A Journey Through Technology

Week 11: How have you, and will you continue to “Learn the 21st Century” and allow your students this experience in your classroom?

on July 28, 2017

Learning has changed so much, even since I graduated high school in 2005. The way that I learned, and the way that my current and future students will learn are not the same, and I expect that it will continue to change as new technology and teaching tools are developed. The only way I can hope to be able to teach and help my students learn, is if I am learning in the same fashion. “It is impossible to teach 21st century learners if you have not learned in this century.” (Martinez & Stager, 2013, Kindle Location 4477) I think that my experiences in this degree program have been so crucial to me being able to teach 21st century learners, because I have become one over the past 2 years.

I started this program in the spring of 2015, and since then my approach to teaching and student learning has changed drastically. At the time, I was in the middle of my fifth year of teaching, and was honestly struggling. I was attempting to teach the way I had been taught in high school, and it wasn’t really working. I felt like I was hitting a wall in my career, and knew that something needed to change if I wanted to continue teaching. That first semester was so hard for me, because I was forced to move beyond my comfort zone into a realm of teaching and learning that was beyond anything I had ever really experienced. In hindsight, I now know that this was the best decision I’ve ever made because my entire outlook on teaching and learning has been forever changed. I know that even when I’m finished with my coursework, my research about education will continue on, because I will also want to be the best teacher I can for my students. This is the first way for me to continue to “Learn the 21st Century”, both for my students, and myself.

Tsisana Palmer (2015) shares 15 characteristics of a 21st century teacher and I think that each of these should be goals to shoot for to allow my students to be 21st century learners. A few of these characteristics, such as “learner-centered classroom and personalized instruction”, “students as producers”, and “project-based learning” are ideas that I am already working on trying to implement in my classroom, so I figure that I am already moving in the right direction. There are some characteristics on her list, however, that I am not yet working towards, including going global and coding. To continue on the path of a 21st century teacher, I will eventually need to at least try these out in the classroom, even if I don’t use them consistently with students.

“Learning in the 21st century requires critical thinking, adept use of technology, and global collaboration, and we should offer all these to our students on a regular basis.” (Oates, 2009) In order to allow students to really become 21st century learners, I need to allow them opportunities to use 21st century skills. I can continue to learn about the new technology and how to use it in class, but I also need to make sure that I am giving students those same opportunities in class. The biggest issue that I think I will face in this is letting go of what I’m comfortable with, and helping students to do the same. When you have learned a particular way for all of your life, whether you are 15 or 50, it can be hard to adjust to a new way of learning. I need to remember that if I’m struggling with this change, my students are as well, and I have to support them through this and not expect them to pick it up right away. “Schools and teachers must be challenged to use the tools and techniques of today, not the ones of the past.” (Oates, 2009) Adapting to a new way of teaching and learning will be a challenge, and who knows how many years it will end up taking. My goal is to not give up and make sure that I am working just as hard, if not harder, than my students to help us all become 21st century learners.


Martinez, S. & Stager, G. (2013). Invent To Learn: Making, Tinkering, And Engineering In The Classroom. Torrance, CA: Constructing Modern Knowledge Press. Kindle Edition.

Oates, R. (2009) How to Learn in the 21st Century. Educational Leadership, (67)1. Retrieved July 27, 2017, from http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/sept09/vol67/num01/How-to-Learn-in-the-21st-Century.aspx

Palmer, T. (2015) 15 Characteristics of a 21st-Century Teacher. Edutopia. Retrieved July 27, 2017, from https://www.edutopia.org/discussion/15-characteristics-21st-century-teacher


One response to “Week 11: How have you, and will you continue to “Learn the 21st Century” and allow your students this experience in your classroom?

  1. Dr. F says:

    Good blog. Your students will get a great teacher and a forward thinking one.


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