Learning in the Present
As we know, that information is changing rapidly, so content doesn’t hold as much importance now and hence today’s students need the competencies to be able to apply previous experience to new situations and they need the ability to be lifelong learners because they will need to keep learning as the situations they find themselves in change.
Students should be engaged in more inquiry and project-based learning. Teachers, parents and guides need to be encouraging students to develop higher-order thinking skills. They need to be guiding students as they direct their own learning.
Without a doubt technology can be used effectively to promote the building of 21st Century competencies. But just giving the student a new piece of technology for learning is not automatically going to bring about the changes in learning that we need. We need to rethink how students learn and we need to rethink what they are learning. By ensuring that 21st Century competencies are embedded into all curriculum areas, all teaching, all assessments, and into the professional development teachers receive, children will be best prepared for their future careers.
The Reformed Role - From Parent as Supporter to Parent as Participant
In a special report entitled, A Vision for 21st Century Education by the Premier’s Technology Council (PTC) it has been emphasized that the new model of learning in the 21st century will be more collaborative and inclusive, changing the roles of the student, the teacher and parent.
According to it, the increased role of the parent has to be acknowledged. With greater information availability, parents can be more involved with their child’s education progress, overcoming challenges, and supporting learning outcomes. They now have the opportunities to learn more quickly and more intimately what their child is doing at school and can help guide decisions and respond to challenges more rapidly.
Technology allows far more access to the student’s progress than the periodic report cards and parent teacher interviews of today. Now, parents can expect and they do even receive greater feedback than in the past. With all this, it is also important for parents to recognize their educational role outside the classroom since the learning of a student outside of the school is critical. “Students only spend 14% of their time at school. Indeed, learning is an inherent part of everyday life: each new experience, at home, at work, or during leisure time, may throw up a challenge, a problem to be solved, or a possibility of an improved future state.”
While a stronger role for parents is envisioned, it has to be considered that not all students have the family support structures that will allow such involvement. The system must be structured in such a way that those who face societal barriers such as being single or immigrant parents are also able to participate while the system incorporates the support structures necessary to ensure the students get the support they need.
More about the new role of parents in 21st century learning is discussed in the next part of the series.