Tagged “21st Century Skills”

Klea Scharberg

Ask Dr. Judy Willis Webinar: Strengthening the Brain's Executive Functions

Join renowned author, neurologist, and teacher Judy Willis for an exciting free webinar on strategies to promote executive functions and goal-directed behaviors, especially critical during the school years when this highest cognitive system undergoes its most profound changes.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011, 3:00 p.m. EDT
Register now!

The last part of the human brain to "mature" through pruning and myelination is the prefrontal cortex, the seat of executive function such as judgment, critical analysis, prioritizing, deduction, induction, imagination, communication, reflective (versus reactive) emotional control, and goal development, planning, and perseverance. These executive functions are needed now and will be even more critical for the best job opportunities and creative problem solving in the 21st century as globalization and technology continue to rapidly change the skill sets needed by the students who will lead us in the coming decades.

Connect with Willis on ASCD EDge and on her website, RADTeach.com. Watch her archived webinars below:

Explore forthcoming and archived ASCD webinars.

Klea Scharberg

College, Career, and Citizenship Readiness Roundup

The current education climate encourages a tremendous amount of time and energy be spent on preparing students to take exams. But does that strategy actually ensure students are prepared for college, career, and citizenship? We've seen the research and heard the debate among teachers, education media, ASCD's own Educational Leadership magazine, and even the White House.

Connecting learning today with students’ futures engages and prepares them to take on the challenges and opportunities of tomorrow. In March, we looked what it means for students to be ready and able for their complex and demanding futures.

Learn about Quest Early College High School, winner of the 2011 Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award. Located in Humble, Tex., Quest prepares a very diverse student population for the next phases of their lives by creating a learning environment that allows students to practice taking college courses, work at businesses in their community, and experience the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.

Listen to the Whole Child Podcast with Kim Klepcyk, principal at Quest Early College High School; Denise McLean, a teacher and former student at Quest; and Micaela Casales, a current student at Quest, as they discuss strategies for preparing students for college, careers, and citizenship.

Hear another viewpoint on what it means to be college- and career-ready and the value of citizenship skills in a conversation between Molly McCloskey, managing director of Whole Child Programs at ASCD and host of the Whole Child Podcast, and Jay Mathews, education columnist for The Washington Post and author. Mathews also answers audience questions on a range of topics including the importance of teacher-student relationships, KIPP charter schools, and the responsibility of education journalists.

Consider if U.S. schools are emphasizing the knowledge and skills that students need for a global future with author Yong Zhao. Do you think we need to reform education to maintain leadership in a rapidly changing world?

Empower students to understand their rights, responsibilities, capabilities, and opportunities in their educational and civic experiences today as well as in the future.

Practice skills such as inquiry, critical thinking, collaboration, public presentation, and reflection that students will use as adults through problem-based learning in the classroom.

Take action about the need for college- and career-readiness standards that include proficiency in reading, math, science, social science, the arts, civics, foreign language, health education and physical education, technology, and all other core academic subjects. Use ASCD's legislative agenda and the the Making the Case for Educating the Whole Child tool to guide discussions and decision making in your states and communities.

Find resources to help prepare young people for their futures from whole child partners the America's Promise Alliance, Educators for Social Responsibility, the Forum for Education and Democracy, and the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

In late March, ASCD held its 2011 Annual Conference in San Francisco, where sessions engaged participants in dynamic, diverse dialogues addressing the challenges of learning, teaching, and leading, including:

What do you think is critical to preparing young people for the complex futures that lie ahead?

ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Moving Toward Mobile: Using Technology to Become Globally Connected

Post submitted by Whole Child Blogger Tymeesa Rutledge

Moving Toward Mobile - 2011 ASCD Annual Conference

Acalanes Union High School District in Lafayette, Calif., allows students to use mobile technology in traditional courses like biology and English. Students are able to watch YouTube videos about immigration reform or listen to NPR podcasts discussing the political uprising in Egypt because the district passed a bond, Measure E, which allows schools to "replace and update instructional technology and create dedicated 10-year technology fund to keep classrooms up to date."

