Transforming Past Lessons for 21st Century Learners

Posted on: July 25, 2011

  1. Locate that special lesson – Find that successful lesson from the past that you wish to transform.
  2. Declare your standards – After all, why are you doing the lesson? What standards in the curriculum are you trying to reinforce?
  3. Incorporate at least two 21st century skills –Research indicates that the three easiest 21st century skills to measure include critical thinking/problem solving, communication, and collaboration. Critical thinking and problem solving can be measured using tests, quizzes, presentations, reports, discussion, and observation. Communication and collaboration can be measured by observation, journals, seminars, and self/peer assessment. 
  4. Develop a fun and engaging title This title should provide a hook for students bringing out items of interest. It should provide relevance while being molded to appeal to the 21st century learner.
  5. Outline the technology you are going to incorporate – Make sure you keep it simple at first!  You do not want the technology to steal the importance of the content standards and 21st century skills being emphasized.
  6. Include an advance organizer in your lesson –  An advance organizer can be anything that assists students in applying their past knowledge and connecting it to the new knowledge that you are trying to teach.
  7. Incorporate formative assessment in the lesson –  It is the formative assessment in a video game that is powerful in engaging students. In a game, playesr understand where they stand and where they need to improve. In the classroom, formative assessment can be regarded as check points before the final lesson is completed. Formative assessments can be check off sheets, a conference, teacher observation, and/or discussion.
  8. The final product or outcome – The final outcome must be able to be assessed using a rubric, support the content standards, and facilitate 21st century skills. It could be large, but may also be small. Technology must be integrated in a useful manner while complementing the curriculum.
  9. Make a timeline for lesson– Perhaps the lesson is one period or spans multiple periods. Create a timeline that includes major points including introduction, pre-organizers, lesson, work activities, formative assessment, tutorials to scaffold learning, and submission of the final work.
  10. Assessment rubric – The assessment rubric should include a measure of content and 21st century skills.  Decide on a percentage for each. Many teachers often use a 70% content and 30% 21st century skills. Remember when grading 21st century skills that the easiest to assess is critical thinking/problem solving, communication, and collaboration. It may reflect individual and group work if appropriate. When working in a group it is effective to have individual component grades in the rubric. The rubric can also contain points of formative assessment and metacognitive activities.

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Indika Rathninda

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