Our 21st Century learners should be . . .

Our World is forever changing and Futurelab has tried to capture the essence of it with this recent video

1. Creativity and Innovation

Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology. Students:

  • apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processes.
  • create original works as a means of personal or group expression.
  • use models and simulations to explore complex systems and issues.
  • identify trends and forecast possibilities.

2. Communication and Collaboration

Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others. Students:

  • interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments and media.
  • communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats.
  • develop cultural understanding and global awareness by engaging with learners of other cultures.
  • contribute to project teams to produce original works or solve problems.

3. Research and Information Fluency

Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information. Students:

  • plan strategies to guide inquiry.
  • locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media.
  • evaluate and select information sources and digital tools based on the appropriateness to specific tasks.
  • process data and report results.

4. Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making

Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources. Students:

  • identify and define authentic problems and significant questions for investigation.
  • plan and manage activities to develop a solution or complete a project.
  • collect and analyze data to identify solutions and/or make informed decisions.
  • use multiple processes and diverse perspectives to explore alternative solutions.

5. Digital Citizenship

Students understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior. Students:

  • advocate and practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology.
  • exhibit a positive attitude toward using technology that supports collaboration, learning, and productivity.
  • demonstrate personal responsibility for lifelong learning.
  • exhibit leadership for digital citizenship.

6. Technology Operations and Concepts

Students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems, and operations. Students:

  • understand and use technology systems.
  • select and use applications effectively and productively.
  • troubleshoot systems and applications.
  • transfer current knowledge to learning of new technologies.

Adapted from: International Society for Technology in Education 2007

Well how do we get there?

How do we do get there?

Supporting and participating in professional learning, a responsibility to be the leading learner, the role model.

  • Have a clear purpose. Share the vision with the staff, cultivate their thoughts, understand coersion doesn’t work, respect their need to progress at their own pace.
  • Provide personal and professional support , workplace structures and lots of encouragement.
  • Model the behaviours you want to achieve.
  • Be seen as a risk taker . . .  don’t always do things the way others might expect you to.
  • Keep focus . . . never waiver from the direction you’ve taken be confident.
  • Build relationships
  • Encourage co-operation and collaboration
  • Give everyone a chance to lead
  • Work and socialise while sharing and learning
  • Encourage knowledge and skill sharing among colleagues
  • Keep the implementation grounded in teaching and learning
  • Keep the goals and the vision clear.

The school leader must be prepared to take a risk in order to lead a 21st century school and even more supporting an environment that encourages and supports all teachers and all students taking risks.

The Six Secrets recommended . . .

Michael Fullan (2008) The Six Secrets of Change: What the best leaders do to help their organisations survive suggests six ways to successfully manage change:

1.            loving your employees

2            connecting to peers with a purpose

3.            building capacity

4.            seeing learning as the most important work

5.            being transparent with all decisions

6.            understanding that systems learn.

Planned change is designed to move toward shared goals and vision

Planned change is designed to move toward shared goals and vision.

It is continuous improvement. Steps are evaluated, reflected upon and revisions move the whole organization closer to the shared vision.

Inevitably with change “fast is slow” (Fullan again??) Change doesn’t always happen in a straight line . . .  each individual in an organization has to be given the chance to progress at their own pace . . .  no different to the students really . . .  staff need to be involved every step of the way. They need to feel empowered in and respected for their effort to change.

Characteristics of 21st Century ect teachers and students

Raines, C. (2002) Managing Millenials. Generations at Work has made an extensive study of the generations working and learning in schools.

What are the characteristics of our students?

  • Grown up digital surrounded by technology
  • Thrive on the opportunity to customise nearly everything they do . . .  their contact lists, photos, ringtones, mobile phone skins, web sites, blogs, and social network sites accounts
  • Networked all their lives
  • “twitch speed” video game players
  • Don’t read textbooks
  • Bored by lecture style delivery
  • Want to create
  • Multitaskers

What are characteristics of the new generation of teachers?

