Partnerships to Incorporate 21st Century Learning Skills into the Classroom

I can’t remember a time in my life when school wasn’t something that I was involved in. I went from watching my older sister go to school when I was just a youngin’ and yearning to participate. Then the day came when I began preschool and eventually headed off to elementary school. I always loved going to school! I remember going into middle school and the excitement of having more responsibility and the opportunity to learn in multiple classes, and that only grew as I went into high school. Then came college and as a true education junky, I was called to be a teacher… bringing me right back to the beginning. While my love for continual learning was a constant in my life, so was my questioning. Throughout my educational career I always wondered the one question that most other students can resonate with… “how am I going to use this in the real world?”. Sometimes this question came a little snarkier than others, but often I genuinely was interested in how I would possibly use my experiences in The Oregon Trail simulation once I grew up. Fast forward a decade or two and I am finally finding out some significance to more than the question of how the content I was learning would help me in the future… but to why the methods of how I learned the content would help me in the future.   Nicole Krueger writes in her article, Preparing students for jobs that don’t exist yet, “The massive shifts technology and globalization that are expected to transform the workplace have already begun. In many industries and countries, some of the most in-demand jobs didn’t even exist five or 10 years ago – and the pace of change will only accelerate.” So why should we be teaching the exact same things now as we did years and years ago… if it isn’t getting our students ready for jobs that will be in high demand when they are older?   Krueger also references an incredibly insightful TedTalk by Aspen Meineke, on how it’s educators responsibility to spark the imagination of their students. You can watch it here.  Both Meineke and Krueger speak to the importance of HOW content is taught and not only WHAT content is taught. But how can we focus on the how instead of the what? Here is where collaboration and 21st century learning skills come into play.   21st Century Learning Skills:   The Ed Glossary defines 21st century skills as: “a broad set of knowledge, skills, work habits, and character traits that are believed—by educators, school reformers, college professors, employers, and others—to be critically important to success in today’s world, particularly in collegiate programs and contemporary careers and workplaces.” Instead of just teaching our students the “what” content such as mathematics, ELA, science, social studies and other tradition subjects, we need to start infusing our classrooms with these “hows” of learning.   First off, educators cannot remain in a bubble and hope to be launched into the future. Peer coaching and collaboration are key for teachers to get practice with these skills first hand, and to also share their knowledge with peers. This brings me to my research question for this module:   “How can coaches help their learning partners to understand and incorporate 21st century learning skills into their teaching?”  As a newbie to the term “21st century learning skills”, I started my research by searching for examples of what some of these special skills were. This led me to a wealth of knowledge from the group “Battelle for Kids”. They have created a fantastic model that represents 21st century skills.   Each of these overarching aspects to the overall 21st century skills came with a list of skills that fall below them:   Learning and Innovation Skills:  These skills help students to become more fluent at adapting to complex situations and environments. They include:  Creativity and Innovation  Critical Thinking and Problem Solving  Communication  Collaboration  Information, Media, and Technology Skills: These skills assist in the ability of citizens to adapt in a world of constant information, technological, and contribution changes. These “functional and critical thinking skills” include:  Information Literacy  Media Literacy  ICT (Information, Communications, and Technology) Literacy  Life and Career Skills: These skills will help students to work effectively in their future careers. They include social emotional skills along with contextual knowledge. They are:  Flexibility and Adaptability  Initiative and Self-Direction  Social and Cross-Cultural Skills  Productivity and Accountability  You can find more depth information regarding this model here.   While this list gives an incredible insight to some of the skills that can help students be more adaptable and future-ready, it does not all need to be done at once. As Foltos states in his book “Peer Coaching: Unlocking the Power of Collaboration”, start small and start positive.   So how can coaches help their learning partners focus on the how of teaching instead of the what? Begin incorporating activities that encourage the acquisition of one of the 4 C’s. Encourage educators to become familiar with the ISTE student standards to help promote the “Information, Media, and Technology Skills”  branch. Become versed in the SEL teachings that encourage the skills that fall under “Life and Career Skills”.   What do you do in your coaching/classroom to promote 21st century skills? What do you do in your own practice to stay fresh with these skills? Comment below!  Resources  21st Century Skills Definition. (2016, August 25). The Glossary of Education Reform. https://www.edglossary.org/21st-century-skills/  Aspen Meineke. (2020, January 9). Help Students Find Their Spark [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCkfprNWV7M&feature=youtu.be  ISTE Standards for Coaches | ISTE. (n.d.). ISTE. Retrieved November 5, 2020, from https://www.iste.org/standards/for-coaches  Krueger, N. (2019, November 22). Preparing students for jobs that don’t exist. ISTE. https://www.iste.org/explore/ISTE-blog/Preparing-students-for-jobs-that-don%27t-exist  Partnership for 21st Century Learning. (2019). Battelle for Kids. https://www.battelleforkids.org/networks/p21 

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Reflecting on Coaching Relationships and my Peer Coaching Project

Fall quarter has come to an end but the learning is still continuing. For this quarter my project was around coaching a peer in order to create a lesson plan. I’ve been using the ISTE Coaching standards to help craft … Continue reading

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Three-Point Communication and Coaching Relationships

Well, I’ve reached the end of Fall quarter in my Educational Technology Leadership class at Seattle Pacific University. For this last module I’ve gone a different route and am focusing on something a little more specific. We have been talking … Continue reading

