Educators in the 21st Century Discussion from LTM 7008 at NCU - Evaluating Technologies in Education

Educators in the 21st century must be technology proficient to effectively deliver instruction to learners in today’s world. The role of faculty in the 21st century teaching environment is driven by the “rapid pace of globalization, the shift from an industrial to an innovation economy and the explosion of networked communications, … created the need to work and interact in new ways and to gain fluency in new tools and paradigms” (Partnership for 21st Century Skills, 2007, p.1). Learners must possess 21st century technology skills to be competitive in the global economy and to meet the greater demands in the workplace (21st Century, 2007), thus all educators must possess the same skills in order to provide instruction that promotes student learning and achievement associated with technology. The role of the educator is that of a coach or facilitator for the learner (“Critical Issue,” 2000). This role requires educators to possess technology skills as well as integrating technology into the curriculum and the ability to apply the skills in the classroom.

Faculty and staff must be properly trained and provided ongoing professional development opportunities to enhance their technology skills. An initial assessment of the proficiency of all staff is imperative to determine the appropriate level of training needed within a professional development program and to meet individual staff needs. Atomic Learning provides a 21st century skills online assessment module for staff and students. The Atomic Learning system allows for ongoing assessments to be created and can be used with other learning management systems to embed assessment tools into the classroom and into professional development trainings.

Assessment tools that are provided directly after the learning experience of faculty (and students) support the just-in-time reinforcement of the activities. Self-evaluation assessment tools that incorporate self-reflection rubrics allow individuals to monitor their progress. Annual assessments of technology proficiencies provide faculty with a chance to measure gains from one year to the next. Multiple assessment tools delivered in a variety of methods that focus on technology proficiency skills and the integration of technology in the curriculum should be used to evaluate the overall technology literacy of educators. Online professional communities provide educators with the opportunity to collaborate with other educators around the world. The sharing of knowledge and best practices along with technology integration strategies provide anytime and anywhere learning (“Empowering Teachers,” 2008).

The emergence of technology has changed the way students learn and the way educators engage students in learning activities. Educators must possess the appropriate level of technology skills in order to educate students of the 21st century to compete with individuals from around the world.

References:

North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (2000). Critical Issue: Providing Professional Development for Effective Technology Use. Retrieved from: http://www.ncrel.org/sdrs/areas/issues/methods/technlgy/te1000.htm

Partnership for 21st Century Skills, (2007). 21st Century Skills Professional Development. http://www.p21.org/documents/21st_century_skills_professional_development.pdf

State Educational Technology Directors Association. (2008). Class of 2020 Action Plan for Education Series: Empowering teachers: A professional and collaborative approach. Retrieved from http://www.setda.org/c/document_library/get_file?folderId=270&name=DLFE-265.pdf