I wish I had a hundred dollars for every time a teacher said to me, “I just need a picture of what 21st Century learning looks like in Language Arts”…or “Science”…or”fill in the blank with your favorite content area”. Everyone, everywhere is trying to wrap their brain around what a 21st Century classroom looks like, feels like and sounds like. How is it different from the 20th Century classroom? We all need to be asking that question. We all need to be answering that question. But it isn’t easy. In fact, easy is a myth.
Over the past six years, I’ve traipsed over, under and around, looking to sharpen my understanding of 21st Century learning… my Diigo bookmarks will undoubtedly provide you with a pretty good picture of my travels. Not content with the belief that 21st Century learning is all about technology, I’ve logged in hundreds of hours stomping through the writings of Will Richardson, Sheryl Nussbaum Beach, Daniel Pink, Howard Gardner, Chris Lehman, David Warlick, Kim Cofino, Sir Kenneth Robinson, Ira Socol, Peter Pappas…and on and on and on. (Some might call it an obsession; I prefer to call it passion.)
So what have I discovered? (Heads up: I don’t think you’re going to like my answer.) I’ve discovered that we need to look beyond the easy answer…the pat answer…the I don’t have time to dig any deeper answer. My friend Sheryl Nussbaum Beach will tell you that you can’t give away what you don’t own…and she’s right. If I’m going to truly understand what it means to be a learner in the 21st Century, then I’m going to have to put on my running shoes ‘cuz this is a marathon, folks…and if we’re doing it right, we’re going to get sweaty.
But we’ve got to begin some place, right? Below you’ll find some of my favorite resources I’ve discovered while on this journey. Click on the links…and the links that take you to other links. (Or find your own cool links.) Read them. Reflect on them. Allow yourself to learn, unlearn and relearn. (Toffler) Then, come back here and share your growing understanding of 21st Century learning by listing exactly five characteristics of a 21st Century classroom, teacher and/or student. Only five. Can you do it? Remember…there’s no easy button.