Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Curriculum development - towards 21st century skills and literacies

Schools and learning worldwide are challenged by globalization and digitalization. New skills and literacies are required from the 21st century citizens. With people travelling more and more freely across borders to work and study, intercultural and communication skills will make an essential part of the new literacies. When using new technologies, we can travel anywhere and meet anyone (virtually) anytime. Digitalization and global networks are bound together in a way that is changing the world faster than we can imagine.

Instead of what, general education will have to be about how. How to find relevant information in the world in which new knowledge is being built constantly and its amount is growing exponentially? How to collaborate and work together in different kinds of teams, communities and networks that can be global and multicultural? How to find and use the best ICT tools and applications for a wide range of tasks and how to use audio, video, pictures and diagrams to present and express our ideas in the most appropriate way?

To cope with the constant changes, besides communication and ICT skills, citizens of the future will need flexible intellectual capacity to think creatively, learn to learn and reflect on their thinking/learning. But being a global citizen is not only being connected and move smoothly from one network to another. It’s also about feeling responsible for the well-being of the world, making choices that support sustainable development and fostering peace, equality and human rights.

To educate a new generation capable of meeting the challenges of the 21st century, the school culture (the way we do things at school) has to be radically changed. In the future, the learning process will be characterized by asking questions, finding answers and building knowledge (rather than transferring information). Teachers and students will collaborate and work together in flexible teams and classes. Students will design their own learning and exploit their strengths in project-, problem- or inquiry-based learning activities. They’ll learn by doing, playing and discussing.

The learning environments will be diverse and open in many different ways.  A lot of learning takes place in real-life or virtual environments. Textbooks are used as any other sources, not guiding the learning process or defining its content. Students build and create their own eBooks and learning materials and share them with other learners. Students can consult experts and work together with their peers in other countries around the world and share knowledge and ideas.

Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? Hopefully, building communities across borders and making friends around the world will also make us gradually understand the true essence of global citizenship and this globe of ours a bit better place to live.


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