21st Century Learning Environments

23Feb09
Thoughts from the article by Mark Prensky: Adopt and Adapt: Shaping Tech for the Classroom

Being from where George Lucas currently lives, Marin County, my curiosity was piqued when his name was inadvertently attached to Mark’s article. Lucas is one of the most influential movie makers/directors/visionary EVER who enhances so much of his vision through computers and multimedia design. He speaks as education being a foundation for democracy, and with that, he speaks of education as he were taught was non-engaging. As we now see, education and society are changing quickly and Lucas speaks to motivating students and creating an enviroment conducive for 21st century learners.

From Mark’s article, what struck me was this passage:
These “digital natives” are born into digital technology. Conversely, their teachers (and all older adults) are “digital immigrants.” Having learned about digital technology later in life, digital immigrants retain their predigital “accents” — such as, thinking that virtual relationships (those that exist only online) are somehow less real or important than face-to-face ones. Such outmoded perspectives are serious barriers to our students’ 21st-century progress.

This speaks to the age old saying: The haves, and the have-nots. There will always be those who have more, and have better and whose needs can be considered more urgent. There will be schools that are tricked-out with fancy resources, and other schools who struggle to have pencils…the big question is: Will the ‘haves’ become the better learners and thinkers?

Learning is learning folks, BUT it ALWAYS helps to learn in optimal conditions…an environment that piques curiosity, stimulates thinking and promotes social learning. Can any school do it all?

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4 Responses to “21st Century Learning Environments”

  1. 1 El Aguila

    Hi Susi,Your new blog is impressive. If you don’t mind I am going to link it to mine. With regard to Prensky, there are many on-going discussions within the historical profession about similar topics. I agree that the limitation of such discussions is that many of the faculty who are engaged in such talks, have not been exposed to computers in the same way that their students have. However, what they do offer is context and the experience to comprehend that the technology may be intimidating, but its universal application must be included in all future pedagogical discussions. Comparisons with the mass arrival of television and even radio, at least provide some insight into the future and how society must cope with such technological innovation. And there is a generation of tweeners that we fall into. Generation X has embraced such technology because we are not too old to be overwhelmed by it, but at the same time maybe more cautious than our students. For example, I appreciate the use of Facebook and ipods, or better yet sites such as hulu.com in part because I remember television prior to the creation of remote controls. The term digital immigrants is profound consequently, I hope we can minimize the emergence of related digital xenophobia.

  2. 2 John Breedlove

    Can any school do it all? Probably not. Really at a school like ISB, I still get goosebumps sometimes going in to the photo lab. Looking at all those shiny macs makes me wanna just <>make<> something. I don’t get that feeling from the highschool students with whom I have worked with there. On the other side of the spectrum I saw something I would not have expected the other day in a TED talk. This guy did an experiment in India where he placed a computer kiosk in remote villages and in slums. In one case he came back to find the kids playing with it had taught themselves about 200 English words. What did they say? “We need more RAM and a better mouse.”Would I learn French if the OS and app menus were all permanently changed to French on all the computers in the photo lab? Probably not, there are too many other English OS computers for me to escape to.Technology can be exciting, and it can sometimes in and of itself motivate certain kinds of learning, but not so much here at ISB, in my opinion.Here is a link to Sugata Mitra’s 2007 TED talk,< HREF="http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/sugata_mitra_shows_how_kids_teach_themselves.html" REL="nofollow">Can kids teach themselves?<>

  3. 3 susi

    Wow John and Jaime,Those are BOTH very thought provoking comments, thank you for your insights…Jaime: i like how you connect to our Generation X and embracing technology.John: perhaps it takes more than resources to inspire learning? Motivation, and relevance are terms that keep staring me in my teacher’s face…

  4. 4 Jeff Utecht

    I do think we need to remember just how fast this has all come about. The pace is what I think many struggle with. To think that today’s seniors were born the same year the Internet as we know it hit mainstream is crazy. To understand that the cell phone outpaced the adoption of TV or radio by 84 years, and that a Kindergartners today when seeing a typewriter associated with the letter T on a flash card won’t know what you’re talking about.The pace of change and societies adopt of these tools continues to speed up. It took Myspace almost 8 years to read 100 million…it took Facebook 4.How do we keep pace with the changes that are our world and our students?


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