In their session "Moving Toward Mobile: iPads, iPod Touches, E-Readers, and More," Cheryl Davis and John Nickerson led a presentation about how their district incorporated technology like iPads—"the first tablet computer"—and iPod Touches into the classrooms of high schools like Miramonte, Las Lamos, and Acalanes, and how the technology matches their mission as a district.

"[We want] students to be able to use today's tools in learning," said Cheryl Davis to an engaged crowd of onlookers.

Some audience members voiced concern about students using mobile devices to engage in personal activities like social networks or checking personal e-mails during class time. Nickerson gave a response that made audience members laugh.

"If we believe that they engaged for the 50 minutes without iPads ..." Nickerson didn't finish the statement because many of the audience members were laughing.

Technology may be one way of grasping the attention of high school students who may use mobile devices outside the classroom. Through funding, the high schools in the district have iPod Touch and iPad learning labs. Students can use iTunes U, an Apple program that allows students to watch free educational movies, lectures, and more with just the touch of the screen. But the students aren't the only ones using the new technology. The staff and teachers are using mobile devices more efficiently and effectively. For example, the teachers in the Acalanes district have a summer institute in which they learn how to use the devices their students are using. The teachers are encouraged to take the devices home and develop ways to incorporate the use of technology into their curriculum.

"Put technology into student hands," said a technology specialist to presenter Cheryl Davis.

Wendy Steward, of Bassett Unified School District in San Gabriel Valley, Calif., believes that students should use technology in classrooms.

"I think kids will become more engaged," said Steward when discussing why classrooms should embrace technology. "Kids are already using their phones in class; [they] might as well use it toward [education in] the classroom."

"[Students are] already plugged in; we [teachers] need to catch up. We need to meet them where they are," said Judith Boyle of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.


Podcast Whole Child Podcast

Ready and Able: College, Career, and Citizenship in the 21st Century

Download Podcast Now [Right-Click to Save]

The demands of meeting all district, state, and national requirements often seem to leave no time for preparing students for anything else. Yet teaching solely to the test will leave students ill-equipped for college, careers, and citizenship. Recorded live at ASCD's Annual Conference on March 26, this episode of the Whole Child Podcast features an engaging conversation about powerfully preparing young people for the demands of the future.

You'll hear from Kim Klepcyk, principal at Quest Early College High School; Denise McLean, a teacher and former student at Quest; and Micaela Casales, a current student at Quest, as they discuss strategies for preparing students for college, careers, and citizenship. Quest Early College High School is the recipient of the 2011 Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award.

What do you think is critical to preparing young people for the complex futures that lie ahead?

Download a conversation on this topic with Washington Post education reporter Jay Mathews.

ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Maximizing 1:1 Computing in the Classroom

Post submitted by Whole Child Blogger Hunter Holcombe

Try telling Gary Stager that there's not enough money in your school budget for personal laptops, and brace yourself for an education. Given just a few minutes, he can convince most that to deny a child her own computer is tantamount to bad education.

With more than 28 years in the field, Stager has worked in schools throughout the world, helping them capitalize on the use of laptops in and out of the classroom.

In his morning session, "Twenty Lessons from Twenty Years of 1:1 Computing in Schools," Stager shared 20 of the most critical lessons he learned by witnessing how children learn through computers. One of the most memorable: "The laptops go home." Stager explained that, when students are given the responsibility of keeping their own laptops with them at all times, their computer-based learning increases considerably as they continue to work on projects at home in their free time.

This practice is also financially advantageous because of a greater risk of laptops being stolen from the school after hours than being damaged by students. In addition, letting students personalize their own laptops by decorating them gives them a greater interest in using the computer, just like any personalized backpack or binder.

One of the more controversial claims Stager asserted was that there is no benefit to giving teachers laptops before students receive them. He says that it's more important that the teacher actively witnesses how the individual students interact with and learn from their own computers. What the teacher personally understands about the workings of the computer is much less important.

