I have been heard to say that you can’t throw a rock into the blogosphere these days without hitting a post or article on the 21st Century “something-or-other”.
Love it or hate it – the notion of 21st Century Skills is one of those HOT topics these days – especially in Turkey.
I blog about this area far too frequently (my darling wife, Nazlı Hanim, just says I blog about “everything” too much), have a “big mouth” and live here – these are probably some of the reasons I have been invited to give a keynote at the upcoming Maltepe University Conference in April.
I didn’t have to think about it too much at all – this is the first time I have heard of a conference that specifically links the 21C concept to the “business” of what teachers need to “do” with what they know about LEARNing and TEACHing (with Turkish LEARNers).
The problem is that I still can’t help feeling that many in “educational circles” (or their advisors) do not link the 21C concept to real LEARNing – choosing instead to focus on what seems to be both the engine and the fuel of the 21st Century…..
Don’t get me wrong…I’m not some kind of EdTech luddite who wants to put a stop to the so-called “tablet and akıllı tahta dönemi” we are currently witnessing in Turkey. Turkey is my “adopted” home, I am a “milli enişte” and I am amazingly proud that I helped “create” one of Turkey’s first “digital natives” (and also one of the “toughest” and “most beautiful”, too – ask me about the “Türk kızı” who took down men twice her size on the Turkish TV version of Wipe-Out).
I am a “daddy”, too!
But, my “business” is LEARNing (as if you didn’t know) - not TECHNOlogy. And, I’m interested in how we actually “do” something with all the talk-we-are-talking these days – talk about the “new kids” on the “curriculum block”:
- INDEPENDENT, CRITICAL and CREATIVE THINKING
- PROBLEM-SOLVING and CREATIVITY
- COMMUNICATION, COLLABORATION and SHARING
- COGNITIVE and EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE
- ETHICS, ACTION and ACCOUNTABILITY
- LEADERSHIP, AGILITY and ENTREPRENEURIALISM
- CURIOSITY, EXPERIMENTATION and RISK-TAKING
- SELF-DISCIPLINE, RIGOUR and REFLECTION
- IMAGINEERING (a wonderful “skill” that brings many of the above together)…
We know here in Turkey (not that different to the rest of the world really) that we still have major challenges with:
- ORAL and WRITTEN COMMUNICATION (the 3R’s in TURKISH) – of course!
- ENGLISH LANGUAGE (the 3R’s in ELL)
But, the “TECH” (and the “new digital landscape”) still get many more column inches and pixels than student LEARNing.
Our raging debate, a debate that others in the US and Europe have picked up, centres on Turkey’s plans to purchase “15,000,000 tablets” over the next few years (as part of the Fatih Project) – and has international and domestic commentators “really talking”:
Actually, I’m not sure if we should be talking about the “tablets” – we should be discussing the “skills” the tablets are supposed to be ushering into Turkish schools.
…and, the impact of these skills on TEACHers.
In an earlier post, I discussed how these 21st Century “realities” are creating a new set of roles for teachers:
However, discussion on how these “roles” translate into a new evolving set of teacher skills, literacies and fluencies has been limited – especially, in Turkey.
This is what I’ll be talking about in Istanbul – at the Maltepe University conference.
So, and in preparation for my keynote – I’d like to try and create a “pre-conference PLN” (and hopefully a post-conference version, too). I want to see what people think about the following questions:
- What skills do TEACHers (in Turkey) need as we continue our march into the 21st Century?
- How many of these skills actually relate to how we deploy and use TECHNOLOGY?
- How many of them relate to effective LEARNing and TEACHing?
- What do TEACHers actually think themselves – and what do their LEARNers think?
- How effectively is TEACHer (and LEARNer) LEARNing being promoted and supported (in Turkey)?
- What else needs to change to make the 21st Century “wishlist” a reality?
I’d love to see some fresh ideas and comments – and see you at the conference, if you can make it.
If not (and you are a lover of “bedtime reading”) – here’s a little list of some resouces on allthings21Cskills: