Thursday, 8 March 2012

The Three C's

Recently, I have been taking in a lot of professional development sessions, mostly geared toward ICT integration in the classroom. After these experiences, I've really been conscience about how I am incorporating 21st century skills and learning into the educational experiences of my students.

In one of these recent professional development sessions, I was involved win a discussion about how 21st century skills aren't really about technology. They aren't
talking about the tools we are bringing into our schools, they are referring to how we use these tools to enrich student learning.

Learning used to revolve around R's. Reading, (W)riting, and (A)rithmetic. I remember hearing a while ago that learning and education is no longer about R's, but C's. Yes, students must know the basic skills. But while they are practicing how to read, write, add, and subtract do we not need to connect them to the real world. The things that are happening in their lives.

My classroom is beginning to revolve around The Three C's. Communicate, collaborate, and create.

Instead of just learning how to read, write, add, and subtract, students need to know why they are doing these things. What is the relevance of these skills to their life and to the world in which they live? We should be teaching students that they use these skills to communicate their understanding. Strengthen these skills in order to communicate with people constructively. Communicating effectively will prepare students for many real life situations.

Real life situations very often involve working with others. If we don't show students how to work together and give them the opportunity to practice working together, collaborating in the real world will be difficult. Yes, students should see the value and learn the importance of independence, but collaboration will prepare them for experiences they encounter for the rest of their lives. Web tools and devices make collaboration relevant to a 21st century learner, which allows educators to play right into the hands of students.

Finally, the 21st century learner must be given a chance to create. Not simply creating projects, but creating their own knowledge. Research and organization skills that allow students to ask questions and find answers, rather than be told by a teacher through lectures and note-taking.

If given the freedom, students and teachers can use The Three C's to connect the classroom to the real world and truly make learning relevant.