Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Are We THAT Much Different?

At inservice this past Monday, we were being inundated with the idea of a 21st century learner and what skill set they need to be successful in the future. The thought floating around in my head since then is "Why and/or how is the 21st century learner any different than the 20th century learner? Is it REALLY that different?" I don't think so. The tools might be different, but the desired skill set is no different today than it was for my great-grandfather at the turn of the 20th century.

We want students today to be problem solvers, information seekers and analyzers, to be literate and able to communicate clearly. My great-grandfather was born in 1873 and came to the US from Europe in 1898 or so. He had to be able to do all those things in order to 1) travel across the ocean and halfway across the continent 2) successfully buy property and set up his farm and 3) sell the farm and set another business when time came. The only difference I see is that he lived in the time of exponential growth of transportation. Today we are seeing exponential growth in information systems. But what do we need to do that is so very different than 100 years ago? I don't think it is anything.

That being said, do we need to change the way we teach kids today? Hell yes. the changes in the delivery of our information makes for a different type of learner than 100 years ago, but they still need the same skills. We do not need to invent another wheel! There - rant over. I feel better already!

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