21st Century Classrooms by Casey Echelmeier

21st Century Classrooms by Casey Echelmeier
Posted on 11/29/2017
21st Century Classrooms
BY: Casey Echelmeier
District Technology Facilitator

These are exciting times within the world of education. The ways teachers instruct students and the expectations of student learning are constantly evolving. Teachers are faced with the task of preparing their students to be ready for success when they graduate. But how are teachers supposed to know what skills the students will need to be successful in their future when our workforce is constantly changing?

To prepare students for success, teachers are working to develop 21st Century skills. These skills are not dependent on technology use, but Mexico Public Schools teachers are using the district’s ever expanding technology resources to help their students develop necessary skills to ensure their future successes.

The development of 21st Century skills occur when teachers create learning experiences which allow students to have opportunities to create their learning, think critically and problem solve, collaborate with others, and communicate their ideas and learning to authentic audiences.

If you walk into any school building, you will see a variety of learning experiences, using technology, taking place. Kindergarten students may be practicing their letters, numbers, and sight words on Kindles and Chromebooks. 1st and 2nd grade students may be showcasing their understanding by creating interactive posters, using their chromebooks, on topics within their classroom. Other students may be collaborating with students on shared projects with peers in other classrooms and districts, while students are connecting with other classrooms and content experts using technology resources like Google Hangouts. How exciting for students to be able to learn from real experts from around the world and share their learning with other students in different states!

Today, students also have access to updated information twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. It is important that students not only develop the skills necessary to find relevant information, but also be able to determine the accuracy and reasonableness of the information found on the internet. This is where the development of digital literacy in our students become so important.

Students are learning these digital literacy skills as well as proper digital citizenship skills. With the ever growing use of technology in the classroom, students also need to learn how to properly use technology and be safe when utilizing this resource. While developing their digital citizenship skills, students are learning how to safely research topics, how to develop safe internet practices, as well as the positive and negative effects of social media.

To ensure students have opportunities for these technological learning experiences, it is important to make sure students have access to the technology resources needed. Chromebook carts are available for each grade level at each district elementary building. At the middle and high school buildings, certain classrooms have their own chromebook carts. These chromebook carts complement the computer labs located in each building. Some buildings also have iPad carts to support Project Lead the Way, a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) initiative to assist with science curriculum.

However, providing the technology resources are not enough. The Mexico Public School District Technology Committee, meets regularly, and is working to develop a technology plan, as well as a district technology curriculum, to assist teachers in providing the technology skills and instructional practices needed for all students.

Education is changing and the Mexico Public School District is working hard to ensure all students and teachers have the skills and resources necessary for student success.