The Other 21st Century Skills: Educator Self-Assessment

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User Generated Education

I’ve posted about The Other 21st Skills and Attributes.  This post provides links and resources about these skills as well as an educator self-assessment.  This assessment contains questions to assist the educator in evaluating if and how s/he is facilitating these skills and attributes in the learning environment. skills

21st century skills

Related Resources:

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Change And A Glass Of Water

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“Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want to change the world?” -Steve Jobs

I want you to gather the image of a glass of water in your mind.  Picture that glass sitting on a table.  Now imagine yourself walking around that table taking in the entirety of that simple glass of water.  Imagine yourself taking in its clarity, its weight, and its volume.  See how, even through its transparency, it fills the glass.  It is clear, yet abundantly visible.

As you circle the table, look at how the glass holds and supports the life-sustaining water that sits within it.  See how the glass not only supports and holds, but provides clarity to the level of water that it is holding.

Now imagine that life-sustaining water as your vision and the glass that holds it as your culture.

When the culture…

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Growth Mindset: GoBrain and Making a Splash

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User Generated Education

A recent interest of mine has been the Growth Mindset.  I have blogged and presented on this topic:

Due to my interests, Carol Reiley contacted me about her initiatives about growth mindsets.  First, from her and her team’s website, GoBrain, is the following:


Second, she wrote a children’s book, Making a Splash, and decided to crowdfund its publication through Kickstarter –

What follows is an interview with Carol about writing and disseminating Making a Splash.

How did you first get interested in the growth mindset?

I’m a PhD student in Computer Science at Johns Hopkins University. My research is studying how medical students learn to become great surgeons. After I read Carol Dweck’s mindset book, a lot…

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Teach. Learn. Collaborate.: Free Doesn’t Mean Barrier Free

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Free Doesn’t Mean Barrier Free.

Last week I had an interesting conversation with a parent that  lluminated an issue that I think is important to those of us who are using, or advocating the use of digital tools in the classroom: Free tools aren’t necessarily barrier free. In this case, her concerns arose not from how tools were being used in the classroom, but the expectations around students and parents using these tools at home. This parent wanted to be involved in her child’s education, and had made several attempts to the issues her family was experiencing addressed by the school. To be specific, this parent was experiencing issues with using Google Apps for Education and the chosen home/school communication tool while on the family computer at home and on mobile devices.

Read more of this post at Teach. Learn. Collaborate.: Free Doesn’t Mean Barrier Free.

Learning on the Edge

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User Generated Education

One of the first exercises I ask the pre-service and in-service teachers in my Psychology of Learning course to do is define learning.  This is not a look-up-in-the-dictionary type of activity.  They are asked to do so using their own thoughts, images, body movements, and chants/music.  It is a difficult exercise.

Actually, I find it quite baffling that educators don’t more often explore the question, “What is learning?”  Isn’t learning the ultimate goal, vision, mission of education?  If so, why is the implementation of learning, often known as curriculum, done so without a clear, clean, shared knowledge about what learning is?

I believe, as Grant Wiggins does:

Though we often lose sight of this basic fact, the point of learning is not just to know things but to be a different person – more mature, more wise, more self-disciplined, more effective, and more productive in the broadest sense. Knowledge is…

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Inspiring Kids to Learn More and Strive for Greatness!

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I am never one to sit still too long. It seems that to keep myself energized and engaged as a learner/leader, I need to shake things up and look for new opportunities and challenges.  That being said, I have changed roles this year from that of being a regional edtech coach in our District of 10,000 teachers to one of being an instructional coach for new teachers.  I know it will challenge me to continue my own learning and give me the opportunity to contribute to shifting the culture of learning and teaching in our Board.

In applying for the position, I had to reflect on a quote that speaks to my beliefs about teaching and learning, explain why I chose this quote and how it is reflected in my current practice.  In my effort to start “learning out loud” more often I thought I would share my thoughts here and see what comes about.

