Are Schools Preparing Students for the 21st Century?

In a recent November article of The Journal, Dave Nagel writes, “Without incorporating technology into every aspect of its activities, no organization can expect to achieve results in this increasingly digital world.” Where do schools stand in relation to this? According to a paper released by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), State Education Technology Directors Association (SETDA), and the Partnership for 21st Century Skills at the SEDTA Leadership Summit and Education Forum in Washington, D.C., they suggest the following steps to take:

1) Use technology comprehensively to develop proficiency in 21st century skills.
Yes, core knowledge is important, but not enough to compete with parts of the world society. Even if all core subjects are mastered, can they necessarily compete? Standardized testing tests minimal standards.

2) Use technology comprehensively to support innovative teaching and learning. To keep pace with the rest of the world, schools need to promote demanding, engaging, and purposeful activities (not just drill-and-kill). If students just master the test, are they prepared for the rigors of the modern technological world?

3) Use technology comprehensively to create robust education support systems. “To be effective in schools and classrooms, teachers and administrators need training, tools and proficiency in 21st century skills themselves. Used comprehensively, technology transforms standards and assessments, curriculum and instruction, professional development, learning environments, and administration.”

In summary, integrating technology must go beyond just the drill-and-skill/kill to master tests; integrating technology must be engaging beyond just teaching a software program. Successful technology integration means that technology must be a resource (as one does with an almanac, a dictionary, an encyclopedia, or other resources available to a teacher).

This is where your building TRT (ITRT in other cities of Virginia) can help you as you prepare your students for the 21st century. Let us know how we can help you in your classroom!