Sunday, February 19, 2012



With the new 21st century skills ad Common Core Standards the foundation of education is changing. With this fundamental shift in pedagogy, the expectations of educators are changing too. No longer is the educator the only source of information as students have unlimited resources through the Internet (Laureate, 2010b). Therefore, the role of the educator has changed from provider to facilitator of information. It is now essential to provide students with the skills needed to be successful in the 21st century. Through this course I have developed a new understanding of technology in the classroom, but also how to implement the technology for my students to develop 21st century skills.

When starting this course I was acclimated with blogs, podcasts, and wikis, but I was struggling attempting to implement them in my English classroom.  My inability to implement these types of technology were hindered by my school district not allowing us to us any form of technology other than a Moodle.  From the very start of this course I discovered new uses for all three, and more importantly the uses are to do different things, not just doing things differently (Thornburg, 2004). In my sports literature course, discussions can take place about particular questions on blogs; moreover, that discussion can lead into more research done by the students to complete a wiki on a particular subject matter.  I see much value in podcasts in many subject areas, but in an English classroom I see it as very beneficial. I would like to use this technology to have students read a short story they would like their classmates to hear or to set-up a podcast to discuss ideas on literature. Creating a course wiki would be productive in an English classroom. One of several key 21st century skills is collaboration. In creating a wiki, students are required to work together to edit each other’s work in order to create a published product. In subsequent years, a class can edit the wiki of previous classes as well as use the information in their studies. These technologies would become resources for other students while allowing the current students to reflect on what they are learning.

All of these technologies allow students to have more autonomy of their learning, creating a transition from a teacher-centered classroom to a teacher-facilitator classroom. In addition, activities that allow students to problem solve use technology to find answers, whether it is websites, blogs, or video chats, students are gaining the 21st century skill of life-long learning. Especially in an English class, the content of a novel is not always the most important aspect of the lesson, but the critical thought it takes from the student to apply that information in a unique and original way is where these technologies can drastically change the dynamics of learning. By having students at the forefront of their own learning, you are actually allowing them to teach themselves how to learn. This allows them to make mistakes, learn from them, and try again, something that is fundamental to problem solving.

In the next two years, I have set two goals to aid in transforming my role from instructor into a facilitator. First, I will have all students participating in a class wiki where students will add and edit the work done by the previous class. I will start the wiki in the first year with the help of my students, and by the second year, students will be responsible for editing and adding sections dealing discussions in the classroom and ideas on the writing process. My second goal—this will be much more difficult to complete because of the resistance of my district--is to shift completely away from textbook-lecture style classroom—I am already accomplishing this in my Sports Literature course-- to an internet-interactive classroom where students are building on knowledge from the previous year and units to learn new concepts, and then apply those concepts to solve real world scenarios. The Partnership for 21st Century Skills among others recognizes the importance of involving businesses and individuals within the community to apply classroom learning, so I will include such people in projects, whether for feedback or sharing what is needed to be successful. In the next year, I will need to perfect how to balance time away from a computer with the limited time on a computer. This would include having students use their cell phone technology (Laureate, 2010a).

When I began this course, I rarely used student-centered activities, technology used by students, or talked with students about technologies they use frequently. Over the last month I have incorporated two activities that have allowed students to work together to strengthen their writing and understanding of the importance of creating publishable work. Students have been asked to submit all of their essay writing onto the classroom blog—the idea of a blog has created such excitement from my students that a few have designed their own blogs. Regardless, students gained important experience through the activities, and more importantly, I found ways to get students actively involved in their learning. I can say that I have successfully begun my transition from an information-teacher to an information-facilitator.


Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2010). Program number 1: The emergence of educational technology [DVD]. Understanding the impact of technology on education, work, and society. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2010). Program number 13: Today's students [DVD]. Understanding the impact of technology on education, work, and society. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Richardson, W. (2010). Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful web tools for classrooms (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

Thornburg, D. (2004). Technology and education: Expectations, not options. (Executive Briefing No. 401). Retrieved from