Tony Gurr

Posts Tagged ‘21st Century Fluency Project’

Getting FLUENT with the “FIVE FLUENCIES”…

In Classroom Teaching, Guest BLOGGERS, Technology on 14/03/2012 at 8:50 am

In a couple of the recent posts (in the series on 21st Century LEARNing and TEACHing), we have touched on the importance of FLUENCY in the various 21C LITERACIES – for both teachers and students.

Those of you that follow allthingslearning will be familar with the mini-series of guest-blogger posts that we did at the start of the year. These posts were created by the amazingly wise lads at the 21st Century Fluency Project – Lee CrockettIan Jukes and Andrew Churches – from their new book Literacy is NOT Enough!

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There were 7 posts in total – but I thought that this one needed a bit of a “re-boot” (as so many people have been asking for more information on the FLUENCIES themselves). You can see the full list of posts at the end of this one.

This one highlights the “nuts and bolts” of the FIVE FLUENCIES – so, I’ll let the boys get on with it:

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By Lee CrockettIan Jukes and Andrew Churches

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At the very heart of the 21st Century Fluency Project are the Five Fluencies. We call them fluencies and not skills because we believe this level of proficiency—not just literacy, but fluency—should be the goal when we are teaching students the basic skills that are essential for functioning in life.

It’s important to note that these are not optional skills for our students, or for us. Everyone living in the 21st century and beyond will need these abilities.

They must be cultivated by every teacher in every subject, and at every grade level. And they will mean the difference between success and struggle for the students of our current Information Age. 

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Solution Fluency

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Our education system has taught problem-solving in a show-and-tell manner (we show students the problem, and tell them how we got the answer) that has fostered a culture of dependency, rather than discovery. But if you look at today’s economy, you’ll discover that most left-brain tasks are already automated or outsourced via Internet in a global economy, leaving jobs that require whole-brain thinking. This means creativity and problem-solving applied in real time. The 6D system is a logical, thorough, and relevant approach for tackling problems:!”

  • Define the problem, because you need to know exactly what you’re doing before you start.
  • Discover a solution, because planning prevents wasted effort.
  • Dream up a process, one that is suitable and efficient.
  • Design the process in an accurate and detailed action plan.
  • Deliver by putting the plan into action by both producing and publishing the solution.
  • Debrief and foster ownership by evaluating the problem solving process.

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Information Fluency

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Because of InfoWhelm, data is increasing dramatically, facts are becoming obsolete faster, and knowledge built on these facts is less durable. Information fluency is the ability to unconsciously interpret this avalanche of data in all formats, in order to extract the essential and perceive its significance. Information fluency has 5 As, which are: 

  • Ask good questions, in order to get good answers.
  • Access and acquire the raw material from the appropriate digital information sources, which today are mostly graphical and audiovisual in nature.
  • Analyze and authenticate and arrange these materials, and distinguish between good and bad, fact and opinion. Understand bias and determine what is incomplete to turn the raw data into usable knowledge.
  • Apply the knowledge within a real world problem or simulation using a VIP action (vision into practice).
  • Assess both the product and the process, which is both a teacher and a student practice.

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Creativity Fluency

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Creativity fluency how artistic proficiency adds meaning through design, art, and storytelling. We are all creative people. This means that creativity can be taught and learned like any other skill. It’s a whole brain process that involves both hemispheres working together. There are 5 Is to Creativity fluency:

  • Identify the desired outcome and criteria.
  • Inspire your creativity with rich sensory information.
  • Interpolate and connect the dots by searching for patterns within the inspiration that align with your desired outcome and criteria from Identify.
  • Imagine is the synthesis of Inspire and Interpolate, uniting in the birth of an idea.
  • Inspect the idea against the original criteria and for feasibility.

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Media Fluency

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In our multimedia world, communication has moved far beyond the realm of text. Our visual learning capacity needs stimulation with rich media from a variety of different sources. But it’s more than just operating a digital camera, creating a podcast, or writing a document. There are two components of Media fluency—one forinput and one for output.

