Friday, January 27, 2012

21st Century Skills

The website, Partnership for 21st Century Skills, seemed daunting at first. The many drop down menus seemed too extensive for me to grasp a singular meaning. After a bit of surfing I found their mission statement. This national organization advocates 21st century readiness for every student. The United States competes in a global economy that demands innovation.  P21 provides tools and resources to help U.S. education keep up by incorporating the 4Cs (creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration with the 3 R's (reading, writing and arithmetic).  They do this with the help of members that include Pearson, Walt Disney Company, Ford Motor Company, Intel, Microsoft, Dell, Cisco, Adobe and NEA, the National Education Association. Virtually every big name in technology and education is a member of P21. The impressive list of members surprised me, and lent credence to this organization.

The video Above and Beyond produced by  Fablevision illustrated how technical details combined with imagination produce innovative results. I enjoyed the video and found other educational video clips from YouTube that had been downloaded to the site.  P21 resources available to teachers included professional development, skill maps, learning environments and mentors. A guide for state and district leaders showcased assessment tactics to assist in statewide 21st century skills initiative.

P21 offers speaking engagements, workshops and seminars. It is apparent that mastering 21st Century Skills is taking a pivotal role in technology, and as educators, we need to feel compelled to acquire these tools. While the website seems too technical and overwhelming, I do believe the exposure I give myself to P21 concepts, the more effective and professional I will become as a teacher.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Classroom Blogging

Classroom blogging should be fun and easy. In the past, I used a Pow-Pak website tied to my school's website.  The most hits I ever received were generated by the blog question, "Do you think our district should go to school uniforms as our dress code? What color should the uniforms be?"
The students went wild and the blog had 4000 hits in one month!
Sadly, the Pow-Pak package has fallen out of favor. I would prefer using blogpost at this time anyway, because it is more direct and student friendly.
What do I think I can use this blog page for?
1. Discussion topics - asking for student opinions and having them explain their stance on issues
2. Collaborate with students from other middle schools
3. Broaden our knowledge base especially with the other collaborating schools
4. Compile information
5. Post student work and pictures
Does anyone have any other suggestions I could use my blog page for?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Computer Games in the Classroom?

In my job as computer applications teacher in a middle school, I find that students rush through their assignment so they can have free time to play computer games.
Do you think computer games belong in the classroom?