I love reading the Horizon report each year and getting a glimpse of what educational research is saying will be increasingly adopted within various educational contexts. Reading through the 2014 K-12 report recently, I was intrigued and captured by the ‘Elements of the Creative Classroom Framework’ (ECCF) and how it outlines the dimensions dealt with in the report. (I also loved it because I am a very visual person.) The ECCF elements include: infrastructure; content and curricula; assessment; learning practices; teaching practices; organisation; leadership and values; and, connectedness. The report deals with each of these elements within it as they pertain to trends, challenges and emerging technologies, however, most particularly on policy, leadership and practice.[youtube http://youtu.be/m7rKL3XcRtc]
A fast trend that was identified that I believe was crucial to include in this report is ‘Rethinking the roles of teachers’. More than ever, technology has changed the role of the teacher in 21st century classrooms. Gone are the days of teachers being the source of all information, the ones to lead activities and instruction. The Horizon Report says:
“The integration of technology into everyday life is causing many educational thought leaders to argue that schools should be providing ways for students to continue to engage in learning activities, formal and informal, beyond the traditional school day.” (p. 6)
The video above is an oldie but a goodie, looking at the roles of 21st century learners, requiring that teachers: be lifelong learners; be apart of a larger network of professionals; make connections between learning in all different contexts; create long-range goals for technology integration; be competent will digitally-enabled pedagogies; and, so many more aspects not yet identified perhaps. Classrooms need to be student-centered more than ever because I believe students are engaging in more informal learning than ever before, e.g. watching YouTube to learn new things. Teachers need to adopt teaching methods that students of the 21st century are familiar with to a certain extent and that is through videos and games more than ever.
Some key points made about the role of teachers include:
- Teachers are no longer the primary sources of information and knowledge for students
- Teachers need to reinforce the habits and discipline that shape life-long learners
- Teachers are increasingly expected to be knowledgeable on the practices, skills and resources that will be useful to students as they continue their education and seek gainful employment.
- Incorporating entrepreneurship into education will help teachers to bring technology into the classroom and into developing lifelong learners.
The report identifies the key to nurturing the new 21st century roles of teachers as being in professional development. I believe this to be true to a degree, however, school policies and strategic plans need to cater for the change in pedagogies and classroom structures as well. Such drastic changes in teaching methodology will require changes in organisational structure and culture, which cannot happen immediately but can begin to cater for 21st century needs over time. School structures are still very hierarchical and traditional classrooms have operated in the same way essentially, with all students answering to an authority-figure who is in charge. Do school structures need to change a little bit to distribute power more evenly? At the school where I work, teacher professional development often occurs in areas that students can see, in order for students to see their teachers as lifelong learners as well. I think that this strategy is one great way that reflects 21st century paradigm shifts. Will continue to reflect more on teacher’s roles…