As we start new semesters and prepare for our last student teaching placements, we begin to think critically about what our classrooms will look like next year. In this week’s seminar and EDU 448 classes, we began envisioning our ideal 21st century science classrooms.
We started EDU 448, by brainstorming our perceptions of the “important 21st century skills” we hope to teach our students. As future teachers, we aim to prepare students for the lives they’ll lead in the 21st century.
After reviewing our notes from the Costa Kalick article, we engaged in a “what if” dialogue. We took turns verbalizing “what if” statements like, “What if teachers had more time during the day to collaborate with each other?” or “What if all students had equal access to new technology?” As we spoke, we began to think about our visions of the “ideal 21st century classroom”: Would it include technology? How would students and teachers be assessed? What skills would our students leave our care knowing?
These questions continued to marinate as we watched four video clips of reform-based teaching schools: High Tech High, Montpellier High School, Science Leadership Academy, and School of the Future. All four clips offered glimpses at project-based learning. Students at High Tech High pursued rigorous research projects and were assessed on final digital portfolios, and presentations rather than high-stake tests. Montpellier students pursued “service-learning” projects like maintaining a greenhouse that produced greens for salads across the school district. Science Learning Academy students described their teachers as partners, and benefitted from teacher advisors who followed them all four years of high school. School of the Future educators described their goals as teaching kids to be “self-reliant critical thinkers,” rather than students concerned with passing exams. As a cohort we discussed the ideas from each clip and considered how these ideas could be implemented in New York State schools