Can you believe it? There have been significant changes in the last 10 years that have upended almost every aspect of our society and across the world. The iPhone (first smartphone), was announced on January 9, 2007, and was later released in the United States on June 29, 2007 (Dolan, 2008). This technological change has ushered in a host of learning changes. There are whiteboards that respond to touch, personal devices that interact with instruction. There are 3D printers. Auto-bots who are programmed to respond and adapt. Each student has access to Google platform, allowing to share and collaborate from anywhere. The question is, were schools preparing students for this change? Are we preparing students for the next advancement in technology and societal needs?
Teaching and learning is what every school is about. Different schools choose different approaches. Granted, some of these choices ultimately prove to be better than others. But, learning and growing is never linear, it always has peaks and valleys. However, constant is the need for the teacher. After all, the teacher is the living curriculum. The focus of that curriculum and abilities of the teacher make a difference.
Schooling in the 21st Century is much different than the schooling of the 19th century. Today, everyone literally has every bit of factual knowledge at their fingertips. The key is, how to discern fact from fiction, filter the noise to something useful, and how to create something with it, and how do I do this in a way that loves God and others.
According to research, in the 21st Century and beyond, students need the following skills (source: P21 Framework for 21st Century Learning.):
- Creativity and Innovation
- Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
As the technology development continues to churn on, the learners of today and adults of tomorrow must learn the skills needed to adapt and innovate so they are ready for the next unknown advancement. Thus, when thinking of the pedagogy (the method of teaching and learning), schools need to consider the contemporary and future needs of students (International Business, 2018). Interestingly, if we look at the 21st century needs, those were what we needed in the Christian faith all along.
God has designed the universe and us to meet His purpose. These same skills that are needed for productivity in society are needed in the Church:
- We need to collaborate with others in order to glorify God and fulfill our purpose (1 Corinthians 12:12-31).
- We need to communicate clearly and honestly (Ephesians 4:29).
- We need to be critical thinkers and make wise choices when problem solving (Romans 12:2).
- We need to be innovative (Mark 2:21-22).
Therefore, as a Christian educator, it is important that our students develop these skills in order to be change makers in whatever vocation they choose; but, they need 21st century skills to fulfill love God, others, and share the gospel of Jesus Christ. Thus, teachers need to have 21st century skills and the proper focus in order to develop 21st century students.
Dolan, Brian. (2008) “Timeline of Apple “iPhone” Rumors (1999–Present)”. Archived from the original on April 15, 2008. Retrieved November 4, 2018.
P21: Framework for 21st Century Learning. retrieved November 6, 2018 fromhttp://www.p21.org/storage/documents/docs/P21_framework_0816.pdf
International Business. (2018). 21st Century and Life-Long Learning. Retrieved, November 7, 2018 from https://www.uscib.org/new-book-explores-approaches-to-lifelong-learning-for-the-21st-century/