Strong teachers

“Strong teachers don’t teach content; Google has content.  Strong teaching connects learning in ways that inspire kids to learn more and strive for greatness.”  Eric Jensen in Education Week Teacher

In this progressive age of “21st Century Education”, I find myself deeply reflecting on the the future of schooling, the nature of leadership and the evolving culture of learning in our current education system.  All are evolving, but at a pace that does not necessarily reflect the pace of societal change.  We seem trapped in a tunnel and the fear of not knowing what is in the light at the end of that tunnel deters the transformation of a system and stunts the growth of the  learners within it.   This quote reinforces my core belief that regardless of the paradigm of education or the current pedagogical emphasis, the learning experience is brought to life by teachers.  Teachers nurture the inspirational environments that open the doors and let the learner loose to explore and experience their own ascent to greatness.

Classroom leadership is not about finding the single best way to do things; leadership demands having a vision as to how enable all learners to maximize their unique potential and find their opportunity to lead.  An effective leader must be a true learner her/himself that engages in the process of growth to facilitate and support the growth of those they influence.  Breaking down the notion that the only leaders in education are those that sit highest in the hierarchy of the system is critical to the successful transformation of the paradigm of education.  As teachers and lead learners, we must develop and explore and engage in effective pedagogies to collaborate, communicate, create and curate the ideas, experiences and insights of all our leaders past, present and future.  Strong teachers lead this evolutionary change  to build a system that can support an undefined future that is demanding a redefined paradigm.

Learning is innate.  Unaware of constructed boundaries, children don’t know where to stop and what they are not capable of.  They will learn anywhere and everywhere.  They can learn amazing things anywhere, anytime and from anyone.  How do we build a learning environment that allows students to learn what, when and how they want to?   How do we also ensure that their developmental needs are supported and relevant, contextual intellectual stimulation are reflected.  Learning is an experiential process that is individualized and must respect and reflect the learner.  Learning and creativity should not be a threatening experience.  It should not be a competitive journey in which the individual is discouraged from trying for fear of being wrong.  The fundamental goal of education must be to teach learners how to learn.  It is so much more than just the regurgitation of the information that is deemed relevant and important.  We must teach students to connect the dots, not just collect the dots, so they can succeed and adapt to changing needs in a dynamic and demanding world.

How, when, where and who we learn from is beginning a metamorphosis.  The needs, scope and scale of the so called “21st Century Classroom” must evolve to reflect a new global reality that is challenging to define due to the rapid pace of its own evolution.  Information communication technologies are redefining the learning experience connecting everything to everyone, everywhere.  Everyone has become the teacher of everyone else and the role of the “traditional” teacher has been redefined.  To ignore the collaborative potential of the collective marginalizes the goals of education and the development of true life-long learners.  

Strong teachers that collaboratively engage in and model the learning process are the keys to unlocking the greatness in kids. Strong teachers recognize that learning reaches far beyond the curriculum, recognize the unique context and experience of each child and cultivate a sense of wonder in students that is fuelled by their own passion.  Strong teachers are not defined by the tools they use but instead by the relationships they build, the imaginations they ignite and community they bring together.

Jim Jamieson, OCT

5 Habits Of People Who Never Stop Learning

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Posted: 05/15/2014 11:17 am EDT

Many people claim to be a “lifetime learners,” and with good reason. Scientists have warned that you need to keep your brain active if you want to avoid mental decay. But some people seem to learn easier and faster than others. These smart people often show creativity and innovation, and quickly pick up new skills on their own time.

Learning should be easy to do since we all go through years of schooling training on how to do it. But beyond basic acquisition of knowledge, there is a real art to intensive learning. For deep learning you have to find the time and energy for knowledge and skills building. Really successful learners know the trick is to make the process itself as energizing and efficient as possible. Here’s how they do it.

1. Imagine the outcome.Learning for learning sake is fine for academics or people with lots of time on their hands, but as a busy achiever your learning needs to have purpose. Understanding the need will help you assess how much and how fast you need to learn something. When you start out to learn a new skill set or master new knowledge, envision what you will do with it. Get a very clear mental picture of how it will change the way you work and live. Taking a language class? See yourself conversing with a new client in a foreign country. Training on new software? Picture the problem you’ll solve with it and how it will streamline activity. Successful learners identify the objective at the start, and create a strong, emotionally compelling vision of what will happen when they reach that objective.

Read More at 5 Habits Of People Who Never Stop Learning.