5 critical 21st century skills that go way beyond the 4 Cs

Teach students to think like entrepreneurs with these skill sets

21st-century-skillsSince the publication of his highly impactful book, The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century, Thomas Friedman has been teaching his readers and listeners to think differently about our world and how we interact with each other. Friedman consistently talks about new skill sets that are required for anyone who wants to not only survive but truly thrive in the hyper-connected world that is life in the 21st century.

Educators have been tackling a new mindset for student learning for nearly two decades. In the early 2000s, when as a nation as we sat at the dawn of the 21st century, The Partnership for 21st Century Learning (formerly The Partnership for 21st Century Skills) introduced the education community to a Framework for 21st Century Learning, which highlighted 18 different skills. Over time leaders from a broad spectrum of business and education communities narrowed the focus to concentrate on a set of skills that came to be known as the 4Cs—communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity.

The goal was to have the 4Cs integrated with the “3Rs” that had served as the backbone of American curricula for centuries. As the K-12 education community continues the work of embedding the 4Cs into all content areas, the world continues to evolve and we find ourselves once again considering what it is all students must know and be able to do by the time they graduate from high school.…Read More

8 ways schools can become truly Future Ready

Advice for districts seeking to become better at digital teaching and learning

future-readyBeing Future Ready is about more than just signing a pledge or attending an event. It’s about taking measurable, sometimes scary, steps toward a digital future that is still very much uncertain, according to speakers at a recent ISTE panel discussion on the topic, “Is Your District Future Ready?

The Future Ready effort, championed by the Department of Education and the Alliance for Excellent Education, hopes to permanently intertwine digital connectivity and learning in schools by getting administrators to think more broadly (and critically) about technology, PD, and the curriculum they use.

The backbone of the project is a short pledge superintendents take confirming their commitment to enlightened digital learning and advocacy (about 2,000 superintendents have signed it so far). There are also related regional summits that delve into how schools and districts can achieve Future Ready aims, such as empowering teachers, closing the digital divide, or supporting community efforts.…Read More

8 ways to improve your digital teaching

When good digital teaching means good digital learning

PLCs-communitiesEd. note: Innovation In Action is a new monthly column from the International Society of Technology in Education focused on exemplary practices in education.

digital-teachingWe all remember that one dedicated teacher from our early years. While they might not have had access to the same technology we do, they brought the world to us with images, stories, and play-pretend. They likely would’ve been one of the first to Skype with amazing people across the globe, competitively Kahoot, or have us build word clouds to help us learn vocabulary. They were full of life and encouraged us to find our personality.

In short, they were great teachers. Good teaching is the result of the conscious engagement between the teacher and the students, in an environment fostering inquiry, discovery, and creation. Good teaching is what makes digital age environments meaningful to students. Good pedagogy is the key to learning, regardless of the tool.…Read More

6 Minecraft lesson ideas for your Common Core math class

From graphing paper to algebra puzzles, one teacher shares tons of practical lesson ideas for turning math class into “Mathcraft”

minecraft-math

Ed. note: For more Minecraft lesson ideas, see Jim Pike’s lesson plans on order of operations and area and perimeter, featuring explainer videos and more, on the website Educade.

Last year I taught third-grade math in a whole new way. Combining elements from the wildly popular sandbox game Minecraft, I had students thinking visually and creatively about mathematical models and theories that went way beyond a typical third-grade curriculum, transforming math class into what I like to call Mathcraft.…Read More

Six tips for classroom technology success

An industry advisory panel of educators shares strategies to help teachers – regardless of their tenure – implement education technology in the classroom

lego-technologyThe LEGO Education Advisory Panel (LEAP) advises LEGO Education, the education division within the LEGO group, on how to meet the needs of educators and students. The panel consists of 50 educators, across all levels of education, who are experienced with the trials and triumphs of using unconventional teaching tools in the classroom.

Drawing from our experience using a wide gamut of education technology, we compiled the following list of tips and tricks to help teachers —regardless of their tenure —implement education technology in their own classroom.

1.  Be sure to teach the concept that failure is an important and expected part of the process. What we learn from each failure or mistake is the important part and will lead to the next version, or improved iteration in the problem solving process.
– Beth Brubaker, grades 1-8 Project Specialist, North Idaho STEM Charter Academy…Read More

8 simple tools for creating engaging infographics

Kelly Maher, a mathematics and technology teacher and technology coordinator, shares several infographics generators to help illustrate complex information

information-infographicsInformation graphics, also known as infographics, provide a way to express complex data, ideas, or other information graphically.

Human beings are visual and adept at identifying patterns and trends quickly. Therefore, infographics often aid our understanding of otherwise dense, multifaceted, or complicated material.

Anyone can use infographics to further their understanding of a topic, and you can also create your own for use in teaching or presentations. Here are some infographics generators to consider the next time you need to teach a difficult concept or illustrate intricate information.…Read More

10 teaching with technology mistakes you don’t want to make

Are you tentative about how to go about integrating technology in your classroom? Are you already doing it, but want to make sure you’re doing the right thing by your students? Teaching with technology can be fun and engaging, but it’s easy to make a few errors in your approach that can lead to unfortunate consequences for your students, or discourage them from fully participating, Emerging Ed Tech reports. Here’s a set of issues you would do well to avoid when assigning technology based work to your students (note that many of these apply to students of all ages)…

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7 things we should start teaching in schools ASAP

Americans typically learn a lot of things in school–spelling, math, why plants are green–that are actually useful in our day-to-day lives, the Huffington Post reports. But they also learn a lot of other things–cursive, long division, how to play “Hot Crossed Buns” on the recorder–that are probably not. No, we didn’t waste our time with those lessons. Learning something new isn’t ever a net loss. Playing the recorder provides building blocks for understanding music, and writing cursive has been shown to increase reading comprehension, for example. But it is worth reconsidering what we teach in the classroom and figuring out which lessons could better prepare students for life after graduation…

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The best measure of success and how to teach it

Can you predict academic success or whether a child will graduate? You can, but not how you might think, reports Edutopia. When psychologist Angela Duckworth studied people in various challenging situations, including National Spelling Bee participants, rookie teachers in tough neighborhoods, and West Point cadets, she found: “One characteristic emerged as a significant predictor of success. And it wasn’t social intelligence. It wasn’t good looks, physical health, and it wasn’t IQ. It was grit.”

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