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Partnering with students..to design 21st century education models

We are in a challenging transition period. It is becoming increasingly clear that the industrial educational model is ill-equipped to develop the skills and competencies our students will need, and it is insufficient to engage our digital learners.

And yet, we are struggling to find the formula or model that will move our education from where it is to where it needs to be. Many of us are not sufficiently literate in technology to fully appreciate the full extent of what it can offer. Many teachers, raised in the traditional model of teaching as transmission of knowledge, are still operating in that familiar paradigm, oblivious to the widening gap between them and their students.

The students get it. They are putting in their time in school that feels increasingly irrelevant to them. Some relying on medication to help them endure hours of boredom, without unduly distracting the teacher or the class. Others have an easier time meeting the requirements of sitting still for long periods at a time - though more naturally compliant, they are often no more engaged than their medicated classmates.

An engaging road forward toward the 21st century, that cultivates students creativity, sense of wonder, love of learning, that develops much needed innovators to solve problems and meet needs, yet to manifest... is not one that will emerge from a committee or task force in Washington- nor from behind the closed doors of this or that principal or superintendent's office. Top down decision making is antithetical to the collaborative underpinnings of 21st century education. Moreover, there is still a generation gap between the digital native students and the pre-digital grown ups responsible for their education.

If we are to design a 21st century model of education that prepares students with the competencies needed for  the hyper-connected, rapidly changing world they live in and will graduate into, why not engage them as collaborative partners in the process of rethinking our approach? 

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