21st Century Learning By Design: It Does Not Happen By Magic
There is much potential that technology can offer for learning in the 21st century. In this keynote presentation, a number of ideas with reference to the use of technology for 21st century learning will be discussed, to bring about learning anytime, anywhere, with anyone and about anything. However, there are very real problems associated with realizing the potential of technology for 21st century learning in a sustained and effective way.
The problem with technology for learning is that very often, it is too much about the technology and too little about the learning. This presentation will also discuss how technology has often been used as a panacea for the world’s problems in education, and how this approach in itself has become the key problem. Charles Payne, in his book, “So Much Reform, So Little Change”, described efforts in school reform in this manner: “We continue to see attempts to improve systems in ways that are manifestly unlikely to work.” Larry Cuban, in his book, “How teachers taught: Constancy and Change in American classrooms”, said that “Reforms that do not take account of what happens in the classroom have a similar effect to that of a storm on the ocean – the surface is agitated and turbulent, while the ocean floor is calm and serene (if a bit murky)”.
This keynote presentation will make an appeal for policy makers and school leaders to return the focus back to the classroom, to the teacher, and to the student. A professional development framework that supports teachers in 21st century learning design will be presented. Finally a case study will be discussed to provide practised-based examples of how the true potential of technology can be harnessed to bring about sustained reform for 21st century learning.
Mrs Chen Kee Tan is Principal of Crescent Girls’ School – one of only 8 schools in the FutureSchools@Singapore programme in Singapore. Crescent Girls’ School is a Gold Excellence Award winner of the UNESCO-Intel Teach Regional Awards, and a Microsoft World Tour School. It was one of the first schools in Singapore to implement a school-wide one-to-one mobile learning programme, and currently plays a leading role in the use of technology for school-wide transformation of teaching and learning in the 21st century. A passionate educator, Mrs Tan began her career as a Biology teacher in Temasek Junior College, Singapore. After nine years in teaching, she assumed the position of Assistant Director in the Ministry of Education, Singapore, where she was directly involved in conceptualizing and implementing Singapore’s FutureSchools@Singapore programme. She holds a Master of Arts (Education) from Stanford University and assumed her role as Principal of Crescent Girls’ School in 2011. She currently leads the school’s efforts in designing 21st century learning and drives the school’s research programme on the use of technology for 21st century learning design.
Why technology projects in education are prone to fail
While investment in technology for learning continues to increase, studies still do not reveal any significant improvements in learning. Simply providing a computer or technological devices to children does not lead to an improvement in learning. In this keynote presentation we look at which elements must be considered when introducing digital resources to improve learning. Our aim should be to empower the teacher and transform the learning process by shifting from instructor-centered to student-centered learning. In doing so, the teacher no longer simply imparts knowledge to passive students but instead acts a mediator as the students actively participate in their own learning. We often find that what students need in order to learn differs from what teachers are required to teach, as specified by the state-defined curriculum. An important challenge that teachers face is satisfying the needs of their various students and simultaneously keeping up with curriculum requirements. Investigations have shown that aligning the design of learning experiences and the teaching profession with students’ needs creates “synergic scaffolding”. This keynote address will explore how technology interventions can facilitate “synergic scaffolding” and avoid common mistakes made when integrating mobile technology in education.
Miguel Nussbaum is a professor at the Computer Science Department of the School of Engineering of Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. In 2011 he was honored with the Chilean award for innovation in the Education category, and he has been a member of Chile’s Agency for Quality in Education since 2012. He has published more than 70 articles in ISI journals, received over 2,300 citations for his research papers, and successfully guided 17 students to their doctorates as dissertation advisor. His work in instructional design, which integrates the use of technology, is focused on how to change teaching practices in the classroom to make children the protagonists of their learning experience. His scientific developments have been implemented in schools in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the United States, Great Britain, Guatemala, India, Sweden and UK, and have received the support of UNESCO. Mr. Nussbaum also researches school effectiveness and studies the use of educational games and multimedia in the classroom.