Education in the 21st Century: The World Is Our Classroom

Frank B. WithrowBy Frank B. Withrow

Several factors are acting on traditional education programs. Stringent budgets are limiting school options. Content is increasingly available in digital formats such as accessible video, computer lessons and even educational games. Core academic standards are available in content areas. Most important is that better digital management and assessment systems are becoming available. Home schooling has provided a model that can be expanded into a blended education environment.

When Don Bitzer developed the PLATO system, he dreamed that the learner could be assessed and then assigned appropriate learning materials to move his or her learning forward. Assessment materials would be available to measure the learner’s progress towards a desired level of achievement. This process could be repeated until the learner reached even a 100 percent proficiency. Today this dream is possible with core state standards and digital technologies that allow learning in the home, classroom or even workplace. Handheld media allows learning of content 24/7 year round.

In such a system the role of the teacher becomes more a tutor, a counselor, a mentor and a coach that guides the learner through the desired resources and provides the assessment needed to determine accomplishments by the learners.

Each learner will have an educational plan that they are working towards. Assessment systems will include tests, projects and products that are a part of the learner’s portfolio.

We are a mobile society, therefore each learner will have an education card that holds his or her records, accomplishments and portfolio of work. Much learning will take place in classrooms, but a large amount of content will be learned at home through libraries of lessons available anytime-anywhere in video formats, computer lessons and educational games. Team learning will be emphasized both in classrooms and through social media.

The school and community will become integrated. Education will become learner centric. School facilities will be laboratories where teams of learners work together to reach high levels of scientific achievements.

Children and families will be encouraged to contribute digital resources of their learning experiences on such things as family vacations or other significant family events.

Education in the 21st Century will be learner centric and more digital in nature with students bringing their own digital devices to the learning environment. The world is at our fingertips. We must be wise enough to use it.

10 Responses

  1. [...] Today this dream is possible with core state standards and digital technologies that allow learning in the home, classroom or even workplace. Handheld media allows learning of content 24/7 year round.  [...]

  2. [...] Editor, P-12 Education Column: Meeting the Needs No Satisfaction in WCET Finding on Online vs. Traditional Science Classes · What Will Drive the Future of Educational Technology? Remote Proctoring Services May Not Be …  [...]

  3. [...] By Frank B. Withrow Several factors are acting on traditional education programs. Stringent budgets are limiting school options. Content is increasingly available in digital formats such as accessi…  [...]

  4. [...] By Frank B. Withrow Several factors are acting on traditional education programs. Stringent budgets are limiting school options. Content is increasingly available in digital formats such as accessi…  [...]

  5. [...] By Frank B. Withrow Several factors are acting on traditional education programs. Stringent budgets are limiting school options.  [...]

  6. [...] Content is increasingly available in digital formats such as accessible video, computer lessons and even educational games. Core academic standards are available in content …  [...]

  7. [...] Content is increasingly available in digital formats such as accessible video, computer lessons and even educational games. Core academic standards are available in content …  [...]

  8. I was not going to respond to this. Then I went to this meeting and since the election, I have been thinking. I know Frank, I know that he is speaking to all of the educators, but in Washington, lots of people sit on stages and affirm that there are certain practices that will change the world. I believe in Frank’s ideas and leadership. The nation turns a blind eye to the plight of children in rural, distant, unconnected and urban schools while seeking a digitized curriculum.

    I don’t find it amusing that lots of the “expert” if they have children that they quickly explain that their kids go to Arlington, Montgomery, or Fairfax Schools.. never mind that lots of DC schools are in terrible need of modernity, and a few STEM schools don’t change the equation. The learning landscape is not even in DC and other places.

    They just took librarians or media specialists out of DC Elementary schools. I left teaching in DC years ago because of the lack of resources ( Anthony Bowen now a police station thanks to Rhee, but it is clean no longer reeks of urine when the heat is on).

    We lived through Rhee, few have noted the ravages of her plan. Then I go to this …A Plan to Get the Best Teachers in the World
    In his new book, The Best Teachers in the World: Why We Don’t Have Them and How We Could, Education Sector’s John Chubb explores strategies for how the United States can cultivate and retain the best teachers in the world, all with an eye toward raising student achievement. Jeff Selingo, an Education Sector senior fellow, sat down with Chubb to discuss the book at a recent Education Sector author talk.

    I was there. I am sure that you will not see me on the video.

    Selingo started off the conversation asking Chubb to weigh the importance of teacher recruitment versus teacher training, a main theme in the book. Chubb argued that most of the evidence that drives teacher quality points to training. Selection matters, he says, and so does aptitude. But training is critical, argues Chubb. “The dominant explanation of success is what teachers learn on the job.”

    At the discussion he citied that an Ivy League education was the key.

    Then he said the challenge with this, however, is the variation in ongoing professional development and teacher improvement. “Training on the job needs to be structured,” says Chubb. And, part of the solution might be to focus on leadership within the school, he suggests: Does the principal provide a structure by which teachers can collaborate and learn from each other? Does she really know what good instruction looks like? What training is needed and effective? School leaders must be more focused on creating the right context and structure, argues Chubb.

    His mantra was TFA, Ivy League Schools, charter schools, and KIPP.

    Before KIPP there was a series of parochial schools that were successful. Scratch a successful minority and you will find that experience, or the resources of the armed forces.

    TFA does not believe that teachers should make teaching a career and anyway, there are not enough ivy league schools, nor people who can afford them in the minority groups.

    Do people really, really think that there are no good teachers except those who are TFA trained.. they did mention Vanderbilt.My student who was teaching there left because of the short emphasis on content for TFA.

    Do people really believe that the only true and measurable education takes place in Ivy League colleges and universities. and that those of us who graduated from MSO, that means minority serving organizations as chopped liver? I know that is not true. There are some good points in his book. But the conversation and the video dis minorities who do not attend the ivy league schools. Shame on him.

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