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Saturday, January 10, 2009

21st Century Classroom/One-to-One Institute in Michigan

On a snowy day, I'm having a great time planning for an event next month. Will post the URL when it's ready (soon, during the week) - but it's for for the One-to-One Institute to be held at University of Michigan Dearborn on February 24, 2009. Synopsis is I'll give a keynote on 21st Century teaching and learning followed by my teaching a 21st Century classroom of 6th, 7th and 8th graders while observed by the participants in the morning and then again in the afternoon, closing with a panel of the students. With much deconstruction of the process, the planning, the resources, the tools, the goals -- and with an eye towards making the ideas replicable, accessible and practical for teachers. A Wiki will be fully populated for all participants in lieu of "handouts."

The idea of 21st Century learning is in many ways a new moniker for many existing important educational ideas. Collaborative learning, team learning, higher order thinking, student-centered learning, project-based learning, inquiry-based learning, critical thinking/problem-solving skills are part and parcel of what is now termed 21st Century skills and learning. In the end it's all about the facilitation of deep thinking. Deep thinking doesn't involve repeating facts or finding information, although facts and information inform thinking. Teachers viscerally know when thinking and synthesis is going on in their classrooms. Those educators attuned to these ideas will thrive in a 21st Century classroom.

The difference, however, between these concepts as they were employed even 5 years ago and today's classroom is the abundance of new resources and tools for engaging students and facilitating their deep thinking. And the tools available for the teacher while planning, executing and assessing the project. We'll be using Wikispaces, Voicethreads, Animoto, Apple Keynote, Google Maps, Excel, Smartboards, laptops, blogs, Twitter, and probably more. All without Webmasters or a tech department. All planning is being done at home on my wireless network and at various Internet-enabled cafes and libraries. With reliance as always on my PLN (Personal Learning Network) contacted and polled through Twitter, Linked-In, Facebook and email.

This is going to be way too much fun.

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