Friday, November 16, 2012

Whose Job?

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Before we can discuss whose job it is, we need to know what the job is. One of our school's AFG goals is, "By 2016, all students will demonstrate an awareness and application of 21st century skills."

Hmm - seems pretty vague to me.

There are no standards or benchmarks in place for what those 21st century skills should be, let alone exactly what should be taught and when. So, the discussion of whose job it is to teach these skills is either completely irrelevant or the only thing we have to discuss.

As a teacher who wants my students to be productive members of our increasingly digital world I take on the teaching of some of these skills myself. In my ideal world I would keep this aspect of my job, but have the time to do it (and standards giving guidance).

Right now I am 'robbing Peter to pay Paul' with the time I give to 21st century skills rather than more fully addressing some of the AERO L.A. Standards because I believe strongly that 21st century skills need to be taught somewhere.

On top of a time crunch, without delineated standards I know my students have gaps. When I encounter a large gap I stop to help fill it in, but this is not the best way to acquire an entire set of skills.

This is where I am thankful for ISTE and the NETS. They give me some guidance in what to aim for.


Some of the overarching ideas can easily be incorporated into any subject area. Some need more time (yes, this is a theme) to be fully developed, or addressed at all.

So, my two wishes…

  1. Give me NETS. Adopting the NETS will provide guidance, uniformity, and accountability.

    This wiki is a place to start. I can't do it alone. I am comforted to know there are others, around the world, taking on the same challenges. It is always nice to not be reinventing the wheel and to have support in our ventures.
  2. Give me time. I would love to incorporate more 21st century skills, but I don't have enough time to teach my content area standards. (Another post, but I can sum it up by saying I have 1/4 the time to focus on language arts in our middle school schedule as I had in the elementary schedule.)

I realize that adopting NETS is not something I can tackle this year. Perhaps finding avenues for my students to begin discussing what they are doing and what they wish they were doing is something I can tackle.

If you are in a situation like mine this resource could be helpful. I am contemplating making it available to my students and having them start some online discussions around one or two points.

Whose job is it? It comes down to meeting the needs of students. I want to see my students be successful, therefore it is my job.

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