Last night I spoke on behalf of the team to 8th grade parents in regards to our charge this year to 1) develop 21st century skills in our students and 2) create school work published for an audience beyond the teacher, an audience greater than one.
As English teacher, Steve Olivo wrote on his blog today: “Many people seemed supportive, but just as many seemed uneasy with the amount of time students would be online and with the potential problems that could result.” Indeed there are a number of risks associated with digital work, from the long-time dilemma in academia surrounding plagiarism, to the more recently exposed challenges of combating “cyber-bullying.”
Even though developing 21st century skills in our students is not something mandated and tested by MCAS, they are something that without a doubt will be critical to possess in the present and future workforce of America and the world. Students who begin to develop these skills when there minds are ripe to learn, adapt, and create new connections between learned material and cutting edge tools will be those most adept to succeed during and beyond their academic years.
As these students develop these new skills and face the accompanying challenges, they can be assured and comforted by the fact that they are not going it alone, and that the inclusion of their teachers in the process will only widen the safety net and comfort-zone needed to overcome the apprehensions and learn.
Parents and students are encouraged to email, phone, or meet with me and the rest of our team with questions and concerns. I will also be personally continue to develop this site, and provide students with resources that will help them succeed in the 21st century and cope with the obstacles and challenges that arise along with it.