The 21st Century Classroom: Education in Today’s World

As an educator, you learn that Bandura created the Social Learning Theory which basically states that students learn by observing or direct instruction. And we learn that Vygotsky developed the Social Development theory that focuses on the influences within a student’s life. This is what we picture as a 21st century classroom. I used to think that most 21st century classrooms had a focus on developing students’ learning needs. One thing that I used to think, and now I know is that the 21st century classroom finds a basis in focusing on the student (student-centered), rather than the teacher.

Now, I think that the 21st century classroom is completely different from classrooms of the past. Technology has overwhelmed our society and now plays an important role in everyday life. Think about it. Most of us have Twitter, Facebook, or even MySpace accounts that we check every day. If we have them, then you can pretty much guarantee that our students have them! And if we check them every day, why would we not think the same of our students? The 21st century classroom needs to find ways to incorporate these technologies into every day learning. The 21st century should not be focused on testing, but rather developing the student as a whole. The 21st century classroom needs to be able to produce an individual capable of handling and navigating the world around them. This is possible through leadership development and exploration and creativity, not from standards based testing!

Questions I still have regarding the 21st Century classroom are:

What actually is digital literacy? Is there a definite definition? How do we accomplish this in our classrooms and can we guarantee that students are digitally literate?

How do we negate things like cyber bullying in the 21st century? Is this possible?

How do we teach students to become culturally aware? How do they use this in the world today?

How can we use technology in the class without it becoming a major distraction?

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