  • Listen actively and decode the communication by separating the media from the message, concisely and clearly verbalizing the message and verifying its authenticity, and then critically analyzing the medium for form, flow, and alignment with the intended audience and purpose.
  • Leverage the most appropriate media for your message considering your content or message and what the desired outcome is. Then consider the audience, your abilities, and any pre-determined criteria. From here, the application of the other fluencies is used to produce and publish your message.

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Collaboration Fluency

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More and more, working, playing, and learning in today’s digital world involves working with others. It is the spirit of collaboration that will stimulate progress in our global marketplace, in our social networks, and in our ability to create products of value and substance. Collaboration fluency is the ability to successfully work and interact with virtual and real partners. The 5 Es of Collaboration fluency are: 

  • Establish the collective, and determine the best role for each team member by pinpointing each team member’s personal strengths and expertise, establishing norms, and the signing of a group contract that indicates both a collective working agreement and an acceptance of the individual responsibilities and accountability of each team member.
  • Envision the outcome, examining the issue, challenge, and goal as a group.
  • Engineer a workable plan to achieve the goal.
  • Execute by putting the plan into action and managing the process.
  • Examine the process and the end result for areas of constructive improvement.

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Global Digital Citizen

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The digital citizen uses the principles of leadershipethicsaccountability, fiscal responsibilityenvironmental awarenessglobal citizenship, and personal responsibility, and considers his or her actions and their consequences. The ideal Global Digital Citizen is defined by the presence of 5 main qualities: 

  • Personal Responsibility in ethical and moral boundaries, finance, personal health and fitness, and relationships of every definition.
  • Global Citizenship and its sense of understanding of world-wide issues and events, respect for cultures and religions, and an attitude of acceptance and tolerance in a changing world.
  • Digital Citizenship and the guiding principles of respecting and protecting yourself, others, and all intellectual property in digital and non-digital environments.
  • Altruistic Service by taking advantage of the opportunities we are given to care for our fellow citizens, and to lend our hands and hearts to these in need when the need is called for.
  • Environmental Stewardship and its common sense values about global resource management and personal responsibility for safeguarding the environment, and an appreciation and respect for the beauty and majesty that surrounds us every day.

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Our Students, Our Future

In the end, our job as educators should no longer be just to stand up in front of our children and show them how smart we are and how stupid they are. The problem is that, as educators, we simply don’t understand how different our digital generation really is.

Neurologically speaking, kids today aren’t just a little different; they’re completely different.

If we continue to do things that we already know aren’t working, we have to consider just who really has the learning problem … because it certainly isn’t the kids.

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FULL LISTING of all LNE posts on allthingslearning:

#1 – Can a committee write a poem? 

#2 – Why we need more “Committed Sardines”…

#3 – From Literacy to Fluency – 21st Century Fluencies, that is…

#4 – Getting FLUENT with the 5 FLUENCIES… 

#5 – How to make LEARNing “stick”

#6 – Stop Talking…Start DOING!

#7 – Crafting Scenarios for 21st Century Fluency Lessons

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For those of you that are interested in even more “bedtime reading” on 21st Century LEARNing and TEACHing – why not take a look at these:

Tony’s 21st CENTURY LEARNing Library

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Getting FLUENT with the 5 FLUENCIES…

In Classroom Teaching, Curriculum, Guest BLOGGERS, Our Schools on 01/11/2011 at 3:56 pm

A couple of weeks ago we started a “series” based on the work of those lovely chaps at the 21st Century Fluency ProjectLee CrockettIan Jukes and Andrew Churches very kindly gave me permission to use their new book Literacy is NOT Enough to create a number of “guest-posts” (now, if we could only get more writers to don their “creative commons” hats)!

To date, I have done three posts:

…and I promised that the forth would outline the “spirit” of the 5 Fluencies. Unable to edit down 6 chapters on my own, I got a “help me” message to Ian this morning…

In less than an hour he had done this – Ian, you are “the man”!

 

At the very heart of the 21st Century Fluency Project are the Five Fluencies. We call them fluencies and not skills because we believe this level of proficiency—not just literacy, but fluency—should be the goal when we are teaching students the basic skills that are essential for functioning in life.

It’s important to note that these are not optional skills for our students, or for us. Everyone living in the 21st century and beyond will need these abilities.