  • Smart
  • Tech savvy
  • Inclusive
  • Tolerant
  • Confident
  • Optimistic
  • Civic minded
  • Group oriented
  • Goal and achievement oriented
  • Good at multitasking
  • Expect a great deal from their leaders

What the new generation of teachers want:

  • Leadership. Looking for leaders who are great role models displaying honesty and integrity.
  • Challenge. They want learning opportunities to be given the chance to participate in projects where they try new things and learn from these. They are looking for personal growth and a career path
  • Collaboration. They prefer to work with people they like and enjoy the social aspects of work.
  • Fun. A sense of humour and silliness are important elements of their workplace.
  • Respect. They wanted their ideas to be treated with respect even though they are novices.
  • Flexibility. Busiest generation ever don’t necessarily like the rigidity of the job.

This group will leave a position

  • If it does not meet their high expectations
  • When their ideas are discounted simply because of their lack of experience
  • Because they ill not tolerate negativity
  • If co-workers are intimidated by their technical skills (Raines, 2002)

What challenge does this present for school leaders?

  • Support the older generation of teachers in the implementation of change which will enable them to engage and work with today’s learners
  • Learn how to maximise the skills and characteristics of the new digitally aware teachers

while continuing to achieve student learning outcomes and excellence.

Are there any standards to guide us?

The International Society for Technology Educators has developed a series of standards known as NETS for

What skills do you think 21st century students are going to need to survive and thrive (Fullan 2008).

People in the 21st century live in a technology and media-suffused environment, marked by access to an abundance of information, rapid changes in technology tools, and the ability to collaborate and make individual contributions on an unprecedented scale. To be effective in the 21st century citizens and workers must be able to exhibit a range of functional and critical thinking skills related to information, media and technology.

Partnership for 21st Century Skills www.21stcenturyskills.org

What are 21st century skills?

  • critical thinking
  • Problem solving
  • Creativity and innovation
  • Communication and
  • collaboration

Defining knowledge of this era

knowledge does not and cannot reside in any one individual text, object or tool. It is distributed across members of a group (both novice and expert) and across the many objects and tools and processes the group uses.

A great resource to expand your knowledge and understanding in this area is The Future of Education.

Innovators are discerning risk takers

Evidence from the research shows that no matter how much preparation teachers have had for integrating technology into the curriculum unless they have the support of the school leadership or administrator their efforts often fail.

Leading in a culture of change means creating a culture (not just a structure) of change. It does not mean adopting innovations, one after another; it does mean producing the capacity to seek, critically assess and selectively incorporate new ideas and practices – all the time, inside the organization as well as outside it.

Michael Fullan (2001), Leading in a culture of change, p.44

Given the current climate  of accountability and the continuing pressure to improve learning outcomes for all students it is especially important to have  a vision and a plan to utilise digital technology for teaching and learning. We owe it to  our students and teachers because as citizens of the 21st century they are living in a world that is saturated with technology. School is an alien environment . . . it is necessary to engage with them in their own world.

To be a successful leader in the 21st Century, school leaders need to be

  • open to change, know
  • how to manage change and
  • be risk takers

Listen to Yong Zhao Catching Up or Leading the Way

Becoming a digital school . . . reflections

Where do we want to go?

That’s up to you to discuss with your school leader. Is your leader committed to becoming a digital school? Are you? How many of your colleagues will join you? Konrad Glogowski has some interesting views on the leading learner.

How do we know where we want to go?

Read, research, scour the internet, read blogs, wikis, listen to podcasts, watch youtube and teacher tube hear what educators using technology have to say.

Get to know as much a you can about the capacity of technology in the 21st century.

Know that unless you look far out whatever you will try to implement within 2 years will be out of date even before you start.

That is why web 2.0 tools grounded in teaching and learning are so valuable to we educators. They provide an amazing array of things to do, ways to create, learn, collaborate, connect, problem solve, manipulate, evaluate and synthesise information within a classroom, a school or across the world. Web 2.0 is constantly changing but in a way that allows us to grow and change with it.

Web 2.0 is about going out to the world. Software Products are static and about enclosing.

Take time to listen to what these highly regarded educators have to say. Click on

Learning to Change – Changing to Learn; Advancing K to 12 Technology Leadership

Compiled by Consortium of School Networking