Week One

Getting up and close with the material

Welcome and Opening Thoughts

Welcome! I am excited to work alongside you in our virtual classroom. This course will provide you excellent insight into the state of education today and what factors are driving innovations in the classroom and across school systems. However, you will need to make sure you stay up with the material and on top of your assignments. If you do, I promise that you would be challenged to think in new and different ways and that your knowledge will grow.

This week, we dive into the concept of what 21st Century Skills are, examine why they are important, and how schools and classrooms are changing to embed the teaching of these skills and to make teaching more relevant. In addition, we examine the variety of school choice options that exist and analyze the changing nature of our student population and how these changes impact teaching and learning.

Your role as a teacher is quite influential in shaping how your students will view each other and themselves. Their one opportunity to experience learning as something to enjoy and love begins with how you see them, their peers and what strategies you use to ensure they develop the skills necessary to be successful in life.

Throughout your work this week (and beyond), we will add techniques and technology options to your teacher toolbox so that you may promote success in the classroom. I will share my “tips from the trenches” as we dialogue on the boards. I look forward to working alongside you this week as you continue to prepare to be successful educators!


Dr. Rich Newman

21st Century Skills - What are they and why are they important

In virtually every aspect of our lives, we can see how our world has been undergoing a dramatic shift. We use technology for virtually everything we do. From online banking to buying music to mapping out a trip technology has become an integral part of our lives. The fact that you are enrolled in an online course and getting a degree completely online is a testament to how much our world has changed. For the better part of the last century schools were focused on producing workers for an industrial world that had its center an assembly line. Getting a job in a company often meant a lifetime of security and the ability to work your way up the latter.

Today, we are no longer living in an assembly line mentality. The skills individuals need to succeed in the increasingly competitive global economy are vastly different. While students still need to master the fundamentals of reading, writing and math they need master what we call 21st Century skills. These "soft" skills which they are often called because they are not easily measured focus on the ability for students to collaborate effectively others, communicate through a range of methods, think critically and be creative. Check out the video below and see if you think these are the 21st century skills teachers need to teach and students need to master.

Teaching In The 21st Century

The Changing Landscape of Our Schools

While our world is changing at a rapid pace our school systems have remained rather unchanged. Generally speaking, students are still all taught the same thing on the same day in very similar ways. As a way to improve teaching and learning and ensure students are being better prepared for the jobs of the future schools have implemented a range of strategies and structures to better replicate the world. It is important to note that a 21st century classroom is not about technology as the focus but rather it is about learning.

Check out the blog below to get an insight into how 21st Century Skills connect with ensuring that students have the basic skills.

To supplement your readings, check out the videos and links below of the innovative models we discussed in Chapter One.

Innovative Models

Now That You Have Examined Some Innovative Teaching Model Let's Watch a Video About the Changing Nature of Our Students

A Vision of Students Today

Let's Look At The Work You Are Expected To Complete This Week

This is not a typical online course

You are expected to do some action research and connect with a local school and investigate what is truly happening in classrooms today.

It's Time to Think About Your Philosophy of Education

Your philosophy of education will influence all of your activities in the classroom from how you teach, what you teach, how you manage your classroom, how you connect and relate to students, parents and colleagues, to how you engage in your own professional learning. Being able to articulate your beliefs and educational philosophy is a critical aspect of being an effective teacher and leaner. In a two- to three-page paper, create your philosophy of education.

Identify What You Think Are The Critical 21st Century Skills

In the first Discussion Post, identify the 21st Century skills you see as being the most impact and discuss how these skills fit into the traditional element of schooling that focuses on ensuring that all students develop the basic skills of reading, writing, and mathematics.

I expect you to analyze these skills and challenge the thinking of your colleagues. I am not looking for the "right" answer but rather your critical connections to the skills and the classroom. This first post will set the stage for much of our work so be thoughtful, write at a graduate level and have fun.

Once Last Video to Ensure That You Have A Successful Experience In EDU650 - Watch The Video Below


Have A Successful Week