Skills for the 21st Century

Cognitive and Literacy Skills for Success in a Fast-Paced Technological Age

Posts Tagged ‘collaboration’

LAPCAE Materials

Posted by wrmcnutt on June 5, 2012

I’d like to thank everyone who came to my session, Emerging Technologies in the Adult Education Classroom. You were a fun group to talk to and I hope that everyone got something to take away from the session.  As promised, I’ve linked my slide set and handout below.  While you’re here, I hope you’ll take the time to look around and some of the articles we’ve shared in the past.  If you have any questions about the topic, or anything about technology in education, really, feel free to ask.  If we don’t know the answer, we probably should, so we’ll find out for you.


Posted in Changing the AE field, Job Skills, Meta-Skills, Pace of Change, Technology In the Classroom, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Your Turn: The ELMO HV-110U Document Camera

Posted by wrmcnutt on April 30, 2010

Some of ya’ll might remember a bit of old tech called an “opaque projector.”  This was a monstrous piece of hardware about two feet tall, two feet wide, and three feet long.  It had an complex and expensive set of optics that allowed you to put a book or other printed material on it’s target platform, and it would project an image of it on the screen.  It took a lot of lumens to project that image, so the thing ran hot, consumed a lot of power, and ate expensive bulbs like they were popcorn.  Accurate milling of lenses is an expensive, labor-intensive process, so this was also a very pricey way to heat up your classroom.

While you can still find opaque projectors today, mostly marketed to artists, they have largely been replaced by the document camera.  This is a specialized video camera with a short focal length that is suspended over the book or other material the instructor wants to project onto the screen.   With far smaller optics, it runs cooler, takes up far less space, and in general is handier than the old opaque projector.  The problem is, they cost about the same as opaque projectors used to.  In general, they start at around $1200.00 and go up from there.  Without a lot of effort, you can spend $5000.00 on a document camera.

Well, I’ve found one for under $800.00.   It’s called the ELMO HV-110U.  As you can imagine, I’m skeptical of the quality of the image that’s going to come out of a camera that’s this cheap, and to make things worse, the only two reviews I’ve found are quite negative.  But that’s only a couple of guys’ opinions.  I thought before I make a commitment to this piece of hardware one way or another, I’d ask you guys.  Have any of you worked with this particular document camera?

Posted in Technology In the Classroom | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Update to Draft 21st Century Skills List – Metacognition

Posted by durencls on April 22, 2010

Thanks to Silvia Morgan for her feedback on the Draft Skills list – about the need for self-knowledge and knowledge of others’ strengths.  Based on her feedback, I did some research and learned a bit about the definition of metacognition. I then edited/added the following two skills to our draft skill list. You can see our discussion in the comments on the  Draft 21st Century Skills page.

Metacognitive Self-Knowledge: The rate and pace of technological change  that exists currently and is expected in the future will cause stress – we think folks will need to be flexible and adapt quickly   in order to feel comfortable and be successful. Knowing yourself – your strengths and weaknesses, how you learn best, your likes and dislikes, inclinations, talents, etc. is a key to adaptability and flexibility in times of change. 

To build this skill in adult learners, you could use tools that assist them to build reflective skills – journals (with or without reflective prompts), self-questioning strategies, personality and/or learning questionnaires, evaluation rubrics, etc.

 Metacognitive Knowledge of Others:  The enormous wealth of knowledge (as well as, um, ‘drek’) available to us currently, as well as the incredibly fast rate at which it is increasing has led to an overwhelming need for collaboration – now and in the future.  The ability to determine and capitalize on others’ strengths, using them to complement your own and compensate for other’s weaknesses is an important element of collaboration and being able to reach shared goals.

To build this skill in adult learners, build cooperative/collaborative learning activities into your class activities (more on this in a later post), which allow students to see the value in working with others. Incorporate evaluative rubrics, team reflections, and/or the role of “reflector” into those activities.  Have students reflect/present on what the perceive others in the class do well (this can also assist in building esteem and pride in your students).

Like Silvia, please do not hesitate to make comments and suggestions on anything posted to the blog, or e-mail us with ideas. if  you are interested in ‘guest blogging’ on the site (or even regularly contributing) let us know!

Posted in Futurism, Meta-Skills, Teaching Ideas | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Common Core State Standards and the ‘Four C’s”

Posted by durencls on April 21, 2010

You’ve likely heard a lot lately about the “Common Core State Standards Initiative” and its recent English Language Arts and Mathematics drafts.  If not – it is currently all the rage in Adult Education vis-a-vis preparing adults for post-secondary education and ‘career readiness’.

Here’s what a recent press release from the Partnership for 21st Century Skills* says about how well these new standards integrate 21st century thinking skills (what a recent Partnership survey calls the 4 C’s – critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity/innovation):

English Language Arts Standards are Promising; Mathematics Standards Need Work

In particular, I am struck by this statement:

“Additionally, the importance of collaborative communication is not addressed and the vision for student outcomes is one that rests on individual students working in isolation.

Students working in isolation” – how often is that what you would see if you walked into an Adult Education classroom?  With students working at different levels and/or on different skills as they progress towards their individual goals – one can see how this might seem the simplest or most efficient way to serve their varying needs.

