This article provides an introduction to how teachers can successfully incorporate computers as teaching tools in their classroom. 21st C. students are often well-versed in this technology, and consider computers as necessary to learning as textbooks, notebooks, and pens. The same is not always true for their teachers. This resource points out several useful tools and instructions that can help teachers view computers not as a threat, but as an ally in the classroom.
We recently spoke with Anthony Salcito, Vice President of Worldwide Public Sector Education at Microsoft Corporation, at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona 2013. Salcito works with education institutions to embrace technology to optimize learning environments and student achievement.
What challenges does fomenting innovation in schools currently face?
At the moment, youth unemployment in some European Union member states exceeds 50%. The preparation of young people for the labor market has to be improved, especially since companies hire their workforce primarily on the basis of skills. Collaboration, communication, and leadership skills should be at the center of schools’ education.
21st-century learning should be competency based, because becoming prepared for life and work is crucial, more important than content knowledge alone. The problem is that pupils today are awarded grades based on content knowledge. They often progress to the next level despite low grades in certain subject areas, which actually signals a lack of foundational knowledge they’ll need in the future.
Proper assessment should therefore not be bound to specific timing, but to understanding—that’s the true measure of achievement. Furthermore, it should take into account the learning of concepts and overall progress, instead of focusing solely on content results.
The research project Assessment and Teaching of 21st-Century Skills (ATC21S) proposes ways of assessing 21st-century skills and encourages teaching and adopting those skills in the classroom. Ultimately, the best results are achieved when learning is personalized.
What role should teachers play in this transformation?
The role of teachers is essential, but they need training and support in order to move toward increasingly teaching skills and competencies. Teachers should listen more, and provide individual assessment and mentoring to their pupils. To this end, various different resources are available, such as “Education Competencies”, designed to help educators and administrators.
Coming back to the topic of assessment, we are not welcoming educators and curriculum developers to innovate if we do not change the way we assess what learners know and what they are supposed to know. Global assessment models such as PISA should be improved in such a way that they incorporate new trends currently taking place in formal and especially informal learning.
Who would you say are the innovators in the education field?
Innovators in the education field are mainly individuals. Innovative teachers who have created their own educational resources often do not want to share their content; they don’t think about scalability and believe that this content only works for them. It’s crucial to show them how they can be examples for others. Microsoft has therefore created a network of innovative teachers and a network of innovative schools.
I would also like to briefly mention our entrepreneurship program for young people. The Youth Spark Hub is an online space to explore and access all the Microsoft programs and resources to help youth imagine and realize their full potential.
How do we transform innovative teaching with scalability?
I recommend the scalability toolkit developed by Christopher J. Dede, Professor of Learning Technologies at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. Innovation in education is a global matter, and everything teachers do has a directly global dimension.
eLearning Papers is currently welcoming submissions which address the challenges and future of Massive Open Online Courses, a trend in education that has skyrocketed since 2008. Issue 33, MOOCs and Beyond, seeks to both generate debate, and coalesce a variety of critical perspectives into a fruitful body of research.
Educators today are confronted with several questions regarding MOOCs. These include: What role do they play in the undergraduate degree system? In particular, what threat do they pose to higher education as it currently operates? Also, what does the path towards proper accreditation for these classes look like?
On a broader level, MOOCs offer another site from which to explore the intersection between technology and pedagogy, in the effort to improve our understanding of how to support learning. How do MOOCs differ from face-to-face, or even on-line closed courses? What is particular about the MOOC learning experience, and what does that teach us?
Contributors are invited to present theoretical or empirical research, specifically regarding the following topics:
- Experiences speaking to the design, implementation or assessment of a MOOC.
- The impact of MOOCs within Higher Education.
- Learning analytics and MOOCs.
- Peer-to-peer learning and MOOCs.
- Analyses of the impact and reach of MOOCs – considering course completion, global recognition.
The guest editor for this edition is Yishay Mor.
March 25th, 2013. Extended Deadline: April 8th, 2013.
Click here to read the complete Call for Papers.
For further information and to submit your article, please contact the Laia Canals, the current chief editor, at editorialteam[at]elearningeuropa.info.
Innovators in the education field are mainly individuals. Innovative teachers who created their own educational resources often do not want to share their content; they don’t think about scalability and believe that this content only works for them. It’s crucial to show them how they can be examples for others. Microsoft has therefore created a network of innovative teachers and a network of innovative schools.
The ultimate goal of the project is to move from small marginal pilot projects to implementing new forms of assessment within a coherent teaching and learning system. This paper focuses on the reform needed in school and government systems to achieve this shift.
This paper looks at innovative ways to improve the development of 21st-century skills in students both individually and in groups, considering both formal and informal learning opportunities.
This paper identifies and analyzes various technological problems in computer-based assessment of 21st-century skills, with suggested solutions.
This paper reviews the contribution of new information-communication technologies to the advancement of educational assessment. Improvements can be described in terms of precision in detecting the actual values of the observed variables, efficiency in collecting and processing information, and speed and frequency of feedback given for the participants and stakeholders. It reviews previous research and development in two ways, describing the main tendencies in four continents (Asia, Australia, Europe and the US) and summarizing research on how technology advances assessment in some crucial dimensions (assessment of established constructs, extension of assessment domains, assessment of new constructs and in dynamic situations).
As there is a great variety of applications of assessment in education, each one requiring different technological solutions, the paper classifies assessment domains, purposes and contexts and identifies the technological needs and solutions for each. The paper reviews the contribution of technology to the advancement of the entire educational evaluation process from authoring and automatic generation and storing items through delivery methods (Internet-based, local server, removable media, mini-computer labs) and forms of task presentation made possible with technology to response capture, scoring and automated feedback and reporting.
The paper also reviews some special cases for which new technologies have enabled significant advances (e.g. assessments of students with special educational needs, assessment of collaborative skills and group achievement) and discusses the validity issues raised by the application of the new technolgies (e.g. factors influencing achievements when working with technological tools, the question of transferability of skills measured in a virtual environment).
Finally, the paper identifies areas where further research and development is needed (migration strategies, security, availability, accessibility, comparability, framework and instrument compliance) and lists themes for research projects feasible in the Assessment and Teaching of 21st Century Skills project.
This paper outlines high-priority 21st-century skills, with examples of how they apply to real-world situations. It also delves into examples of assessment tasks and scoring rubrics that would provide evidence of students’ levels of mastery.
This paper identifies and addresses problems inherent in assessing 21st-century skills, both in tests and in the classroom, focusing particularly on computer-enabled and large-scale assessment.