Sprinkled throughout the session, Stager relayed a number of anecdotes from his time in the field consulting with schools to illustrate his points. He played a video of a 5-year-old in an underperforming Australian school who was interested only in being a ballerina. By using a basic computer program that controlled motorized LEGO structures, she was able to build and simulate a dancer’s pirouette.

On his personal website, Stager offers up a wide range of blog posts, recommendations, and advice for incorporating 1:1 laptop programs and maximizing those already running. Information relevant to Stager's presentation can be found at www.stager.org/ascd.

Below is his list of 20 lessons:

  1. Determine who has agency.
  2. What type of laptop school are you?
  3. Set high expectations.
  4. The laptops go home.
  5. Behave as if the laptops are personal computers.
  6. Kids need real multimedia portable computers.
  7. Laptops make good teachers better.
  8. The network is not the computer.
  9. Every child's laptop is a studio, laboratory, publishing house.
  10. 1:1 is cost-effective; nobody washes a rental car.
  11. Every laptop needs open-ended creativity software, but less is more if fluency is the goal.
  12. Seize the impossible.
  13. That's what it looks like if students have the time.
  14. Entire cohorts of students need to get the laptops at once.
  15. Zero benefit in giving laptops to teachers first.
  16. Professional development must be focused on benefiting learners.
  17. Work with the living and do no harm.
  18. You need sustainable leadership and vision.
  19. Expect everything to change.
  20. We are done arguing.


Klea Scharberg

Watch and Learn from Home

ASCD will live stream select sessions from the 2011 Annual Conference and Exhibit Show in San Francisco. All times indicated are Pacific Time.

You can view all livestream sessions on ASCD EDge. To participate in live chat during the sessions, you must log in to EDge or sign up for a free EDge account if you don't have one. You can also view the sessions on Android and Blackberry mobile devices. You will not be able to watch the livestream on the iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch.

Interactive sessions have an online moderator to guide the discussion. Onsite and virtual participants can ask questions, add comments, or reply to comments on the session's chat wall. You can also download presenter resources from the session's livestream page.

Saturday, March 26

8:00 a.m.–9:30 a.m., PT

Heidi Hayes Jacobs - Curriculum 21: Essential Education for a Changing World (interactive)
We do not need reform—we need new forms for teaching and learning. What year is your school preparing your learners for: 1990 or 2025? In this provocative and highly practical session, based on the presenter's ASCD book of the same name, the presenter will lay out steps for transforming your school into a contemporary learning environment.

3:30–5:00 p.m., PT

Harvey Silver - The Strategic Teacher (interactive)
Bringing together 35 years of research on effective instruction and 30 years of experience in helping schools address student diversity, the session will provide educators with the tools needed to help all students meet today's rigorous standards.

5:15 p.m.–6:15 p.m., PT

Bob Sullo – The Motivated Student: Five Strategies to Inspire
Successful teaching requires you to create an environment that fosters academic success by engaging and inspiring students rather than trying to control them. In this session, learn how to manage your classroom effectively, and identify five strategies that will inspire academic achievement and unlock your students' natural enthusiasm for learning.

Sunday, March 27

8:00 a.m.–9:30 a.m., PT

Urban Education Panel
In this session, hear from three distinguished principals who are making a difference in the lives of urban high school students: Linda Nathan, founding headmaster, Boston Arts Academy (Mass.); Baruti Kafele, principal, Newark Tech (N.J.); and Tim King, founder and president, Urban Prep Academies (Ill.).

10 a.m.–11:30 a.m., PT

Peter Reynolds – Make Your Mark, and See Where It Takes You (General Session)
Creativity champ Peter H. Reynolds is a New York Times best-selling author and illustrator and founder of FableVision Learning, creating technology tools to inspire young writers, artists, and thinkers. Join Peter as he shares his uplifting message, and hear more about how you can inspire learners through his philosophy and vision. (This session will not be archived.)

1:15 p.m.–2:45 p.m., PT

Doug Fisher and Nancy Frey - Responding When Students Don't Get It (interactive)
How teachers respond to an incorrect answer significantly influences students' eventual understanding. Resolving errors requires an interaction between students and teachers, with the goal of ensuring that students experience success. Participants will explore questions to check for understanding, prompts for cognitive and metacognitive processes, cues to shift attention, and direct explanations and modeling.