But I perceive that so many of our adult learners were not successful in school in part because they lack strong social skills.  If they were charming and worked well with others, they would be FAR less likely to drop out (hmmmm…there is lots of research on this – let’s see if I can find some and post it!).

So working well with others – listening and speaking skills, the ability to resolve conflicts, lead others, work towards a common goal – these are even MORE critical and important to teach in an adult education setting – yes?

I challenge Adult Education instructors – how have you fostered collaboration or even social skills amongst YOUR adult learners today? this week?

For more from the Partnership for 21st Century Skills – also read the results of their recent survey of over 2 thousand managers and executives  in the American Management Association (AMA):  AMA 2010 Critical Skills Survey: Executives Say the 21st Century Requires More Skilled Workers

* Thanks to Richard Sebastian, an Instructional Technology Specialist at the Virginia Adult Learning Resource Center for bringing our attention to this organization and the survey results in a recent AALPD post!

Posted in Changing the AE field, Job Skills, Meta-Skills | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Collaborative Knowledge Generation – Dr. Wesch’s example

Posted by durencls on April 15, 2010

So, I was investigating how we can effectively use web 2.0 technology in adult education  and I ran across Dr. Michael Wesch, a cultural anthropologist and “digital ethnographer” focusing on the changes web 2.0 is having and could have on our society.   Reading through his blog, I came across this post – How to get students to find and read 94 articles before the next class

OK,” I thought – “…that sounds pretty cool, even if it was at the university level, how did he pull that off?”  Essentially, he used something like a classic cooperative learning Jigsaw. Each student was assigned to find online, read, and summarize 5 articles on a single class topic. Students entered this information quickly and easily into an online database so everyone could see what articles had already been submitted to avoid repetition.  Summaries were due 36 hours before the next class.  Students were then required to have READ everyone else’s summaries before class – in this case 96 articles (some folks entered more than 5).  His statement was that the class conversation resulting was phenomenal.  With such a a broad understanding of the topic, a much richer discussion and debate occurred.

So, thinking about this one cool example of collaborative knowledge generation – “Web 2.0 thinking” – I asked myself “What future skills does this example include?”  “How could we teach those skills to AE students?”   “How could we teach those skills without access to the internet or the technologies Wesch used?”

 OK – “Metaskills”  involved that *I* saw (in order):

  • Research – finding the articles on a topic on the web, at your readability level.
  • Reading – skimming (don’t need to read the whole article in depth in order to summarize the main points.)
  • Writing – creating a 3-4 sentence, concise summary of the main points in an article; writing a well stated clear summary for peers.
  • Reading/Critical Thinking Skills – Analyze and integrate reading with prior knowledge (synthesize, make connections, generalize, etc.)
  • Listening/Speaking skills – clearly communicate your points in a non-offensive manner, listen to other’s points and build on their thinking, respecting others’ points of view…
  • Hard Tech skills – Internet search techniques, Use of a web browser, basic typing skills. (Note that all but these last are also pretty clearly GED, workplace, and/or post-secondary ed skills as well.)

Wow.  And in the process they are automatically “creating knowledge collaboratively” – and learning to vlaue one another’s input. So what might this look like in an AE/ESOL class? With or without technology access?

How about a topic of career exploration? Each student chooses a job sector (like education or health or automotive, etc.) , and finds out about 2-5 jobs in that sector – via the internet, classifieds, interviews of folks holding those jobs, books magazines, etc.  They collect information that they feel their peers would want to know, and then prepare a short summary of these jobs  for their peers.  These summaries are communicated to their peers, and then a class discussion of career options is held.

Adjustments for learner’s functioning levels/access to technology:

  • Searches could be done via interview, online (e-mail, live chat, skype) or offline (in person or via phone); via the newspaper online or offline, via articles or web pages online or offline; books at different reading levels, etc.
  • Written information to be gathered could be dictated in part or in full by a list of teacher generated or student generated questions (individually or as a group), students’ writing tasks might be to fill out a form (online or on paper), or to write a more free-form paragraph – on paper or on a wiki, or a blog…
  • Students could have to read each other’s summaries or listen to them on recording (on or off line, with or without the written piece in front of them).  To stay in the spirit of this exercise, the reading/listening of each other’s summaries should be done independently or in small groups- not as a whole class “report out.” (One person reading while everyone else in class listens is the very opposite of “cooperative learning.” ) If done in small groups, folks could be grouped in like sectors for initial discussion or in unlike sectors to take back to a sector discussion (see below).
  • Follow -up discussion: Whole class discussion of best jobs, worst jobs, most interesting, most surprising. Have students group and discuss by sector before or after a cross sector discussion, etc.
  • Math Extension – add a survey component – ask questions about the class’s job preferences based on this research (how many want jobs in each sector, which are the best paying jobs, etc.), and graph results.

Here’s an example of how even low ESOL folks could participate: Students choose sector by photo, conducts interview in English, native language ,or through interpreter, but then must fill in a 3-4 line form with stuff like name of job, pay,  work hours/days, and whether or not they think they’d like the job, and “report out” orally to class.  Students then “vote” for jobs they’d like to have after hearing about all of them.  Based on this information- they go out and research more!

Whew! I’ll stop now.  Any other ideas or brainstorms prompted by Dr. Wesch’s strategy?

Posted in 21st Century Communication, Meta-Skills, Teaching Ideas | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »