21st Century Literacies

Teachers Changing the Way We Read, Write, Think, and Live

     When we think about learners we think of the connections and networks that anyone of any age can learn from, well at least I do! We have a long way to go still in order to achieve these connections in a school setting. According to Will Richardson from Learning on the Blog, “We are still about control, not sharing. We are still about distribution, not aggregation. We are still about closed content rather than open. We are static, not fluid." Meaning that schools are more about traditional methods (control) of teaching instead of blogging (sharing) and other methods like so. Also, there is a closed content meaning a set content that must be taught, rather than open concept.

     Students are off creating their own personal networks. While the creation of these learning networks are not happening in schools, the learners learning from what others share on their own networks by creating a Personal Learning Community outside of the classroom.

     When we think of collaboration most people think about group work. There is other ways! Students want to collaborate in a fun way such as on a learning network. Students can take networking to a whole new level if given the opportunity. Very few students actually get this chance though, especially if teachers are not educated in networking themselves. Richardson says when talking about our teachers, and their understanding of technology, "they understand little about what it means to be either in a world that is more globally interconnected." This affects the student when it comes to being networked. If students were able to practice networking in a collaborative environment then they would learn so much. How this affects the students is if not one is teaching them how to use these networks or that the teachers aren't sure how to work something than the students will never have the opportunity to share their knowledge and learn from others knowledge.

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Comment by Cassandra White on May 6, 2013 at 12:37pm

Collaboration is a very important key when thinking about teaching and life skills in general. Students outside of the classroom are definitely finding new ways in creating a learning community outside of the classroom. Knowing this, teachers should be trying to include this idea into the classroom. For example, even in my college classes we as students create Facebook groups to stay in contact with each other and ask any questions that need to be clarified. Teachers that create a classroom environment and assignments that correlate with a personal learning community will ensure learning in the students. You brought up an important point as well that students WANT to collaborate in a fun way- why not give the students what they want? Thanks for sharing! 

Comment by Paula Rubino on May 6, 2013 at 2:18pm

Stephanie, I agree with what Will Richardson is saying when teachers remain traditional in order to stay in control, rather than sharing. Branching out and getting involved in social networking is definitely worth it. Students need to learn to take their education outside of the classroom to help further their knowledge. Social networking is that key to making it happen. It is important in this day in age that people collaborate and share ideas among one another. If students got the proper guidance from teachers they can benefit so much more and get a lot of knowledge out of it. Teachers today don’t realize the positive aspects and don’t take the time out to explore it and use it to their advantage. It is essential that future educators like ourselves promote social networking because it can help us share and gain ideas that can be of great use in our career. It can open so many doors and extend learning outside of the classroom, as well as getting more familiar with technology and what it has to offer.

Comment by Aaron T. Finnessey on May 7, 2013 at 9:14am

Absolutely! The traditional, archaic paradigm of teaching needs to shift away from its "teacher-centeredness" and move toward really engaging students in meaningful learning. With societal values pushing technology and internet use on a daily basis, students are becoming more and more connected. Without a doubt, there is no script for teaching, nor should there be. After all, no two students are the same!

Comment by Jennifer Petrosino on May 7, 2013 at 12:14pm


This is a great blog post that centers on moving away from the traditional concept of a classroom, towards a more "student-centered" classroom, as Aaron mentioned above. By using technology as a way to expand collaboration from the traditional view of "collaboration," which is usually seen in practices such as group work, peer-editing, and group assignments, we can make sure our students are exposed to infinite amounts of learning.

As both you and Aaron mentioned, learning shouldn't be scripted; learning should not be based off "closed content that must be taught." If we commit ourselves to challenging this idea of teaching, we can be sure to make some serious advancements in education-- specifically how our students collaborate with one another.

Thanks for sharing!

Comment by Kimberly Bochicchio on May 7, 2013 at 9:03pm

I agree Stephanie! schools need to steer away from the traditional idea of collaboration and group work. With technology, future students have so many more opportunities available to them and they should be able to take advantage of it! Teachers need to think about what their present days students need to effectively learn for the future. Great Post! 

Comment by Erica Guja on May 7, 2013 at 10:55pm


You clearly put in a lot of time and effort into this post and it shows through its originality, effectiveness and insight. I think the tradition role of the class that you bring up about being "student centered", which Jen touches on, needs to be fading in the educational world as well. I completely agree that there are new learners and students that call for a different type of teaching and assessment. I also agree that teachers need to consider the best and most effective style for teaching, which is changing as the students change through and over time. Great work Steph


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