21st Century Learning

Our community of 21st century learning: Innovating deeper learning pathways in rural Saskatchewan. 

The focus of this session was, “Are we preparing our students for the future?” The presenters Gwen Keith and Lynn Colquhon spoke about how educators can implement and achieve deeper learning for children in elementary schools, that will make them survive and thrive in the real world.

Ms. Keith started out the session by laying the foundation with six competencies: character, citizenship, collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking. She stated that we cannot prepare students for the past but the future and this can be achieved through “hatching these six eggs,” as stated by Ms. Keith.

Next she went on to explain how these eggs were hatched. This was done through networking and research partners who were also looking into achieving deeper learning pathways for kids in an ever changing world.

This lead into the main part of the session where Ms. Colquhon introduced the NPDL (New pedagogies in Deep Learning)the tool they are using to progress the classroom and how these six competencies were to be achieved. On this tool educators have access to rubrics and templates that will aid them on the pathway to innovating deeper learning. She explained that through the program one can have an access to a host of tools, and is available for people who have limited. Self regulation was stated as the first and foremost area for students to be able to engage fully in the deeper learning experience and is defined as the ability to manage your own abilities behaviours and intentions. This was also expressed as an important aspect for teachers in the steps and pathway for achieving deeper learning. By having self regulated teachers and students will create an open classroom. In the deep learning tool there is a rubric for self regulation to assist teachers and administrators.

The last few points were focused on having student directed learning and choice in the classroom. In this section we were shown a video of what students had to say about the new learning strategies. Some key points stated by the students were that through this new system they were able to learn at their own pace, they are less frustrated and there is a sense of freedom in your learning.

During this session I felt as if I was witnessing change occurring. It was pointed out that their were influential people in the education community in Saskatchewan sitting in the session. I believe that the ideas presented are realistic and achievable and I hope that they are taken further beyond the doors of the session room. I believe that it is time for change in the education system and this is a step in the right direction. Children are the future so teachers are essentially constructing it in their classrooms. By creating a space where critical learning can occur it makes it so that we have a bright future ahead of us.

By: REHKA WHITTAKER

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