They must be cultivated by every teacher in every subject, and at every grade level. And they will mean the difference between success and struggle for the students of our current Information Age. 

 

Solution Fluency

Our education system has taught problem-solving in a show-and-tell manner (we show students the problem, and tell them how we got the answer) that has fostered a culture of dependency, rather than discovery. But if you look at today’s economy, you’ll discover that most left-brain tasks are already automated or outsourced via Internet in a global economy, leaving jobs that require whole-brain thinking. This means creativity and problem-solving applied in real time. The 6D system is a logical, thorough, and relevant approach for tackling problems:!”

  • Define the problem, because you need to know exactly what you’re doing before you start.
  • Discover a solution, because planning prevents wasted effort.
  • Dream up a process, one that is suitable and efficient.
  • Design the process in an accurate and detailed action plan.
  • Deliver by putting the plan into action by both producing and publishing the solution.
  • Debrief and foster ownership by evaluating the problem solving process.

 

Information Fluency

Because of InfoWhelm, data is increasing dramatically, facts are becoming obsolete faster, and knowledge built on these facts is less durable. Information fluency is the ability to unconsciously interpret this avalanche of data in all formats, in order to extract the essential and perceive its significance. Information fluency has 5 As, which are: 

  • Ask good questions, in order to get good answers.
  • Access and acquire the raw material from the appropriate digital information sources, which today are mostly graphical and audiovisual in nature.
  • Analyze and authenticate and arrange these materials, and distinguish between good and bad, fact and opinion. Understand bias and determine what is incomplete to turn the raw data into usable knowledge.
  • Apply the knowledge within a real world problem or simulation using a VIP action (vision into practice).
  • Assess both the product and the process, which is both a teacher and a student practice.

 

Creativity Fluency

Creativity fluency how artistic proficiency adds meaning through design, art, and storytelling. We are all creative people. This means that creativity can be taught and learned like any other skill. It’s a whole brain process that involves both hemispheres working together. There are 5 Is to Creativity fluency:

  • Identify the desired outcome and criteria.
  • Inspire your creativity with rich sensory information.
  • Interpolate and connect the dots by searching for patterns within the inspiration that align with your desired outcome and criteria from Identify.
  • Imagine is the synthesis of Inspire and Interpolate, uniting in the birth of an idea.
  • Inspect the idea against the original criteria and for feasibility.

 

Media Fluency

In our multimedia world, communication has moved far beyond the realm of text. Our visual learning capacity needs stimulation with rich media from a variety of different sources. But it’s more than just operating a digital camera, creating a podcast, or writing a document. There are two components of Media fluency—one forinput and one for output.

  • Listen actively and decode the communication by separating the media from the message, concisely and clearly verbalizing the message and verifying its authenticity, and then critically analyzing the medium for form, flow, and alignment with the intended audience and purpose.
  • Leverage the most appropriate media for your message considering your content or message and what the desired outcome is. Then consider the audience, your abilities, and any pre-determined criteria. From here, the application of the other fluencies is used to produce and publish your message.

 

Collaboration Fluency

More and more, working, playing, and learning in today’s digital world involves working with others. It is the spirit of collaboration that will stimulate progress in our global marketplace, in our social networks, and in our ability to create products of value and substance. Collaboration fluency is the ability to successfully work and interact with virtual and real partners. The 5 Es of Collaboration fluency are: 

  • Establish the collective, and determine the best role for each team member by pinpointing each team member’s personal strengths and expertise, establishing norms, and the signing of a group contract that indicates both a collective working agreement and an acceptance of the individual responsibilities and accountability of each team member.
  • Envision the outcome, examining the issue, challenge, and goal as a group.
  • Engineer a workable plan to achieve the goal.
  • Execute by putting the plan into action and managing the process.
  • Examine the process and the end result for areas of constructive improvement.

