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Saturday, June 5, 2010

21st century visions of public schooling.

What 21st century classroom student qualities will define success? To take their place in the knowledge economy, actively interfaced as empowered members of the creative class, students must have an "artistic" vision of the learning processes and the innovative outcomes possible. The self-discipline and emotion maturity needed to have efficacious perseverance in their skills and abilities are essential components for success. Simply being able to perform tasks in a compliant manner is not enough. Finding new solutions to existing conditions is what will drive the 21st century economy. Creativity is individual, innovation is collaborative. Schooling must nurture the natural creative skills in all children, thus enhancing cognitive and emotional skills needed for success in the 21st century.

What does a 21st century learning environment look like? Students and teachers are working in small groups within a large open area consisting of lab/project tables, smart boards and data projectors with laptops and hand-held computing devices all around. There is a constant buzz of activity and as each group reaches a point where they need to expand, redefine, discuss or share, instant collaborative action teams assemble - working briefly - then moving on.

To the casual observer or untrained eye the scene may look chaotic at times but every student and every teacher are actively engaged with a sense of urgency in all with an intrinsic motivation that continues the learning process day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year.