4.4a

Collaborate with educators to develop authentic, active learning experiences that foster student agency, deepen content mastery and allow students to demonstrate their competency.

The October 2021 post, 21st Century Skills in the Higher Education Classroom, investigates ways in which post secondary instructors might be more intentional about facilitating relevant, student-centered, active learning experiences in their classrooms. Broadly speaking, 21st Century Skills refer to the knowledge, career skills, and life habits that students need in order to be successful in today’s society.  These include:

  • Learning Skills: Critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity. 
  • Life Skills: Flexibility, initiative, social skills, productivity, leadership 
  • Literacy Skills: Information literacy, media literacy, technology literacy 

In order for higher education instructors to be effective within this new paradigm, they must first be willing to move away from a teacher-directed model wherein the main objective in a course is transferring content knowledge. This post offers some practical suggestions for how higher education instructors can better support and cultivate 21st Century Skills in their classrooms.

Additional evidence in support of this standard can be found in the February, 2021 post, Exemplars of Computational Thinking in Higher Education Classrooms.  Computational Thinking refers to the manner in which students think about patterns, system design, and creative problem solving.  Computational Thinking is a valuable way to promote 21st Century Skill development.  Once again, this post highlights practical examples of Computational Thinking as it has been used in higher education classrooms to serve as inspiration for other educators and learning designers.

Finally, this standard was met through applied learning in a community engagement project completed in spring of 2021.  Though I am not currently a classroom teacher and do not have typical instructional responsibilities in my day to day work, I do constantly convey important information about the WA State teacher certification process to prospective educators, a process which can often feel overwhelming and convoluted to many would-be career changers. For this project, I put together a blueprint for a meaningful, engaging informational session which helps students navigate the first steps of the certification process with confidence and clarity, ultimately helping them discern for themselves if becoming a teacher is the right step for them professionally at this time, and if so, how to make that a reality. I was able to think creatively about how to leverage digital tools to make the session interactive, student-centered, and practically useful to attendees, including providing ways for students to demonstrate their understanding of the material in real time.

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