The Power to Enrich

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Guest Author – Andrew Doyle

Recently I was asked by a colleague to describe the 21st century learner in one,catch all word. I would like to say that my answer was ground breaking, thesis worthy and inspiring, but sadly it was not. After hearing some of the responses from other teachers (not all positive of course) it made me wonder if the learners are all that different or is it the world and environments they are learning in that have changed. Being a student of history I decided to look at a historical perspective on learners.

Too often are the kids associated with the changing conditions in which they are brought up and taught in. In reality students of the 21st century are not all that different than their predecessors. Students still come to school ready to learn and have a purpose for being there. Students still come from complex and diverse backgrounds with the unknown of what will happen in the future.

In truth, what has drastically changed is the environment and the expectations for learners. Not only has society and technology changed, the approach to teaching learners has changed. 21stcenturyschools.com showcases the differences between a 20th century classroom vs. a 21st century classroom. None of the areas highlight a difference in the learner, rather it is the environment and the approach to their learning has drastically changed.

Social media, globalization, and pop culture media have changed the way in which we look at student learning and engagement. The Rockyview Schools model for the 21st century learner is an accurate model of what we want students to “be” or what skills they should have when they leave our schools. However, none of these characteristics are things that we didn’t want for 20th century learners. We have focused on helping students prepare for a world that is unknown. Now we must prepare our students to not only prepare for a world unknown but also a world they will help shape.We must remember that these young people grow up in the world that was made for them.

Back to that one word to describe 21st century learners. The only word I could come up with is innovative, as I enter the class everyday the ideas creations that students can come up with astound me. Innovative…not ground breaking but authentic.

Bio – I am a first year teacher with Rockyview Schools at AE Bowers teaching grade 3. I graduated from the University of Lethbridge and have a keen interest in engaging students with technology.

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