Friday, 25 April 2008

What Gives?

I'm really looking forward to attending the Hong Kong 21st Century Learning Conference next weekend over at KGV. This is clearly an important event as HK schools continue to adapt to the need to shift their curriculum to take into account new technologies and new ideas.

I know that Paul McMahon who is helping to organise this event feels the pace of change in HK should be much quicker. However, he should take heart from the recent Education Bureau publication 'Right Technology at the Right Time for the Right Task'. In this document, Dept Secretary for Education Chris Wardlaw acknowledges the crucial role that new communication technologies have in schools;

"teachers and students are using blogs, wikis, and RSS feeds for collaborative learning and sharing knowledge in cyber-connected communities. The value of such peer-to-peer knowledge exchanges and collaboration is that the more a student knows about a relevant subject, the more he/she is recognized and sought out by peers for his/her knowledge. In turn, the more he/she shares his/her knowledge, the deeper and richer his/her understanding of the subject becomes. In addition, by facilitating students to work together to investigate problems according to their interest, these applications can help them develop inquisitive learning skills."

Collaboration is a key word here and influences much of the thinking behind ideas of 21st Century Learning, alongside enquiry based learning, critical thinking, analysing and filtering information, media literacy and digital citizenship.

The issue for our schools is how we integrate these skills and ideals into our already crowded curriculum. And if we are able to recognise and implement 21st Century Learning, are we also able to recognise and evaluate the worth of 20th Century Learning?!

Something has to give in the curriculum to allow for these essential new skills to be taught and used, but the question is what?! As somebody brought up in the 20th Century it can be difficult to come to terms with the fact that skills valued during my own schooling may no longer be relevant.

When I first started teaching (132 years ago) I could recognise the handwriting of all my colleagues. I could probably only recognise the writing of one or two of my current colleagues.

I'm sure my handwriting was always the neatest! What price neat cursive script in the 21st Century?!

1 comment:

Mr Harrington said...

Have fun at the conference and pass on best wishes to Paul from Ddraig-Goch in Wales. Great to see your kids uing the digital blues for animation works :-)