Sunday, May 21, 2017

Moving Beyond Our Current Century

There is a part of our educational lingo that makes me cringe. Yet I can't seem to find a better replacement to use instead. 
This is the year 2017. We are already 17 years into the 21st Century. I agree these skill areas are essential:
  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Creativity
  • Critical Thinking

But saying if we frame things as "aiming for", "focusing on", "improving" etc our students' readiness and preparation for "21st Century Skills", aren't we already setting them up to be behind the times? And yet, I seem to be unable to find a term that I like better. Perhaps we should focus on:
  • Future Learning Skills (not right)
  • Essential Skills (not quite right)
  • 22nd Century Skills (hmmm)
  • Skills Necessary for Success

Has anyone's district adopted a terminology that expresses aiming for the future but with these important skills in mind? I'd love to find something that I can use without cringing every time someone says "21st Century Skills". Any suggestions?

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Diving Deeper

Recently some of our 5th grade students had the opportunity to participate in a live stream from Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary and the Georgia Public Broadcasting. Thank you to both organizations for making it possible! What a wonderful experience!

The terrific teachers that I collaborated with showed some photos and videos of the area to their students. They offered the students to pose questions to the scientists at the sanctuary. Our students asked some very thorough and thought provoking questions. Using Google Docs, they shared those inquiries with me. I formulated the questions into a single representative doc for the class. That was then shared with the Gray's Reef Live organizers.

The event was simply beautiful. Students learned about careers in marine biology. We discussed the technology involved with combining various cameras, recorded video footage, and creating a live feed. Students gathered new knowledge in such a simple way from many topics. Here is the archive of the live experience:

Thankfully the teachers that were collaborating with me, were flexible enough to continue watching after the official Live Stream event concluded. After the official broadcast two individuals from the sanctuary continued to answer student questions live on camera. How exciting that one of our students was recognized. Her question was answered during the stream. (Click on the Q&A thumbnail at How nice to receive feedback, "What an interesting question?" along with the informational response. I think this truly made our students day.

Much gratitude to the Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary and Georgia Public Broadcasting for bringing our students on this amazing Virtual Field Trip.