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TIES: Virtual Schools and 21st Century Skills

Susan Patrick from the North American Council for Online Learning spoke about the connection between online learning and 21st Century skills.
North American Council for Online Learning (NACOL)

Online learning is opening up opportunities for districts, teachers and students to share resources.

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills wokred to define technology literacy which is a component of NCLB. They identified 6 key elements of 21st Century Learning:
  • Emphasize core subjects
  • Emphasize learning skills
  • Use 21st Century tools to develop learning skills
  • Teach and learn 21st century context and content
  • Use 21st Century assessment that measure 21st Century skills-Where else do you see bubble sheets in our society?

Time magazine article about 21st Century students.

Problem: The old model in brick and mortar schools does not fit in our world today. We need to rethink how we use time and technology to individualize teaching for every student in class.
Here is the framework:

Patrick referenced the new ISTE NETS standards that came out of the Partnership's skill set. The key is embeding 21st Century skills in teaching the core subjects, designing professional development for online instruction, and support the creation of 21st Century assessments, and focus on high school reform. The key is to focus on the results, not the structures that matter most, and to redefine the rigor to include 21st Century schools.

An anti-tax group in Florida tried to discredit the Florida Virtual school last year, and instead found that the data system, assessment strategies and student acheivement were models for successful programs!

  • The Futurist Top 10 Breakthroughs Transforming life in the next 20-30 years.
  • UK and China struck a 29 billion online learning initiative
  • Chinese teens are encouraged to question their history texts and are being graded on the quality of their arguments.
  • Singapore teacher training includes training in Second Life. Singapore and Mexico require online learning training.

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