Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Can we get from here to there in 7 steps?

I've been thinking a lot about how schools prepare students for their future, and was reading about innovation through technology today in Chapter 11 of 21st Century Skills.  In this chapter, Cheryl Lemke, president and CEO of the Metiri Group, writes about the framework the group has come up with to gauge readiness of schools for 21st century learning.  Below I have summarized the areas the group considers:

Vision:  does the school have a forward-thinking common vision for 21st century learning?
Systems thinking: are all educators and staff thinking and acting systemically to embrace innovation in ways that enhance the vision?
21st century skills/learning:  has the school adopted 21st century skills for research-informed learning strategies?
21st century learning environments:  is the vision of 21st century learning coming to life?
Professional competencies:  are teachers, administrators and staff ready to facilitate, lead and assess 21st century learning among students, the community and parents?
Access and infrastructure:  is access to technology/infrastructure sufficiently robust to support 21st century learning?
Accountability:  Are learners and educators held accountable for making progress?  Are they provided with support?

I have thought and thought about the above and how it applies to where we are now.  I know that it all has to start with a vision - and a shared or common vision at that.  This is where I think we need to do much better.  I think a lot of teachers feel we don't have a vision or that if there is one they haven't been consulted or informed about it.  I think there would also be questions about access and infrastructure.

The way forward, suggested by the Metiri Group, is for leadership to encourage a culture of openness to new ideas, encourage risk taking and encourage the spread of creative ideas to "tip and ripple" to challenge and change current assumptions.

Photo Credit:  Footsteps on the Wall by Tom Rolfe AttributionShare Alike 

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