 

Global Digital Citizen

The digital citizen uses the principles of leadership, ethics, accountability, fiscal responsibility, environmental awareness, global citizenship, and personal responsibility, and considers his or her actions and their consequences. The ideal Global Digital Citizen is defined by the presence of 5 main qualities: 

  • Personal Responsibility in ethical and moral boundaries, finance, personal health and fitness, and relationships of every definition.
  • Global Citizenship and its sense of understanding of world-wide issues and events, respect for cultures and religions, and an attitude of acceptance and tolerance in a changing world.
  • Digital Citizenship and the guiding principles of respecting and protecting yourself, others, and all intellectual property in digital and non-digital environments.
  • Altruistic Service by taking advantage of the opportunities we are given to care for our fellow citizens, and to lend our hands and hearts to these in need when the need is called for.
  • Environmental Stewardship and its common sense values about global resource management and personal responsibility for safeguarding the environment, and an appreciation and respect for the beauty and majesty that surrounds us every day.

 

Our Students, Our Future

In the end, our job as educators should no longer be just to stand up in front of our children and show them how smart we are and how stupid they are. The problem is that, as educators, we simply don’t understand how different our digital generation really is.

Neurologically speaking, kids today aren’t just a little different; they’re completely different.

If we continue to do things that we already know aren’t working, we have to consider just who really has the learning problem … because it certainly isn’t the kids.

Why we need more “Committed Sardines”…

In Educational Leadership, Our Schools on 04/10/2011 at 7:22 am

A couple of days ago I did a “lazy Sunday” post – but shared a poem from the guys at the 21st Century Fluency Project (Ian, Andrew and Lee). The poem clearly touched a nerve with many of you and showed me just how much we educators value allthingseducation – and “the need for change”.

If only our schools, colleges and universities were half as passionate!

 

Lee, Andrew and Ian have recently published their latest book – Literacy is Not Enough –and have kindly offered to share selected chapters of the book with you all. After I had posted the poem, I thought elements of Chapter 12 (the end of the book) would be the best to start their series of guest-posts for us.

 

We must immediately begin to rethink and reshape the current classroom learning experience. We must re-examine the way we teach, the way students learn, and the way we assess that learning. We acknowledge that this is a great challenge. What we are being asked to do is not like changing a small bad habit such as smoking or eating a bit too much chocolate or biting nails.

The challenge we’re facing in education at this time is that educators are being asked to reconsider our fundamental assumptions about how we teach, how students learn and how that learning should be assessed.

But when we’re challenged to rethink education, we’re not being asked just to change a few small behaviors or habits like how we spend our money, what we put into our bodies, or how we spend our time. What we are being asked to do here is reconsider some of the most fundamental, traditional, embedded parts of our life experiences and our habits of mind.

And that is the real challenge that educators face.

And yes, change is hard. Sometimes the challenge of change seems absolutely overwhelming. So where do we begin? How do we in education deal with a world of such fast-paced change? How do we deal with embedded traditional mindsets about teaching and learning and assessment? How do we deal with the digital generation?

 

Facing the Music

It may seem a bit selfish, but what we passionately believe is that this is not about us; it’s not about our issues; it’s not about our comfort zone. This is about our children and our hopes and our dreams and our prayers for their future. They may only be 20 percent of the population, but they are 100 percent of the future of our nation.

Put on a more visceral level, all of our pension plans depend on how well we prepare them. Three billion new people entered the world economy in the past ten years, and if even if only ten percent of them have skills and opportunity to compete with us, that’s still 300 million people—about twice the size of the entire U.S. workforce and twenty times the Canadian workforce.

In the work culture of the 21st Century, everything from the neck down is going to be minimum wage. Everything that can be automated, turned into hardware, turned into software, or outsourced or offshored will be. So we have a choice. Either our students and workers have high skills or they get low wages. And if they don’t get those 21st-century kills in our schools, where will they get them.

We hear complaints all the time that kids today are different, and that our schools aren’t what they used to be. Frankly, we believe the problem with our schools isn’t that they aren’t what they used to be. Culturally and socially they are different, but structurally, they are just like they were when students were released for 3 months in the summer so they could harvest the crops based on a European agricultural cycle from 150 years ago.

No, the problem is that our schools are what they used to be. So if we’re going to prepare our students for their future and not just our past, if we’re going to prepare them for their future and not just our comfort zone, we’re going to need new schools—and more than that, we need a new mindset. We need new schools for the new world that awaits them. We need schools that will prepare students for their future—for life ahead of them after they leave school—for the rest of their lives. We know this is hard, but as educators, we must understand that our job is not just to serve what is or has been. Our job is to shape what can, what might, what absolutely must be.

