Virtual School Meanderings

February 10, 2009

On Classroom 2.0: Julie Evans Tomorrow On Student Technology Use In Education

Thought I had finished my blogging day, but one more notice from my inbox to post before I head off to bed…

A message to all members of Classroom 2.0

Julie Evans is the CEO of Project Tomorrow (, a national education nonprofit organization (formerly known as NetDay). Join me as I interview Julie for the Future of Education series ( and she takes questions about what has been learned from Speak Up, the annual national research project facilitated by Project Tomorrow.

The Speak Up data represents the largest collection of authentic, unfiltered stakeholder input on education, technology, 21st century skills, schools of the future and science instruction. Education, business, and policy leaders report using the data regularly to inform federal, state, and local education programs. A copy of the “top ten” report is attached to the discussion page at

Date: Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Time: 5pm Pacific / 8pm Eastern / 1am GMT (next day)

Location: In Elluminate. Log in at The Elluminate room will be open up to 30 minutes before the event if you want to come in early.

To make sure that your computer is configured for Elluminate, please visit Video, audio, and chat recordings will be posted here after the show.

The interview will be recorded and the recordings placed in the discussion page at Future of Education linked above.  Recordings of previous events with Tom Friedman, Don Tapscott, and Carol Broos are also available on the site.



Steve Hargadon

Visit Classroom 2.0 at:

October 7, 2008

Skills We Need To Teach

Okay, as you know I regularly rant about the whole Twenty-First Century Skills initiative (see New Report from Partnership for 21st Century Skills for one of my more recent rants) – not because I don’t believe the skills listed there are important, but because I don’t believe there is anything twenty-first century about them (see VSS2007 – Virtual Schools and 21st Century Skills for a good discussion of what isn’t C21st about them).

But this notion still persists, as evidenced by the number of bloggers talking about it:

However, today I was watching the tweets flow along the Twitbin add-on to my Firefox and I saw this message in the queue:

njtechteacher Just finished reading ASCD article on Rigor Redefined thanks @kjarrett for pointing it out.

What I found most interesting about this article was that it was one of these here’s what we need to be teaching students today, but it didn’t present it in a way that made it seem like these skills were new or novel or specific to the today’s student with all of their supposed generational differences.  It was simply a list (and accompanying description) of skills that are valued by employers.  Skills that I was taught by the good teachers I had the fortune of having during my career as a K-12 student (which would have been from 1980 to 1993).  Skills that my grandfather was taught before he left school in grade eight to help support his family in the fishery.

The article in question is:

Educational Leadership

October 2008 | Volume 66 | Number 2
Pages 20-25

Rigor Redefined – Tony Wagner

I highly recommend it as a read.

September 15, 2008

More 21st Century Stuff

Beginning to clean out my Bloglines account and since I had an entry this morning about the 21st Century Skills, I figured that I’d post some more of that crap stuff this afternoon (note that much of what is below is god stuff, but we all know how I feel about the 21st century skills project – if you don’t see the earlier post today, New Report from Partnership for 21st Century Skills).

New Report from Partnership for 21st Century Skills

This was posted in one of the NACOL forums three or four days ago, and I also received it in my inbox from a colleague at Elluminate.

Partnership for 21st Century Skills


Report Identifies Inherent Link Between a 21st Century Education System and Economic Success

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills is pleased to announce the release of our new report: 21st Century Skills, Education & Competitiveness.

You can download the report now from the Partnership’s website:

21st Century Skills, Education & Competitiveness: A Resource and Policy Guide features:

  • the strong link between viable economies and 21st century education systems
  • two achievement gaps – domestic and global – prevalent throughout the United States education system
  • the 21st century skills outcomes students, workers and citizens need in order to triumph in the global skills race that is central to the economic competitiveness issue currently facing the United Statess
  • recommendations at the federal, state and local level to help ensure all graduates are capable of competing with their national and international peers.

The Partnership encourages you to disseminate this report to staff, constituents, board members and others and, if possible, link to the report from your Web site. Please include information about 21st Century Skills, Education & Competitiveness in your organization’s publications such as internal and external newsletters.

The Partnership thanks the report sponsors: Ford Motor Company Fund, KnowledgeWorks Foundation and the National Education Association

If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact Erin Schmidt at

In the past I’ve outlined my problems with the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (see VSS2007 – Virtual Schools and 21st Century Skills for the most detailed version of my issues).  However, beyond the fact that the skills prompted as 21st century skills are simply not actual 21st century skills, the way in which this initiative has been promoted is that if we begin to use more technology in education (even if it is used in constructive ways) that this will solve all of the problems that we are experiencing with the education system in the United States.

For those who are truly interested in the problems with education in America, both K-12 and higher education, I would recommend that you pick up the book Declining by Degrees (for my Canadian readers, Ivory Tower Blues provides the same coverage from a Canadian perspective).

If you look at the countries that are surpassing the United States in competition, one of the main things you’ll notice is the focus upon languages.  Countries like India and China had a focus upon learning English.  Many European countries require youth to be bilingual in order to graduate high school, some eve require their youth to become trilingual in order to receive their university degree.  When we look for models on how we can reform the American education system, I always tell people to look at a country like Ireland and see the measures (particularly those related to education) they have taken to turn their economy around.

Anyway, the 21st century skills have nothing to do with a 21st century economy – they’re just good skills, they were in the 19th century and in the 20th century, so it makes sense that they continue to be useful in the 21st century.  And I do agree with the Partnership that many students graduating today don’t possess these skills.  But the reasons why they don’t can be traced to the problems outlined in books like Declining by Degrees and Ivory Tower Blues, and not from a lack of technology in our schools.

June 9, 2008

FREE Webinar: Building 21st Century Skills for Students in the Flat World

Got this in my Facebook mail from the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) group in Facebook.

Building 21st Century Skills for Students in the Flat World

Tuesday, June 10th at 2:00pm EDT
Presenters: Jan Zanetis, Market Development Manager-Education and Training, TANDBERG, Lance Ford, Technology Coordinator, Howe/Hodgen Public Schools, Apple Distinguished Educator

Summary: We hear a lot these days about how schools are not addressing skills necessary for graduates to be successful in a “flat world” economy. Many states are exploring the inclusion of these types of skills via the 21st Century Skills Framework. The Student Outcomes for 21st Century Skills include:

* Global awareness
* Communication and collaboration skills
* ICT (Information/Communication

Technology) Literacy
* Social and Cross-cultural skills

What better way to address these types of skills than through the use of an interactive tool that global businesses have been using successfully for years: videoconferencing. In this webinar, Jan Zanetis and Lance Ford will take a look at how K12 schools are using videoconferencing, along with other emerging technologies, to bring students together. They will share examples of how teachers are connecting their students with people around the block and around the world to solve real world problems in a collaborative environment.

Join us to Learn:

1. Ideas to incorporate the 21st Century Skills Framework in your district.
2. Ways districts are using videoconferencing to connect students.
3. Critical considerations when implementing a videoconferencing program.
4. Best practices for incorporating 21st Century Skills in your curriculum.

To RSVP visit:

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