Monday, March 28

8:00 a.m.–9:30 a.m., PT

Geoffrey Fletcher - From Islands of Excellence with Technology to Every Classroom: An Optimist's Perspective
A few schools and districts have been able to garner the right mix of hardware, bandwidth, tech support, and professional development to change instruction, truly engage students, and increase student achievement. This session will look what is driving change in the purchase and distribution of content and how this missing link will be a major catalyst to changing our schools.

10:00 a.m.–11:45 a.m., PT

S. Lawrence Lightfoot – The Third Chapter: Adventure-Passion-Risk (General Session)
In this presentation, author and philosopher Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot will envision a much-needed cultural shift in our attitudes toward youth and age—a need based on simple demographics. She will examine the challenges educators face in their search for meaningfulness and purposefulness after their careers have ended. (This session will not be archived.)

12:15 p.m.–2:15 p.m., PT

Betty Garner – Getting to "Got It!": Helping Struggling Students Learn How to Learn
Why do some students get it while some don't? This session will help educators learn how to help students develop cognitive structures needed to process information for meaning, such as finding patterns, formulating predictable rules, and abstracting generalizable principles that transfer and apply learning.

What sessions will you be watching?


Klea Scharberg

Bold Actions for Complex Challenges

More than a decade into the 21st century, we continue to face education challenges from the last century. To move forward, we must develop knowledgeable learners equipped with the necessary academic, technological, social, and economic skills to compete in the global community. This weekend, the ASCD 2011 Annual Conference in San Francisco, Calif., will engage participants in dynamic, diverse dialogues that lead to bold actions to address the challenges of learning, teaching, and leading.

With nearly 500 sessions to choose from, we organized conference sessions around specific strands that highlight important areas in education. Each of the sessions relates to one of the following three strands:

  • Dynamic Challenges: Educational challenges are growing and changing in both speed and complexity. Learning, teaching, and leading are affected at every educational level as educators seek feasible, adaptable, and sustainable solutions that also address the whole child.
  • Powerful Conversations: Learners and leaders participate in and organize ongoing and diverse conversations about education challenges, seeking solutions to move our systems forward.
  • Bold Actions: Successful educators are open to change and swift to adapt. Bold, significant actions challenge the status quo of learning, teaching, and leading.

Various sessions within each strand will be geared toward educators with different job roles—teachers, administrators, or university professors. Sessions in each strand will also focus on different age levels, from preK to adult education.

Whole Child Central

If you're attending the conference, visit Whole Child Central (in the Moscone Center, Exhibit Level, Exhibit Hall, Booth 623) to learn how to develop and support your school's and community's approach to educating the whole child. There are several opportunities and events for you to learn more about a whole child approach to education and ASCD's Whole Child Initiative.

Join us for an intimate discussion with a General Session speaker

Join us for intimate discussions with other noted speakers

Participate in the Whole Child Podcast live recording

Join us Saturday from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m., PT, for the recording (session 1335), featuring Washington Post columnist Jay Mathews and staff and students from Quest Early College High School, winner of the 2011 Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award. They'll be discussing strategies for graduating students ready for college, careers, and citizenship.

Attend sessions

  • "A Healthy Paradigm Shift for Education," with ASCD Healthy School Communities Director Sean Slade (session 1259—Saturday, 1:30–3:00 p.m., PT)
  • "Whole Child, Whole Community: Reaching All Takes All," with South Kitsap (Wash.) School District Superintendent David LaRose (Session 2257—Sunday, 1:15–2:45 p.m., PT)
  • "Getting Everyone on Board to Educate the Whole Child," with ASCD Whole Child Initiative Manager Jessica Cameron Wakefield (session 3205—Monday, 12:15–1:15 p.m., PT)

Ask your questions of the experts

Teachers, principals, superintendents, and students who are successfully taking a whole child approach to education will be ready to answer your questions on Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 to 4:00 p.m. and Monday from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.

