21st Century Learning

February 1, 2012 - 21st Century Learning

This first meeting of Summit 303 featured Dr. Yong Zhao, Presidential Chair and Associate Dean for Global Education, College of Education at the Univeristy of Oregon. Dr. Zhao will discuss 21st Century Learning and give his view on the skills students will need to compete successfully in the 21st Century marketplace.

Dr. Zhao's research interests include educational policy, computer gaming and education, diffusion of innovations, teacher adoption of technology, computer-assisted language learning, and globalization and education. His current work focuses on designing 21st Century Schools in the context of globalization and the digital revolution.

For more information on Dr. Zhao and introductory videos, please visithttp://zhaolearning.com/.

Thank you to everyone who attended the Summit 303 meeting.  In order to help you catch up if you were unable to attend, or if you'd just like a review, here are the:

1. Agenda
2. Presentation Slides
3. Executive Summary
4. Verbatim Responses


Presentation Slides

Executive Summary
Resumen Ejecutivo en Español

As a Result of the Small Group Work Activity at the February 1st Summit 303 community meeting, participants in 54 small groups worked to prepare responses to the following questions and activities:

Task #1
In tonight’s presentation, we heard about 21st Century Learning and the skills students need in order to promote future success. What 2-3 skills did your group learn about that you believe District 303 promotes well (in elementary school, in middle school, and/or in high school)? What 2-3 items (if any) do you believe the District needs to emphasize better (in elementary school, in middle school, and/or in high school)? 

 Task #2
The Board of Education has considered several issues they would like to gather information on; such as, foreign language, fine arts, athletics, and educational program opportunities. Keeping in mind the charge from the Board of Education and the presentation on 21st Century Learning this evening:

  • What issues or topics would you like to explore further at elementary, middle and/or high school? Enter and prioritize your responses in the table below by labeling them high, medium or low.
  • Then, starting with your group's highest priority, what key questions or comments would your group want posed related to each of the areas you’ve identified?

 If your group wishes to focus on only one or two school levels (elementary, middle or high), the other section(s) can be left blank. 

 Based on the responses, participants of Summit 303 indicate the variety of courses offered at the high school level allows students the opportunity to diversify their skills and pursue individual interests. 15 of the 54 groups made reference to high school electives. The opportunity for the pursuit of individual interests was expressed as important at the elementary and middle school level as well. The middle school exploratory courses were noted by more of the groups (12 of 54) than any other middle school program. At the elementary level, the focus on individual needs was indicated as a strength of the District more than any other area (12 of 54). Fine Arts and Music were noted across all three levels as a skill the District promotes well. It is also worth noting that at the middle school level, social/emotional health and anti-bullying were noted as skills promoted well by the District by 9 of the 54 groups.

While the variety of courses at the high school level and the exploratory courses in the middle schools were noted as things the District does well, Summit 303 participants would like to see even more offerings. Regarding what needs better emphasis, 13 of the 54 groups would like to see more time devoted to the exploratory classes. One group suggested lengthening the school day to accommodate more time for exploratory classes.

Consistency in technology was a concern expressed across all three levels (9 of 54 elementary, 8 of 54 middle, and 5 of 54 high school).

Another subject noted across all three levels (and in the highest volume for any subject at the elementary level) was foreign language. Specifically at the elementary level, 16 of 54 groups indicated a desire for the expansion of foreign language instruction in the elementary schools across the District. At the middle school level, 9 of 54 groups felt foreign language needs a better emphasis, with specifically, more options for students. That same desire was expressed for the high school level (5 of 54 groups, making foreign language the most mentioned topic).

Technology also received discussion across all three levels (9 of 54 elementary, 8 of 54 middle, and 5 of 54 high school). The desire for consistency in technology across the District was the specific area Summit attendees felt could be done better.

In the process of prioritizing topics to be discussed further, several of the groups did not indicate a high, medium or low priority. The groups that did indicate a priority only listed specific topics they considered to be high priority. Therefore, we are concluding that the groups only listed topics they considered to be high priority.

Across all three levels, the two topics mentioned most often as high priorities to be addressed during Summit 303 are technology and foreign language. Technology was listed by 15 of 54 groups at the elementary level, 8 of 54 groups at the middle school level and 7 of 54 groups at the high school level. Foreign language had similar numbers, 15 of 54 elementary, 8 of 54 middle and 9 of 54 high school.

One concern about both technology and foreign language that appeared multiple times in the “key comments and questions” was making sure that foreign language and technology are integrated across all the levels.

Two other topics were indicated to be high priority by five groups or more. Those topics were fine arts at the elementary schools and exploratory offerings at the middle school. Specific comments about the exploratory offerings indicate the desire to investigate how students might be able to experience more of the exploratory offerings.

Also among the responses, particularly at the elementary level, were the skills of problem solving, creativity, project-based learning, global education, innovation, research and solution thinking. These 21st Century learning skills by themselves did not attain the level of mention that foreign language or technology reached; however, as collective components of 21st Century learning, they also stand out as topics that Summit 303 attendees would like to investigate in more detail.

  For a complete listing of responses see the February 1, 2012
Verbatim Response Document

Verbatim Responses