I’m listening as I write to Project Tomorrow‘s (a.k.a. NetDay) Unleashing the Future: Educators “Speak Up” about the Use of Emerging Technologies for Learning podcast. Speak Up 2009 National Findings address two groups:
- Creating Our Future: Students Speak Up about Their Vision for 21st Century Learning (released March 2010)
- Unleashing the Future: Educators “Speak Up” about the use of Emerging Technologies for Learning (released May 2010)
I’m guessing few will be surprised by the student findings, which are organized by three essential elements:
- Essential Element 1: Social-based learning – Students want to leverage emerging communications and collaboration tools to create and personalize networks of experts to inform their education process.
- Essential Element 2: Un-tethered learning – Students envision technology-enabled learning experiences that transcend the classroom walls and are not limited by resource constraints, traditional funding streams, geography, community assets or even teacher knowledge or skills.
- Essential Element 3: Digitally-rich learning experiences – Students see the use of relevancy-based digital tools, content and resources as a key to driving learning productivity, not just about engaging students in learning.
The educators’ “Speak Up” includes survey results from “aspiring teachers” as well as in-service teachers and administrators. The number one skill aspiring teachers are being taught in their methods course is how to use word processing, spreadsheet and database tools. But when asked what would best prepare them to teach in a 21st century classroom, the college students suggested better training in current technology:
- learning how to use technology to differentiate instruction for students (75 percent)
- incorporating digital resources in a lesson (68 percent)
- locating and using electronic teaching aides (67 percent)
- creating and utilizing video or podcasts within a lesson (57 percent)
- and using electronic productivity tools (57 percent).
Julie Evans, chief executive officer of Project Tomorrow, shares that
Students are no longer waiting for policy changes within their schools, or from Washington, D.C. …Students want their voices heard by those making education policies, but we are now seeing them move beyond their attempts to share their needs with adults. They are taking the technology they have grown up with and using it to help them learn—inside and outside of the classroom.”
I’ll wrap up this post with a reminder from one of my favorite “down under” bloggers, Sujokat: “Social Media: Stop acting like it is going to go away.”