Pilot Program Achieving Its Goals by Using 21st Century Teaching, Learning Strategies
Iwase, Jan, Honolulu Star - Advertiser
We are more than a decade into the 21st century, and much has been written and discussed about 21st century teaching and learning and the integration of technology and instruction.
This year, through funding from a U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity grant, Hale Kula Elementary School had an opportunity to pilot a Blended Learning program for fourth- and fifth-graders, where students spend half of the week in face-to-face learning and the other half accessing their curriculum and assignments online, at home.
This program is successfully demonstrating the power of engaging students in their own learning through 21st century teaching and learning strategies.
Rather than purchasing an online program where students complete a series of lessons, we opted to have a teacher-created, project-based curriculum with rigorous expectations.
Our teachers spent many long hours with the course designer to ensure that the lessons, assignments and instructions were understandable and challenging to students.
The result is a curriculum that engages students and addresses the "3 Rs" -- rigor, relevance and relationships -- as well as the "4 Cs" of 21st-century learning: collaborating, communicating, critical thinking and creating.
Most classrooms are teacher-driven. Students are expected to follow the procedures established by the teacher as a means of managing the classroom. Classes are taught in blocks of time, lessons are based on a common set of standards, students are given their assignments, and grades are distributed based on rubrics and quality of work.
Some of us thrived in this system, but the traditional teacher-driven curriculum does not work for many of today's students.
Our successful Blended Learning students are self-directed. When given the opportunity to decide how to prioritize and complete their assignments for the day, students learn organizational and time-management skills. When students can choose their own topic as part of their interdisciplinary unit study, they are motivated to research to answer their own questions. …