Sunday, October 21, 2012

21st Century Fluencies

My October 19th, PSA day was spent with a group of teachers at a session on Professional Development Online (Creating PLNs) We started the day by watching the keynote speaker for CUEBC, Ian Jukes, via live-streamed video. His focus was on change: changes in our society, changes in in our workplace and as a result the need for change in education. 

He started with some interesting statistics from  the world of work. He explained that creative class jobs have increased since the 1980's. Those jobs were defined as those that are facilitated by technology, but can't be replaced by technology. He went on to say that the economy is eliminating standardized jobs, but schools are still focusing on standardized tests and curriculum. In fact by 2012, 50% of jobs will require creative abstract skills. In answer to why these skills weren't being taught more he quoted Tom Peters, 

"What gets measured gets done. What doesn't get measured doesn't get done."

Ian referred to 6 new "21st century fluencies" that educators need to incorporate when teaching traditional content. 

1. Problem solving

2. Creativity

2. Analytical Thinking
4. Collaborate
5. Communicate
6. Ethics, Actions, Accountability

At this point I had two thoughts: One,  I think there are a lot of teachers out there who are teaching 21st century fluency skills , who are getting them done, but yes, the skills don't get measured. My second thought was how would you go about measuring those skills?  The next thing I know this a link came up via Twitter from @margoflower of a shared google doc. which is working on just that. 
By the end of Jukes' fast-paced, visually stimulating presentation, generously injected by humour, the following are some "nuggets" I wanted to make sure to remember. Admittedly, none of this is necessarily new information, but things that can easily be forgotten in the day to day minutiae of teaching if we aren't careful, if we don't constantly remind ourselves of the big picture. 

"How do we get the content to stick? Interest and Relevance is essential to the learner. It is not about what you teach but how you teach."

"Activities that are multi-sensory, about the real world are the most effective learning environments. "Make learning matter" 

This formula that Jukes supplied made all of this "stick" much better for me: Interest & Relevance + HOTS (Higher Order Thinking Skills) + Real World = 21st Century Learning.

And best of all, at the end of this inspiring keynote, we were provided with some swag to take home.  app.fluency.21. com is a link to sign up to a beta project which is  unit planner tool as well as access to public plans already made via The 21st Century Fluency Project

At the closing we were asked to do three things:
1. Write down three things you know now.
2. Write down two things that you are going to share with colleagues.
3. Write down one action that you are going to take.

and so...... this post and then back to that unit planner! 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Manifesto of Successful Learning

Last week I had the opportunity to take part in a presentation for all the prod reps in our district. The presentation ended with a focus on creating a personal professional development plan. When asked if we already had a professional development plan,  I smugly raised my hand. After all, I have at least five different projects on the go that would count as professional development and I did write one post link with some goals a while back, so yah I've got a pd plan. But as I examined the templates we were given as examples, I had to admit that I really didn't have a formal plan.

So first goal in my prod plan: create a more formal pro-d plan.  I consider myself one who is continually learning to improve myself as a teacher, but just like Tiger Woods (I know, dubious role model), I'm going to break down my swing and go right back to the basics when considering my professional practice.

So what is driving my goals for professional development ? Well simply put, how I can best help students become successful, motivated learners. One teacher at the presentation shared how she has a mission statement posted right by her computer for all to see. For some time, I have  wanted to create something succinct and visual that would keep in the forefront what I should be working for every day that I show up for work.

So here is what is going to go up:

My Manifesto of Successful Learning (keywords based on William Glasser's Self-Control Theory)

I would love to know if you think there is anything that should be added or changed! Incidentally, "teachers" could be inserted for the word "learners" don't you think?