Time Magazine illuminates 21st century learners

timemag.jpgThis week, writers from Time Magazine penned the cover story entitled “How to bring schools into the 21st century.”  This magazine article, as well as a similar article on CNN, is foretelling the report by the National Center on Education and the Economy entitled the “New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce” that is due out later this month.  The group that has written this report are:

a high-powered, bipartisan assembly of Education Secretaries and business, government and other education leaders releases a blueprint for rethinking American education from pre-K to 12 and beyond to better prepare students to thrive in the global economy.”

It will be interesting to read the report when it is released.  In the meantime, I’d like to comment on two of the perspectives discussed in the Time Magazine article.  First the library perspective, it was nice to read about the importance of information literacy.  The article references the ETS Information and Communication Technology pilot test.  Terry Egan, one of the researchers from ETS states: 

Kids tend to go to Google and cut and paste a research report together,” says Terry Egan, who led the team that developed the new test. “We kind of assumed this generation was so comfortable with technology that they know how to use it for research and deeper thinking,” says Egan. “But if they’re not taught these skills, they don’t necessarily pick them up.”

So, once again it is validating to again read about the importance of teaching students how to  to access and use information for schoolwork.  School and public librarians need to be teaching these “information literacy” skills on a daily basis to all students.  All teachers should be integrating the teaching of these information skills into their daily lessons.  My own experience with online high school students validates the comment of Egan.  Students in our online program go through a hands on face-to-face training that helps them to be successful in their online course. For the second perspective, the perspective of online learning, it was good to see the writers highlight the importance of online learning.   Scott McMealy, the CEO of Sun Microsystems was quoted in the article as saying:

“…draw on the Wikipedia model to create a collection of online courses that can be updated, improved, vetted and built upon by innovative teachers, who, he notes, “are always developing new materials and methods of instruction because they aren’t happy with what they have.”

McNealy has organized a ‘wiki-like’ website called Curriki that is bringing together all of the best online courses in one place.  As one who has helped teachers develop online courses, I am anxious to learn more about the course content, how it will develop and how schools will be able to use this online content.   

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