Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Conversation With a Friend

I was over a college girlfriend's house today so our little ones (her's is 17 months and mine will be a year old in a week) could have a playdate.... and so we could catch up over a glass of wine.

We asked each other about our families, about our marriages, we laughed about the milestones our babies are meeting... and then the conversation turned to work. I asked her and she, as a nurse, talked about the demands that have come with the latest flu season. In turn, I talked about the new demands that come with 21st Century Skills in education. Her mom was a teacher in a private Catholic school before she retired a few years ago. So, she thought she had a good understanding of the workload and philosophy behind teaching in K-12 education.

Well, needless to say, I re-educated her.

I explained how research is not what it used to be. I explained how my 9th graders are designing websites, not merely writing papers. They are creating web-based presentations with embedded video clips and then sharing their research with their peers in other classes. She responded, "Well, they learned how to do that in their technology class, right?" My answer was, "Well, no. They have a class that teaches them the really important basics, but often the other subject-area teachers are doing double duty. In my case that means teaching history and web design."

I wish I had this video to show her during our conversation.


It does a great job of explaining the justification and importance of 21st Century Skills. Not only that, for those members of society who aren't in the education bubble, it explains what 21st Century Skills are. After viewing this short 6 minute clip, few would argue that these skills aren't essential. In fact, I think even my most critical friends would have to admit that they wish their teachers had been so forward thinking.