Communicative and Collaborative Tools in the Classroom

The idea of “21st century learning” and “21st century teaching” has manifested itself across the world.  The most critical aspect of this educational style is to utilize communication and collaboration tools in the classroom.  These tools have the power to transform education in numerous ways.

Communication and collaboration allow teachers and students to effectively work and share ideas outside of the classroom.  This allows students to work in a more comfortable environment where they feel less stress about incorrectly answering a question in front of their peers.

Improved communication and collaboration also help the teacher determine where each student stands, on specific concepts.  This helps foster a more individualized environment in the classroom, and allows students to get the appropriate help they need to succeed.

Another important aspect these 21st century tools carry with them is the opportunity for parents to gain insight on what their child is learning.  With tools such as Google Classroom, and all the applications incorporated within it, parents are able to keep tabs on their child’s performance inside of the classroom, while staying up to date on the latest lessons, projects, homework, and other various assignments.  Parents can play a very influential role in their child’s life.  The more aware they are, the more they can help their child with the concepts they struggle with, improving the child’s overall performance.

Another example of a technology I can see myself employing is a classroom-based blog.  I would keep the prompts simple for the students to understand and respond to, and they would reflect on the lesson taught that week in class.  This allows students to share their opinions about the concepts, helping me get a better understanding of what went well and what did not, as well as how comfortable each student was with the specific topic.  These blogs will also be available for parents to view, allowing them to be in-sync with that which their child is learning.

21st century communicative and collaborative tools have the ability to re-invent and improve learning and teaching world-wide.  By taking a more individualized approach, teachers are able to reach out to the students needing it.  These tools also allow parents to be more involved in their child’s education, giving the child another source of help if needed.  This technology has great potential to re-shape present-day and future classrooms.

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The Four Cs of 21st Century Learning

America’s system of education is outdated and does not effectively prepare students for a successful, well-rounded future in education.  Schools and other learning programs across Capture[1]America are still preoccupied with teaching students about the 3 “R”s (reading, writing, arithmetic), when 21st century learning is stressing the Four Cs — Collaboration, Communication, Creativity, and Critical Thinking.  The Four Cs are extremely important in both the learning process and the teaching process.

Teachers need to take it upon themselves and their colleagues to effectively transform their classrooms into 21st century learning classrooms.  This includes appropriate communication and collaboration with each other in order to improve upon teaching styles.  Teachers should also communicate with each other to take the standards set forth by the Common Core and find ways to go improve and expand upon them.  This involves a great deal of critical thinking as well as creativity.

Besides incorporating the Four Cs in the classroom, teachers need to diversify students’ knowledge to help them grow into better 21st century learners.  This includes teaching them to be skilled in subject areas such as science, social studies, geography, and foreign languages.

Above all, teachers need to recognize their responsibility as role models to their students in the classroom.  By demonstrating these competencies, students will have an easier time successfully learning the 21st century skills.