Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Evaluating 21st Century Skills

The Partnership for 21st-Century Skills has a website where educators can go to learn more about this newest educational trend.  There one can learn about the mission of the Partnership, whose involved, where policy making is in regards to this matter, and how to incorporate these skills into the regular classroom.  I like the ease of navigation within this website and the transparency when it comes to who sponsors it.  There are videos aimed at educating people about the mission and its impact on education.  Quick links give educators a means to what the skills are and how to incorporate them into your curriculum.  One major drawback is the need for permission to use any P21 content in writing to the Partnership itself.   As this is the direction that education is heading, it behooves us as educators to find out as much as possible about this and begin incorporating these skills now. is the link to delve into the Partnership's mission.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Interesting news in technology

Today as I was surfing the net, I came across this news story about Wikipedia and other high profile websites that are "going black" to protest legislation that is being debated in Congress: SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA Protect I-P Act.  This begs a greater discussion about who should police the world wide web.  Is it the job of legislators to dictate who and what gets distributed in the communication age or is it the responsibility of the users themselves?  In light of the technologies available today and the utilization of them in the workforce, this is definitely something that will need a closer look.

the 21st Century Disconnect (classroom assignment)

I was unsure as to where to post this analysis so I included it on the discussion page in the course and here on my blog.

The articles and videos that we examined in preparation for this week’s discussion re-enlightened me to the ever changing workplace environment and how technology has transformed it at a much greater pace than the educational environment.  As an educator, I still must provide my students with critical thinking skills, communication skills, and problem-solving skills.  However, the manner in which I do this needs to keep pace with the environment into which I am releasing my students. 

The impact of technology is felt everywhere, from my cleaning products that both clean and sanitize my floors (some with the help of GPS navigation) to the cell phone that allows me to take a picture and upload to the website that connects me to friends and family.  What does this mean for the workforce?  If these technologies are permeating our private life, then they are also being embraced by the workplace.  Teleconferencing is shrinking the workforce so that students are competing for jobs not just locally but globally.  Web 2.0 is creating a collaborative workforce where individuals contribute to a collective whole rather than being the sole expert within the company.  Information is ever changing and is available 24/7 to anyone with the resources to access it.

What does this mean for the future of education?  If we are to prepare students for the 21st century, then we need to imbed the means of utilizing the existing technologies along with the critical thinking skills that students will need to be competitive.  The educator who does not utilize these technologies (wikis, blogs, podcasts, and the like) is setting their students up for a difficult transition into the workplace.  That being said, not all classrooms are set up to be able to incorporate these technologies at this time.  By including the technologies that we are discovering in this course, we are starting the journey to creating life-long learners.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Comments on the 21 hour work week

Author Michael Coren wrote an article commending the change to a 21 hour work week for industrialized nations that will transform our society and save us from our circular existance of living to work and working to live.  He goes on to establish a case for the redistribution of work to be more equitable (among those who are overworked and underemployed).  The idea is to create happier people with less material things but more time to utilize the things that they do have. 

In light of the current trend of incorporating technology into all aspects of our lives, this seems to be a harbinger of things to come.

To read this article visit:

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Economic class application

I have been contemplating the use of this technology (as I attempt to master it), and I believe that I would incorporate this tool into my economics classroom.  As I teach students ages 10 - 20 years, this would provide them with a forum to ask questions of one another, pose questions to me for clarification, allow for links to study articles and online textbook help, etcetera.  Eventually, economists could be invited into the ongoing discussion of things such as demand and supply economics, consumer education, and the like.  This would allow for the learning to continue on beyond the traditional classroom setting and create "global" learners.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Here goes another round

As the second attempt at creating a new post, I believe that I have it right this time.  Attempting to master a new technology is both time consuming and exhilarating.  With this understanding in mind, I can imagine what students will feel like when presented with their first experience in the classroom.  I believe that starting small will help students get the hang of the "how to's" and "what for's" when it comes to blogging.  To that end, simple journaling such as a response to a prompt (like a quote) would allow students to build an understanding of not only how the process works but to interact collectively as a whole.  From there, students could expand on their experience to carry out inquiry-based learning projects, link to authors, or connect to another classroom on the web.  The possibilities are almost endless.

Friday, January 6, 2012

First blog

I just experienced one of the most frustrating things one can do with technology - create a new blog.  It should be such a simple task, yet when the connection gets lost or entries are not validated, then it is extremely cumbersome.  I hope that this becomes easier as I get used to posting, creating, uploading, and the like.