Once again, change is difficult, and it’s very easy to feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of the changes required. But this is normal. Little has ever been understood or achieved in one blinding flash of light. The process of change is messy and doesn’t happen overnight.

Honestly, in writing a book like Literacy is Not Enough, and in creating a project as large as the 21st Century Fluency Project, it’s easy to feel completely overwhelmed, and we certainly do feel that from time to time. But when we do feel overwhelmed, there’s a place we like to go to decompress. That place is the Monterey Aquarium in Monterey, California. Some say it’s the world’s greatest aquarium.

 

The Joy of Whalewatching

A few years ago, Ian took his wife Nicky there for the first time. After they paid their fee, they walked inside. Immediately on their right was a gift shop that was playing a DVD about the blue whale, the largest and, at 190 decibels, the loudest mammal on earth—much louder than a person can shout (70 decibels) and louder than a jet (140 decibels). The video was full of amazing facts. The blue whale weighs more than a fully loaded 737. It is the length of 2 1/2 Greyhound buses put end to end and has a heart the size of a Volkswagen Beetle. It has blood vessels that a human adult could swim down, and a tongue 8 feet long that weighs 6000 lbs. One particularly amazing fact was that in its first year of life, a baby blue whale was estimated to gain 15 pounds an hour.

One other amazing fact caught their attention—a blue whale is so mammoth that when it swims in one direction and it decides it needs to turn around, it takes three to five minutes to complete the turn. There are a lot of people in our world who draw a strong parallel between the blue whale and the school system. And there are also a lot of people who believe that all the calls for charter schools and vouchers are being made by people who are wishing and hoping that we just won’t be able to turn public education around in time.

But if you walk past the video on the blue whale, turn to the left and walk about 50 yards down the way, you come to what we consider to be the absolute centerpiece of the Monterey Aquarium. It’s a 10 story, all-glass tank inside of which have been placed many of the creatures that are native to the Monterey Bay. If you’ve read ever John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row, you’ll know that a century ago, twice a year, in the inner Monterey Bay, there used to appear—out of nowhere—schools of sardines that were the length, the width, and the depth of city blocks. These immense crowds of the tiny fish had the mass not of one, two, or three blue whales, but of rather thousands of them.

But there is a fundamental difference between the way a blue whale turns around and a school of sardines changes its direction. How do they do it? How do they know? Is it ESP? Is it Twitter? Are they using cellphones?

Because we were quite curious, we pressed our noses against the tank and looked at the gigantic school of sardines swimming around inside.

At first glance, it looked like all the sardines were swimming in the same direction. But when our eyes adjusted to light, we began to realize, slowly at first, that at any one time there would be a small group of sardines swimming in another direction. And when they did this, they inevitably caused conflict, discomfort, collisions, and stress to each other.

But finally, when a critical mass of truly committed sardines was reached—not 50 or 60 percent who wanted to change, but 10 to 15 percent who truly believed in change, you know what happened? The rest of the school turned and followed. And that’s exactly what has happened over the past few years with things like out attitudes toward smoking, our unwillingness to tolerate drinking and driving, or politicians who lie. It’s exactly what happened with regime change in the Middle East. Each and every one of them was an overnight success that was years in the making. Every one of them started with a small group of people who were willing to make the change despite the obstacles and resistance.

You All Need To Be Committed!

On the 21st Century Fluency Project website (www.fluency21.com) is our blog, which we call “The Committed Sardine Blog.” When we first started posting we had a vision of building a following and providing world-class books and free resources that would help to transform education to be relevant to life in the 21st-century. We had a trickle of subscribers, which has turned into a flood. Today we have tens of thousands of Committed Sardines in dozens of countries. The blog and resources have been accessed millions of times. Shortly it will expand into a personal learning network where you can create and share unit plans like the ones in this book.

So the big question is:

who amongst you is willing to become a Committed Sardine?

 

Who amongst you is willing to swim against the flow, against conventional wisdom, against our long-standing and traditional assumptions and practices in education and begin to move schools from where they are to where they need to be?

American anthropologist Maragret Mead put it this way:

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