Students used to ask the question of how the material was relevant to their lives. The more and more I heard this question, the more it made me ask myself the same. What I discovered was that education had not changed in the last 200 years, but the world was changing rapidly. How were my students being served by the traditional classroom for their future in the 21st century. My conclusion was that they were not being well prepared. 21st century education is about preparing students for a world which does not exist, yet. We cannot do that by focusing on the details of what they do not know. We must, rather, focus on the how to gain that information and the ability to think through the information. Technology allows students to access any piece of information at any time. This means that we no longer need to focus on the stuff, but rather on the ability to learn information when it is relevant to them. 21st century education is really about teaching our students to think for themselves.
Ron Oliver of Edith Cowan University in Perth, Australia examines the role of technology in his article “The role of ICT in higher education for the 21st century: ICT as a change agent for education.” With the available technology, 21st century skills can reach any student, anywhere in the world. This means that students are no longer limited by the area of their birth, they can receive a high quality, 21st century education anywhere in the world and at any time!
The problems of our world require us to leverage all of human genius. Famine, drought, disease, poverty are all problems that we need to solve in the 21st century, but we cannot do that if most of our students are not taught in the 21st century education model and if we continue to marginalize most of the world’s population. 21st century education is about all students, regardless of where they reside, learning to think, communicate, and collaborate our way to a better world. Stay tuned!
iAM Global Education, Director of Curriculum and Innovation