What 60 schools can tell us about teaching 
21st century skills 



In the Uru Mānuka Cluster we have been talking about the types of skills we need to be teaching our students and creativity and critical thinking have made it to the top of our list. I think it is really inspiring to be working in a Cluster of schools that work together to meet the needs of our students. We identify what we need to work on based on data that has been collected and share practise to come up with solutions to increase achievement. 

In the opening of this video I not surprised to hear that we need to be teaching students critical thinking and problem solving skills. I do honestly believe that students need to be asking questions more than giving answers, as there needs to be more than one correct answer when we conduct discussions and conversations with these learners. It was interesting to hear that these students should be finding problems not solving them, but the more I think about it the more this makes sense. The problems we face today are going to be different to the ones these students have to face in the future. 

The statement "schools struggle with change and innovation", was one that I can see from a few different angels. I have been involved in schools that have stuck to their past ways of doing things because this is the way it has been done successfully in the past. I have also been involved in schools that believe in change and innovation. Manaiakalani is a great example of a cluster that is looking at hard evidence and changing/innovating to meet learning goals. I agree that models of change and innovation are there, we just need to connect, reach out and share practise. Which is just one of the reasons that I am so happy teaching in Uru Mānuka Cluster - part of the Manaiakalani Outreach Programme. 

Student ownership of learning is diverse, messy, and loud. We need to be talking about how we learn, being online, being adaptive, how to learn across subjects, what is relevant, authentic and how to stay connected. It is important to think about what we are doing, looking at balancing the past with the future, reflecting on practise that works and what needs to change to move forward. I really like the statement there is a difference between hard and uncomfortable. It could not be more true. There needs to be a change at a foundational level not just at the margin. Schools need to become creative spaces. 

How do 20th century skills differ from 21st century skills? Do we need both? 

We now have universal access to knowledge - cellphones, the internet, connections, innovation. We need to teach into the unknown, which is uncomfortable. How do we know what students are going to need in the future? The truth is we don't, therefore we need to create self evolving students - students who can adapt to change, reflect on their learning, ask questions, be critical and solve problems. In order to do this we need to be self evolving teachers and have self evolving subjects. We need to be teaching timeless skills, context over content, we need to blur lines and not stick to the tradition time, space and subject area teaching of the past. 



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