Thursday, June 28, 2007


I read the following from the 21st Century Collaborative blog. It discusses the thoughts of Ken Kay, president of the Partnership of 21st Century Skills:
"...the amount of information is doubling every 24 months and that by 2020 the amount of information will double in every 72 days. What this means is content memorization will simply not work anymore. It is currently impossible; especially at the rate knowledge is changing, to master it all. And even if you did, the content that you learn in your freshman year of college would be outdated by the time you graduate. Literacy in the 21st Century is not based on do you know it- rather, can you find it, analyze it, adapt it, and synthesize it? John Tao says as we move out of the information age into this new era of creativity an individual’s value will not be based on what he knows, but what he can create."
Wow...does this resonate with me! When reading it, I immediately thought of:
  • The first question on the Social Studies Ohio Achievement Test, which asked who Garret Morgan was. To prove how trivial this knowledge is, type this man's name into Google and you'll know the answer in less than a second. How cool would it be if students were allowed to have a laptop on their desks during the test that they could use to search for basic knowledge like this. Instead of assessing the most basic of knowledge, the question would then actually assess something useful, like information literacy.
  • Daniel Pink's book, A Whole New Mind. You really need to read this book if you haven't yet.
Reading this stuff about 21st Century Skills gets me fired up for next school year. I have so many collaborative projects planned that I can barely wait to start them!

Check out: | Digital Cameras in the Classroom | Education in a Flat World

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Anonymous said...

Your blog is very interesting!
Please, send me the photo of your pc desk and the link of your blog.
I'll publish on my blog!.
Thanks Frank

Murray said...

Hi James. I agree with your take on the inanity of learning trivial factoids. You may be interested in U21 Global's approach, especially in their "open book, open Web exams".

But we still need students to grunt learn some facts. We cannot "find it, analyze it, adapt it, and synthesize it" if we don't have any basic knowledge which we can use to compare and think with.

I also get excited about the possibilities that technology brings. But I am finding (even with adult learners) that too many people are satisfied with the quick copy and paste event. We have to ensure that they are confronted with something that guarantees some thinking.

misterteacher said...

I agree that students need to learn facts. Here in the states our history is rich with important dates, names, wars, etc. I can't imagine my students leaving fifth grade not knowing what happened in the year 1776 or who Thomas Jefferson was.