Evaluating 21st Century Skills

This week I was asked to evaluate to the Partnership for 21st Century Skills website, and give an analysis of my findings. Overall, I was impressed with the sight. I thought the site offered many resources, and did an excellent job of stating and explaining the mission and purpose of their organization.

   I was particularly impressed with the frameworks. One reason is that my beliefs are aligned with their beliefs. I also believe that most of the knowledge and skills that students are being  taught, do not match the knowledge and skills they will need in the workplace as they enter their adult lives. I also like that this framework focuses on globalization, and the need for students to understand environmental issues. With the Earth’s population expected to reach 7 billion in the near future, examining environmental issues, and solutions to them, will be critical in order to preserve human life. 

   One aspect of the frameworks that I did not necessarily agree with, was the initiative to develop leaders. I certainly understand the need to have strong leaders in our society and the workplace. However, I think most people in these positions are natural leaders. Sure, they need development of these leadership skills, but most of these people have an innate ability to lead. Furthermore, there will always be some people that will never be leaders. I would not throw out this part of the framework, rather make this an extension of the frameworks for those students that are interested in leadership roles.

   Moving forward, I will use this site as a valuable resource to provide these skills to my students. As I viewed the P21 map, I noticed that the state of Georgia has not adapted the frameworks, or has yet to prove it is has done enough to qualify as a P21 state. My state has adapted the Common Core Standards. However, as I reviewed the 21st Century Skills Social Studies Map, many of the standards are closely aligned. I was impressed with the collaboration aspect of the standards, and will be using many of the activities with my students such as wikis and blogs. This will allow to teach the material set forth by my state, as well as teach the skills that will definitely be needed in the 21st century world and job market.  

You can visit the site here: http://www.p21.org/index.php

Blogging in the Classroom

   I have been asked to post an idea as to how I can use blogs with my students in my classroom? I teach 7th grade Social Studies and our curriculum covers the eastern world. This includes SW Asia, SE Asia, and Africa. After some consideration, I believe blogging can be an excellent extension activity for my students, in order to find deeper understanding of the subject matter.

  Initially, I would like for my blog to be a place where students can share their insights on certain concepts we cover in class. I plan on making my discussion topics open-ended questions to which there is no definitive right or wrong answer. I believe this will make for better dialogue among the students. My goal is for my students to give their position on certain matters, and then be able to defend their position using facts from materials and resources we covered in class. After becoming comfortable with this process, I would like for my students to continue doing so, but using multiple sources of outside information to argue their position. These sources need to be credible.

   Ultimately, I would like for my blog to be a place where my students can connect to a global community, and continue to take a position on a topic, and defend it. This is especially important for my students because many of the people in the global community will certainly have a different point of view than my students. For instance, a sample question could read as follows: “Do you believe it was necessary for the United States to drop atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to bring an end to World War II?” This will certainly get mixed responses, especially depending on the responder’s point of view. This is what I envision my blog becoming. A place to enquire a deeper understanding of the concepts I teach, not necessarily a place for graded work. Although, it can be used for grades if needed?

  Does my vision for my blog seem realistic? What potential problems could I face in implementing my blog into my classroom? What recommendations do you have for me in bringing this blog to fruition? All fedback will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

 

Educational Apps

There are thousands of educational apps that can be incorporated into the classroom, or used by parents at home to facilitate learning. Today, I will focus solely on apps for the iPad. However, I will continue to search and provide resources for smartphones, and other tablets. It is critical that we provide students with a medium of learning that peak their interest, and relates to how 21st century students learn. Here are a few of latest educational apps for the iPad or iPhone by content. I would to get some feedback on these apps. Were they useful? Were they user friendly? Also, let me know of some other great educational apps for personal devices. Thanks!

*Note–All of these apps can be found at the App Store on iTunes. Some apps have to be purchased, and are not free.*

Language Arts/Writing:

iThoughtsHD

A Novel Idea

Pearltrees

SpellBoard

Sparklefish

GrammarPrep by Pearson

Word Dynamo

WordFlex Touch

Math:

Math Bingo

Sushi Monster

iCross

Geom-e-Tree

Dragonbox+

Math Ref

Solve Pro

Statsmate

Mathmateer

Meteor Math

Super 7

Science:

Molecules

D. Bones

Fotopedia Wild Friends

Leafsnap

Butterfly Farm

Earthlapse

SkySafari 3

eWeatherHD

Earth Stories

Osmos

Galaxy on Fire 2

History/Geography:

National Park Maps

ArcGIS

Barefoot World Atlas

Geo Walk HD-3D

Today in History

Smithsonian Channel

iAfrica

Infinity of Nations

2013 World FactBook

Current World Leaders

The Economist World in Figures