Jan 27, 2013 - Weekly Blog Reflection    Comments Off on Week 2: 21st Century Skills v. Core Knowledge

Week 2: 21st Century Skills v. Core Knowledge

What a busy week it has been! I taught a lot this week and then got to have the most wonderful weekend with friends at my undergraduate alma mater James Madison University. I am more tired getting back from vacation then I was when I left. I loved this module. It was all incredibly relevant and real to what I hear at faculty meetings. Educators are incredibly stumped with how to reach kids in the most effective ways. Kids do not respond to lecturing and note-taking as they once did. I got the opportunity to long term substitute in a world history class at Massaponax High School. It was the best time ever! I fell in love with the community there and the students. But what I saw in the students was a lack of motivation. They did not want to listen to my lectures nor did they want to do any of the activities. Even if the activities involved some scavenger hunting the students were not interested. Their first question without fail daily was, “Can we work with partners?” Naturally I would answer “NO” repeatedly. Students in the 21st century thrive in social situations. They also greatly lack communication skills. They spend their hours abbreviating every word possible in order to text or to fit 140 characters in their twitter box.

Reviewing the websites of the Core Knowledge group as well as the Partnership for 21st Century Skills I found myself at a crossroad. A real dilemma. On one hand the argument that anything can be Googled and learning can take place makes sense. I Google way too many things. But then on the other hand without the proper techniques for knowing how to find credible sources and fish for the truth how will students know that their Google search resulted in the truth? Then I think about what growing up in school was like for me and I took notes and listened. I thrived doing that. But I am considered a digital native. The Core Knowledge is what being a teacher is. Efficiently teaching students core knowledge in subjects that vary from science to history. But when taking a closer look at the Core Knowledge website there are only core standards for mathematics and language arts. This is a major blow to my future profession as a history teacher. Do students not need a base standard for historical knowledge (Hirch, 2013)?

So I am still standing at this crossroad. Because I see that students need something else but I also believe in students having a great span of knowledge ranging in varying subjects. My very humble opinion is that there has got to be something in the middle that incorporates technology as well as a teacher giving students information to recall and use in the future. One of the major ways we discussed using technology was through the Interactive White Board (IWB).
In this video you will find 5 quick and easy tips to make this board usable and easier for you and your students. Incorporating technology efficiently is a process that needs in depth training. It needs to be a common goal within a given school or department in order to reach students.

I think it would be a really neat idea to incorporate twitter and facebook into course curriculum. Students spend a majority of their time on these social media sites. Even students who do not have access to internet at home find a way to use these sites when possible. I think designing an account for your classes each year would be a smart way to remind students of upcoming assignments or even current homework assignments.

I conclude with students need both. You need to incorporate both technology and core knowledge for students to be successful in the world and well rounded candidates for jobs. Looking forward to module three. See y’all next week.

edu, T. (Producer) (2009). 5 tips and tricks for the smartboard edutecheredutecher·61 videos [Web]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWNCHG-xB9o&list=PLA5EDAD339DB42C96&index=9

Hirch, E. D. (2013). Coreknowledge. Retrieved from http://www.coreknowledge.org/

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