Last week, I had the honour of attending a round table discussion on the topic of 21st Century Teaching and Learning in a Digital World, along with approximately 30 others, as arranged by the Ministry of Education. I wanted to share a personal reflection on the day.
Setting the stage: After a brief welcome and overview of the day, participants were invited to briefly introduce themselves and share a significant insight or practice they have on the topic of 21st Century Teaching and Learning in a Digital World.
When my turn came, I spoke to the following points regarding insights and/or best practices:
1. Technology use must be embedded into the learning process and aligned with high yield teaching strategies (examples: graphic organizers, anchor charts, open ended critical questions, non fiction writing, exemplars)
2. Link digital citizenship to the character development programs, and distinguish between appropriate use tools and poor choices of behaviour
3. Embrace the strengths of social media tools to support student learning where appropriate
4. The importance of having a student voice in the planning process
5. Enable and empower learners and the teaching process
6. Invest in infrastructure, and support use of using personally owned mobile devices
7. Expectations regarding the effective use of technology needs to be set at the provincial level, reflected in strategic plans. School success plans should also specify appropriate use of technology to support learning.
Alignment: The next part of the discussion required us to look at how 21st Century Teaching and Learning in a Digital World related to the three key goals: improving student achievement, closing the gap and increasing public confidence of education.
Throughout the discussion, I thought a number of good points were made by the group including:
a) We need progressive and aggressive change at the systemic level to alter the culture and address the gap in effective technology use
b) Building capacity in school administrators
c) Teacher training needs to change, and include the strategy of gradual release of responsibility
d) Model effective use of technology, and make use of mentors
e) Assessment practices are inherently paper based
Recap: At the end of our session, 8 emerging themes were identified as follows:
2. access, equity and use of personal devices
3. privacy, rules of use, digital citizenship
4. teacher practice and preparation
5. development of, and use of digital content
6. effective sharing of resources
7. change assessment practices
8. continued focus on the business of learning – continued improvement
Next Steps: The notes of the day will be formally documented, and a plan will be determined to share the findings and announce next steps. I found this to be a great experience. I would be delighted to have continued involvement in this planning process should the opportunity come about.