Learning to Change – Changing to Learn

I have recently watched a video about learning in the current age that had a profound impact on me (Learning to Change – Changing to Learn).  It looks at what we as teachers have students do in school vs. what we really want them to know how to do.  As we look toward what it means to learn in 2014 and beyond, from Pre-K through 12th grade, we have to look at what is being called the new essential 21st century literacies.  American writer Alvin Toffler said, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” So what are we doing to prepare students to learn, unlearn, and relearn?  We have to turn the question back to individuals.  In this information-rich society, each individual, to maximize the ability to learn how to learn in any context, must be able to answer each of the following questions for himself/herself:

  • Do I know how to find information?

  • Do I know how to validate it?

  • Do I know how to synthesize it?

  • Do I know how to leverage it?

  • Do I know how to communicate with it?

  • Do I know how to collaborate with it?

  • Do I know how to problem solve with it?

I would make the argument that anyone who values learning cannot argue with these seven essential literacies.  What I see in them is that learning is beyond just integrating technology.  Knowing how to find information is resource neutral – it involves any type of media.  Knowing how to validate that information creates the legitimacy of a thought.  Knowing how to synthesize it is the foundation of developing an argument to a claim.  Knowing how to leverage that argument to build positive momentum to a cause gives us something to communicate.  Knowing how to use our communication to share passion and build a greater city, state, and world is the ultimate collaboration.  If we can teach our students to do all of this, calling them “problem solvers” won’t sound big enough.

Our God is a God of wisdom and knowledge.  Proverbs 2:6 says, “6 For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.”  With all of the resources that are available to use to learn in today’s age of information, I call upon all of us to be praying for our students, our families, and our school to have wisdom, knowledge and understanding.  Proverbs 16:3 says, “Commit your work to the Lord and your plans will be established.”  Father, God, let it be so.

In Service,

Mike Allen