21st- Century environment mandates that learners should imbibe skill sets which equip them to survive in tech savvy, media inundated competitive world. 21st century learning technologies and networking tools are opportunities to be exploited and not things to be resisted. It is my belief that technology, pedagogy and content must be integrated for effective and meaningful classroom transactions.
Progressive schools across the world are working towards creating 21st Century Learning Environments by creating suitable physical spaces, technological systems and human relationships.
The schools are now devoting themselves beyond the physical and mental fitness and have begun to attend to the emotional and social learning needs of the students. Schools engage students in the group projects which not only promote collaborative learning but also enhance the other facets of 21st Century Learning Design.
- knowledge construction
- real-world problem-solving and innovation
- the use of ICT for learning
- skilled communication
The development of guidelines for curriculum, content and assessment to create 21st Century Environments is undoubtedly a challenging task. As Educators, we always place great value on individualization. Justifiably, we refuse to dictate curriculum because good curriculum must be individually appropriate to the needs and interests of the children in a programme. Allowing students to own and drive their learning and engaging them in challenges provides appropriate mental stimulus that enables next-level thinking for our students with the role of the teachers morphing into more of a caring guide than ‘owner’ of knowledge.
‘Town ship of the Future’, an interdisciplinary project at Delhi Public School GHaziabad has been a real life problem of designing a sustainable township focussing on four key aspects Energy, space, water and waste management.
The jigsaw technique was adopted by the facilitators that divided the class into different specialised groups for this inter – disciplinary project. The technique helped the students to work on small problems that they later collated into a final outcome.
The students defined their own roles and responsibilities within their group. The part of the project was carried out during winter break, wherein the students and teachers interacted and collaborated through online tools.
The various steps in the project were-
* interviewing the locals in their own region,
* identifying the problems faced due to various aspects of a township ignored by builders while planning and constructing the same.
* listing the problems, finding innovative solutions by research and using various technical tools and applications like quick survey, 3-D builder, windows movie maker, office mix etc.
* Office 365 enabled the students to use various online tools to collaborate.
* The students were assessed on the skills like research skills, team building, effective communication, resource management etc.
What are the observations-
The project was a huge success as interestingly the various groups that the students were divided into defined their own parameters of success instead of conforming to set standard set by the facilitator or school. The students were involved in multiple modes of communication through emails, whatsapp, onedrive sharing etc. within the group, with other groups, teachers, project coordinator and project leaders, thereby developing their communication techniques.
We came to an understanding that curricular goals should be skill oriented rather than knowledge oriented and the assessment should target at that. Implementing this project helped us in this endeavour and enabled the students to responsibly make judicious decisions.
Please visit the project outcomes-