Thirty-five years ago, the IBM 5100 and the Apple I circuit board were released, ushering us into the age of the personal computer.
Twenty-five years ago, computers began to enter the classroom… in the form of The Oregon Trail on the Apple IIe.
Fifteen years ago, teenagers took a break from typing their term papers to use a home cordless phone to “page” a school friend… and wait endlessly by that same phone to see if it would ring.
And five years ago, the iPhone, Wii, and eventually netbooks were released, changing everyday use of technology in and out of schools.
This fall, our kindergarten classrooms will be filled with children who were born that year. Children who only know a world where they have access to more information, games, and applications while playing in their car seat with their Mom’s cell phone than they often have when they enter the school’s doors.
These are not the same “21st Century Learners” we’ve grown to know over first decade of the new millennium. For these students, simply watching video and images during lessons, playing a multiplication Internet game, or even taking turns at an Interactive Whiteboard is no longer enough.
These new 21st Century Learners are highly relational and demand quick access to new knowledge. More than that, these students are capable of engaging their education at a whole new level. With the world literally at their fingertips, these students need us to re-envision the role of technology in our classrooms. In a revolution that began as academic technology use and turned to teaching with multimedia technology, we now need a new transformation to teach through technology.
So, what does that look like? For one, we must increasingly put the technology into the hands of students and trust them with more progressive technology objectives. Moreover, we must transform our pedagogy itself to prioritize student discovery, collaboration, and creation. Finally, educators must establish Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) to support their own learning and innovating. In this way, we will ensure that this next generation will not only thrive at our schools, but shine on assessments, establish the problem solving and technology skills needed for successful careers, and become the lifelong learners and innovators we desire to mold.
Are you an NAESP member, you can read this blog and link to others here: http://naesp.org/blog/technology-21st-century-learners
If you are attending the NAESP 2011 Annual Convention, you can join me on Sunday, April 10th from 12:30 to 1:45 PM in Room 13 to find out more as we explore strategies and success stories for Transforming Technology Curriculum for 21st Century Learners.
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