Exemplars of Computational Thinking in Higher Education Classrooms

Though the concepts and theory behind computational thinking (CT) have been around for decades in the realms of computer science and engineering, it is widely acknowledged that Jeanette Wing’s 2006 publication on computational thinking laid the groundwork for CT’s popularity and integration in 21st century education theory.  Wing (2006) suggested that CT might be considered …

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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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Administering 21st Century P.D.

This week we are continuing with ISTE Coaching Standard 4, Indicator B: Design, develop, and implement technology rich professional learning programs that model principles of adult learning and promote digital age best practices in teaching, learning, and assessment. I really

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21st Century Skills to Connect Teachers and Coaches: Module 3

Module 3 of EDTC 6105 and my definition of the problem For this week my program is focusing on 21st century learning. The topic alone brings a lot of questions forward, what is 21st century learning? Does it matter to teachers and students? How do you measure 21st century learning? My search for resources didn’t … Continue reading “21st Century Skills to Connect Teachers and Coaches: Module 3”

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The 21st-Century Skill & Art Form – The Feedback Loop

This week in my studies with the Digital Education Leadership program at Seattle Pacific University, I am continuing to explore ISTE Coaching Standards 1 and 2 by investigating what effective student learning looks like. Just as norms are an essential part of a peer coaching relationship, so too is a shared vision for what effective 21st-century education looks like. This shared vision creates a starting place … Continue reading The 21st-Century Skill & Art Form – The Feedback Loop

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ISTE – The Empowered Learner: My Hero Project

The next step in my coursework in the Seattle Pacific University, Digital Education Leadership program is to work my way through the ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) 2016 student standards. First, looking at ISTE standard 1 – Empowered Learners, and specifically for my students I will focus on how “students use technology to … Continue reading ISTE – The Empowered Learner: My Hero Project

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Resources for Co-Planning Learning Activities

  When I first started to research different resources to help co-plan with my learning partner, I kept thinking about my problem very narrowly.  My triggering question is below. Triggering Question: What are some good resources/processes I can use to determine how to best co-plan with my learning partner with 3rd grade math? I kept …

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Effective Use of 21st Century Skills – EDTC 6105

  When I first heard of 21st century learning it was this nebulous concept that at the beginning felt overwhelming and I wasn’t sure what elements about it related to technology.  However, the deeper I have researched the more I’m starting to understand how this learning model contributes to more in-depth understanding and engagement during …

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Meeting the Needs of English Language Learners

ISTE Coaching Standard 3: Digital age learning environments proposes that technology coaches create and support effective digital age learning environments to maximize the learning of all students. This module focused on performance indicators: B – Maintain and manage a variety of digital tools and resources for teacher and student use in technology-rich learning environments D […]

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