Digital skills for teachers in the 21st century
In 1984, Madonna coined the phrase “we are living in a material world” with her hit song Material Girl. Fast-forward 30+ years and it appears that all we need to do is replace “material” with “digital”. Indeed, we are in the midst of the digital age. It seems like everywhere you look things are becoming increasingly…well, digital. Phones, entertainment, home security, refrigerators, heck even our personal assistants are becoming digital thanks to Amazon’s Alexa – and it continues to grow with each passing day. In conjunction with these changes to a more digital way of life, is an increasing need and demand for digital skills.
At the speed in which these technological advances are occurring, you may be wondering to yourself “How can I keep up with all of this?” If this is you, the good thing is you’re not alone. The bad thing is technology won’t be going away anytime soon. Fortunately, there are people out in the world and in our local educational communities with a wide variety of expertise who are willing to share what they know.
One area where technology is becoming deeply integrated and embedded is in education. I can remember in grade school when we used to make special trips to the library to look things up in the encyclopedias, and learning about other countries and cultures through conversations with foreign exchange students. Today, teachers have access to video calls on an iPad or have a pair of virtual reality glasses to allow their students to learn, explore, and experience what the rest of the world has to offer. Undoubtedly, the way that students learn and obtain knowledge has changed drastically since I was in school in the early 2000’s and even more so over the past 50 years. With the proliferation of laptops, tablets and smartphones where data is constantly at our fingertips, the focus in education has shifted away from memorizing facts and figures to teaching students 21st century skills (communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking), project-based learning, and digital literacy.
In the pursuit of preparing current and future generations with the skills and knowledge needed to become successful in the world of today and tomorrow, we must also ensure that educators are equipped for this ever-evolving challenge.
What’s in store for you…
Over the next EIGHT months, I will be identifying digital skills which educators should possess[i] in order to be successful, as well as potential resources, and local examples of how your fellow South East Education Cooperative school districts are engaging in each of these skills.
SHARE your Story with Us!
Below is the schedule of digital skills that will be addressed each month (see image below for specific resources). If you, or someone you know, is using technology effectively to engage in any of these skills, we want to connect with you and share your story! Email me at Chris.Thompson@k12.nd.us with the subject line “Digital Skills” and I will reach out and discuss how we can incorporate your learnings, best practices, tips and/or tricks into a future article!
- October: Use blogs and wikis to create participatory spaces for students
- November: Create digital quizzes
- December: Record and edit audio clips & Create interactive content
- January: Curate, organize, and share digital resources
- February: Create engaging presentations
- March: Create infographics and posters
- April: Create digital portfolios
- May: Create Professional Learning Networks, connect, discover new content, and grow professionally.
[i] According to EducatorsTechnology.com