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Updated by Angie Jones on Jun 22, 2013
Angie Jones Angie Jones
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21st Century Learning

This list ranks the effectiveness of the videos for starting a conversation about 21st century learning. A rank of 1 is most effective. A rank of 10 is least effective.

21st Century Learning Matters

The video began with a message from Dr. James Billington, the Librarian of Congress. The video posed thought provoking questions about 21st century learning and how education will transform from a traditional content based educational system to a technology rich higher level thinking system. They presented questions such as what are the challenges of the 21st century, how do we prepare our children for their future, how can we best support learning, how do we create powerful learning for students, and where does learning take place. These questions would be great to start a conversation with fellow educators.

Rethinking Learning: The 21st Century Learner | MacArthur Foundation

This video presents a different view on 21st century learners than the other videos. Through a series of 6 small interviews, professionals in the digital learning environment present their ideas on what is needed in the 21st century classroom and characteristics of 21st century learners. John Sealy Brown voiced the “most important think for kids growing up today is the love of embracing change”. Nicole Pinkard does not think anyone is born as a digital native. Instead she views youth today as born consuming media rather than producing media. Diana Rhoten views 21st century skills as learning the tools and skills needed to became a creator or producer and remake the content. Mimi Ito states there should be a coordinated way of using learning that is happening at home and formal learning taking place in school. At Karen Salen’s school, they are wireless and use many wireless devices. But, their philosophy is that they will use the wireless technology devices when needed and put them away when another learning tool is more appropriate. Henry Jenkins states 21st century skills are more than skills for the workplace or technology application. 21st century skills include creativity, engagement, and social life applications.

21st Century Skills: What Do We Do?

The video began with an introduction indicating high school graduates are entering the work force with deficiency in written communication, problem solving, critical thinking, professionalism, and work ethic. The remainder of the video targeted educators to ask what do we do and how do we do it? The visually effects of the video helped to bring out the main points that students need to be made masters with and of content. The content should prepared students for their careers and allow them to explore opportunities while in school. The answer to how we do it is to begin using content to teach skills providing a solid foundation of core academics as well as allowing exploration of career academics and application of this knowledge within the community. The video seemed directed to high school educators rather than to educators as a whole group.

21st Century Literacy

The essential question answered in the video is what does it mean to be digitally literate in the 21st century? 21st century literacy was defined as moving beyond reading and writing to include visual, aural, and textual elements. It includes rapidly decoding print and non-print text as well as incorporating the ability to speak. The main point communicated is that 21st century literacy requires creative ideas communicated in new ways with interaction with audiences. These ideas of 21st century literacy changes the way students learn and methods used to teach.

Did You Know?

Many statistics were presented in this video. Most statistics could be applied to education, but it mostly is demonstrating the rapid rate of change in our society with digital devices. This video presented many interesting statistics that would make conversations with other educators interesting.

Engage Me!

Through signed held up by students, the definition of 21st century learner is expressed as students who use technology in their personal life and desire to use it in school. They want to learn how to think, analyze, and evaluate. They want to be engaged in the learning process communicating through camera, film, blogs, and wikis. They want to be creative, designing and publishing work. They want to be problem solvers and challenged.

A Vision of K-12 Students Today

This video provides statistics to support the 21st century vision that “students will use engaging technologies in collaborative inquiry-based learning environments with teachers who are willing and able to use technologies power to assist them in transforming knowledge and skills into products, solutions, and new information”. (Nesbit, 2007) Students holding signs communicate they spend more of their time engaging with digital technology than with traditional methods. They use texting, instant messaging and blogging. They ask to be engaged and learn how to think, create, analyze, evaluate, and apply what they know.
Nesbit, B., (2007). A vision of K-12 students today. [Video file]. Retrieved from

Pay Attention - Final Final Cut

If teachers are paying attention, they already know that students are different than ever before with more technology devices available to them than ever before. The main point of this video is to get teachers to reflect and think of how to reach, teach, and engage the students so they can create, consume, and share materials. To engage students, use the internet and technology they already use like their cell phones. Many different content areas can be covered using these technologies. Use them with students.

Teaching the 21st Century Learner

This video is more of a picture walk of students using technology. It presented characterisitics of students today as technological savvy, collaborative, globally connected, creative, and innovative. Then, they present ways teachers need to change their thinking and way of teaching. Teachers need to engage the students, meet them in their learning space, and guide them through the massive amount of information available.

A Vision of Students Today

Students from Kansas State University held up signs providing statistics and information about students’ characteristics today. These messages indicate the methods used by the instructors are not as applicable for these students as were for students in the past. Some of the statistics shown were 26% of class readings were relevant to the student’s life, reading 8 books in a year but 2300 webpages and 1281 Facebook profiles, writing 42 pages for class but 500 pages of email, 5 hours of media and 4 hours of mobile devices. The statistics present effective conversational topics, however, most educators know similar statistics of students today.