Network and collaborate

You can relax in the lounge, thumb through free materials, discuss ideas with colleagues and experts, share your experience or expertise in implementing a whole child approach to education, and learn how you can take action on behalf of the whole child locally and nationally.

Whole Child Central is your source at ASCD's Annual Conference for resources to help you, your school, and your community take a whole child approach to education.


Klea Scharberg

Providing a World-Class Education for Every Student

Each year, ASCD educators from across the country create a legislative agenda to outline ASCD's policy priorities and guide our advocacy efforts. But the true power of the agenda lies in its use by you—educators, parents and family members, business leaders, and community members who have firsthand knowledge of what needs to be done to address the rapidly changing education needs of our country and its students.

The 2011 agenda calls on Congress to revamp the accountability system to a model that is student-focused, is rewards-based, and encompasses all core academic subjects. The agenda also recommends a new federal goal to close the international achievement gap between the United States and other countries and to provide comprehensive support for educators so that students benefit from a highly effective teacher in every classroom.

The agenda emphasizes the need for

  • A complete rewrite of the federal education law. ESEA must not be just tinkered with, but completely overhauled to support our efforts to provide a world-class education to every student.
  • College- and career-readiness. Congress must embrace college- and career-readiness standards that include proficiency in reading, math, science, social science, the arts, civics, foreign language, health education and physical education, technology, and all other core academic subjects.
  • Equity and access. All children must have an equitable share of resources commensurate with their learning needs, as well as access to personalized learning; a well-rounded education; a highly effective teacher in every subject; and support from qualified, caring adults.
  • Capacity-building assistance and information dissemination. Federal support and coordination can help states and districts build meaningful capacity to improve student achievement and school quality through robust investments in education research, the enhancement of a world-renowned education clearinghouse of innovation, and the dissemination of best practices to sustain highly effective educators.
  • Federal accountability requirements. The current adequate yearly progress system is irretrievably broken. The education accountability mandate needs to be transformed from one that is punitive, federally prescriptive, and overly bureaucratic to a model that rewards achievement, is state-driven and peer reviewed, and promotes supportive learning communities and a culture of continuous improvement.

Please use this agenda and the Making the Case for Educating the Whole Child tool to guide discussions and decision making in your own states and communities. Together, we need to educate our lawmakers on the urgency of rewriting ESEA so that we can stop operating under the constraints of an outdated and flawed law and start meeting our students' varied needs so they're ready for success in our challenging global economy.

Andrew Miller

PBL is Career, College, and "Now" Ready

Project-based learning (PBL) is rightfully touted as a way not only to create engagement in the classroom, but also to prepare students for their lives once they leave the confines of our classrooms. When given an authentic task to complete that is aligned to standards, students engage in an inquiry process, both as a team and individually, to innovate a solution. The task creates engagement in learning content and also 21st century skills. But let's cut to the chase and see exactly what about PBL aligns to aspects of being career and college ready.

Read more »

Klea Scharberg

Preparing Students for a Global Future

At a time when globalization and technology are dramatically altering the world we live in, is education reform in the United States headed down the right path? Are schools emphasizing the knowledge and skills that students need in a global society—or are schools actually undermining students' strengths by overemphasizing high-stakes testing and standardization? Are education systems in China and other countries really as superior as some people claim?

Explore these questions in this talk with Yong Zhao, author of Catching Up or Leading the Way: American Education in the Age of Globalization. Born and raised in China and now a distinguished professor at Michigan State University, Zhao bases many of his observations on firsthand experience as a student in China and as a parent of children attending school in the United States. His unique perspective leads him to conclude that "American education is at a crossroads" and "we need to change course" to maintain leadership in a rapidly changing world.

As you listen and browse the book, consider the following questions alone or with colleagues at your school.

  1. What are the traditional strengths in terms of education, culture, and economy in your community?
  2. What is unique about your community, or what do you have that others do not have in your community? What can you do better than others?
  3. How do you preserve creativity and protect individual passions in students?
  4. Can we have both standards and individual creativity?

Find more from Zhao and others in this issue of ASCD Express on approaches to education that will help students lead and succeed in the global age.

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