Thursday, October 28, 2010

School Leaders’ Opinions on 21st Century Skills

Liz Exo’s Blog Post:

As it is probably clear to most of us already, with the new century came new technology and new technological skills to be learned. This article discusses the possibilities of creating new assessments that are directed towards new technological skills. 43% of the schools that responded to the survey stated that their school district already implemented new assessments to test skills like problem solving, teamwork, and critical thinking.

The article also discusses the issue of cyber bullying, and it states that 34% of school districts said that anti-bullying and other computer safety policies have already been implemented.

A final point brought up in the article revolves around the push towards electronic “textbooks” if you will, rather than traditional printed books. The problems that would need to be addressed before making the switch would be to make sure each student has equal access to the internet outside of school, which seems to be a problem for many low-income areas. It is interesting to note that 24% of schools that responded to the survey said schools should move towards electronic reading because textbooks are boring. However, I feel like this may be a controversial issue. I personally have trouble reading long texts online, because I feel like if I cannot write on the text (underlining or highlighting important information) I have a lot more trouble understanding and remembering what I read. So, besides the issue of availability, educators should look at all perspectives before making the switch.


eschmidt said...

I completely agree with Liz. In order to retain information I prefer to hold a solid copy of a book and have freedom to write or highlight as needed. When trying to read a long text online I often lose track of my place and my eyes get tired faster. Also, converting to online textbooks presents a huge problem for students who do not have computer or internet access. If we are trying to create equality in the classroom and fight for social justice among our students, then presenting a situation that causes a disadvantage is quite counter productive.
As Liz mentioned, it is important that we take everything into account before we make drastic changes towards technology.

medwards said...

I also agree with Liz and Emily. Not only is it difficult to retain information read online, I think it's also difficult to remain focused while online. For many students, the temptation to take frequent breaks from reading to surf the internet would probably be very strong. If doing homework from the book, it may also be more tempting for students to copy answers from the internet. When using a solid textbook, it's much easier to isolate yourself in a quiet area, sit down and do your homework. Online texts would leave the line between schoolwork and free internet time very blurred. One other problem that I thought of was that even families that have computers usually just have one, so families with more than one child would probably have trouble scheduling homework time on the computer for each child.