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Creating Positive Coaching Relationships Based on Collaborating and Communicating

Have you ever heard of the book, “All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten”? It is a book full of essays on life written by Robert Fulghum. It mentions a few short statements of things you learn in kindergarten that…

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Connecting 21st Century Learning and Effective Learning Practices

As I sit here on this cold and overcast day, my mind keeps wandering to this idea of 21st-Century learning. In class the topic these last two weeks has been on 21st-Century learning and what that means. This got me … Continue reading

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Communicating in a Virtual Space

For my EDTC 6105 course we are continuing to talk about communication, coaching and how communication plays a role in successful coaching. Over the last couple weeks we have been talking about how coaches can build trust, set goals and … Continue reading

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EDTC 6104 Community Engagement Project – Supporting Learning with Project-Based Learning and Nearpod

This summer as part of my EDTC 6104 course I have had the opportunity to learn more about ISTE Coaching Standard 3 and how it connects with my work as a coach and supporting educators and students. One of the … Continue reading

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Evaluating Efficacy of Remote Learning Content and Tools

This past spring our lives as we knew them were turned upside down. The greatest things that came out of this scary and life altering pandemic, were the innovations and truly caring hearts that came to the forefront of our communities. As an educator, I was so incredibly thankful to still have the ability to collect a paycheck and have that stressor relieved – however, my job still changed quite a bit. And while it was not all negative, it was still an incredible change to push a 100% in-person model online. Education leaders and educational tech companies and organizations got to work immediately, creating resources and support for teachers who were switching to a remote model at the drop of the hat. It warmed my heart to see all the love and collaboration that was flowing through the education communities to help one another get through this quick change!  With all of these quickly produced and released resources flooding into teachers’ emails, the question was brought up in my teams collaborative planning meetings of which resources were best and which we should be focusing our time on. What a great question! I was reminded of this conversation recently when I am once again planning for going back to school in a fully remote model. How do we test the efficacy and effectiveness of not only resources, but also digital tools?  How can coaches partner with educators to reflect on digital learning content and tools to enhance remote learning? ISTE Coaching Standard 3 Collaborator While searching for ways that educators have been able to reflect and analyze on digital learning content and tools, I came across an article “6 Ways Administrators Can Prove the Efficacy of Digital Tools”  written by Eric Sheninger, a digital leadership expert at the International Center for Leadership in Education.  Sheninger goes through a list of 6 ways to prove digital tool efficacy. He states that the way to start off is to take a look at pedagogy and then move onto the research behind tools and content. You can then look at the reason why you are choosing to use those resources and finish with a reflection. My favorite pieces of this post are the reflection that can be posed to educators to help them think through the effectiveness of the tools/content that they are using: Did my students learn? How do I know if my students learned? How do others know if my students learned? What can be done to improve? What point of view have I not considered? With the wonderful insight from some of my Digital Education Leadership cohort members, we were able to extend these questions to help give educators more information on continuing with digital learning content or tools Did my students learn? Which students learned? Are there a certain grouping of students that were able to access this content or tool with more success than a separate grouping of students? How can you differentiate this so that all students have the same access to the content or tool? How do I know if my students learned? What formative assessment strategies will be used in order for you, as the educator, to determine if students have learned? What success criteria will be in place? How do others know if my students learned? How will a student know they were successful? How will this learning be easily communicated with parents? How will administration see that students are aware of their learning with this digital content or tool? What can be done to improve? Is more scaffolding necessary? Is this content within my students zone of proximal understanding? If not, how can I ensure students will be able to stretch to understand this content?  What point of view have I not considered?  Is this digital content or tool culturally responsive? What trauma informed practices are available to be integrated with this content or tool to ensure students who have higher ACES (adverse childhood experiences) will have similar learning to students who have less ACES? How will our ELL (English Language Learners) students access this content or tool? How will a student with a 504 plan or receiving specially designed instruction access this content or tool?  All of these questions will help a coach work through the process of evaluating digital content or tools to ensure that they are effective. Through a different approach, educators could rate their digital content or tool by using a rubric. Here is one example provided by ISTE: No matter what method you choose to reflect upon digital content or tools, the most important piece is that you are taking the time to actually reflect.  How do you reflect on digital learning content or tools? What are some other pieces of teaching that you feel coaches can help educators reflect on? Comment below! References ISTE Standards for Coaches | ISTE. (n.d.). ISTE. Retrieved August 1, 2020, from https://www.iste.org/standards/for-coaches Klein, A. (2019, November 18). Digital Learning Tools Are Everywhere, But Gauging Effectiveness Remains Elusive, Survey Shows. Education Week. https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2019/09/18/digital-learning-tools-are-everywhere-but-gauging.htmlSheninger, E. (2020, May 6). 6 Ways Administrators Can Prove the Efficacy of Digital Tools. Technology Solutions That Drive Education. https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2017/11/6-ways-administrators-can-prove-efficacy-digital-tools

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Empowered to Explore and Keep Trying

For the last module of summer quarter I decided to focus on ISTE Coaching Standard 3a which reads; Establish trusting and respectful coaching relationships that encourage educators to explore new instructional strategies. I wanted to focus on this standard because … Continue reading

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Personalized Support Through Professional Growth Plans

Goal setting is an incredibly important strategy that we teach our students throughout their educational careers. We start small and create scaffolds to help our students learn how to work through a goal while demonstrating reflective thinking pra…

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