NB3 21C – Why I Embrace the Shift

originally posted at: http://wp.me/p12hAn-5M

As a parent I have hopes and dreams for my children.  I want to see them exploring the world with open eyes. I want them to be literate and numerate enough to pursue any passion they discover, to follow any path that looks inviting and to contribute to whatever society they chose to live in. I want them to be optimistic, but at the same time skeptical. I want them to be creative, communicative, collaborative and compassionate. Our education system as it has operated in the 9 years I’ve been involved has given them some of this – some days, some projects, some experiences, some teachers, sometimes – but not enough.  I want more.

Two years ago I read this post by David Warlick and I began a blog post of my own (unfinished until now) with the title “Maybe Someday”.  The passage that resonated with me was this:

“Conservatism and conformity necessitate control, and the spirit and the affect of Web 2.0 are to democratize control and make it personal.  When teachers are released from district managed portals, and allowed to shape their own personal learning networks, when they are granted a voice and ear to a global conversation about education, when students begin to take a more active role in affecting the “what” and “how” of their own learning, then education changes, and the barriers between the “classroom” and “world” start to disappear.”

I knew a few educators who were working in this way – making global connections, using web tools, helping students develop their own PLNs (personal learning networks), but I wasn’t optimistic that my children would benefit from this personal approach to learning. Time passed, and my blogging efforts gave way to other things.

And then, a spark of hope.  Just over a year ago I was invited to participate in the N.B. Department of Education’s 21st Century Learning Advisory Committee.  The mandate of this Committee is to assist the Department in developing 21C competencies and to review research and consultation findings with the goal of shifting our system to a model of 21C learning.

I have witnessed such great openness to new ideas by the professionals involved in the Committee and the officials at the Department.  The NB3 21C Consultation Document outlines a number of shift elements that will help us move our system from pockets of 21C learning to systemwide innovation and exploration.

I no longer say “maybe someday” because that day is here NOW and it is exciting to be a part of.

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