10 Ways To Fake A 21st Century Classroom

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fake-a-21st-century-classroom

21st century learning isn’t a trend as much as a reality.

It’s 2013, so whatever you’re doing in your classroom right now is technically 21st century learning. Semantics aside, we all can improve, and many of us are being held accountable for improvement by administrators, blogs, and the local PLC to “bring the next generation into the 21st century.”

With that kind of pressure—and constant district walk-throughs—it may be necessary for you to fake a 21st century thinking and learning environment to make the right kind of impression with the right people, and give the appearance of forward-thinking.

10 Ways To Fake A 21st Century Classroom

1. “Do Projects”

Projects are what students do in the 21st century. (This is distinctly different than project-based learning, mind you.)

One of the most powerful ways to employ a 21st century learning tone and process is to start big–with broad, sweeping projects that change the world, and give students constant opportunity to revise thinking, innovate, design, publish, and curate.

2. Create a class twitter account

Then use it to announce trivial things like due dates of 20th century work. (No one will notice—you’re on twitter, and that’s all that matters.) And when you bring up a new idea in a data team meeting, tell them you heard it on twitter. #streetcred

3. Force collaboration

And when students have trouble collaborating, tell them collaboration is a 21st century skill, throw a calendar at them (or maybe just toss it on their desks casually) and tell them to get with the program.

If that doesn’t work, find the closest map and pound your index finger on China and tell them everything’s about to get real in the next fifty years if they don’t wake up.

4. Video conference with strangers!

Video conferencing with classrooms in India—or even in surrounding counties—is a sure-fire example of a 21st century classroom if there has even been one. Fire up the ol’ Mac, exchange awkward questions, smile a lot, and it’ll be over before you know it. No in-depth planning or technology integration necessary! Just conference!

Bring on George Jetson!

5. Be dramatic

Play Ken Robinson and Shift Happens videos every 6-8 weeks to keep students on their toes and increase the sense of urgency in your classroom. When parents ask what students learned at school, they’ll definitely remember the video, play it on their iPhone, and create an instant certainty in the mind of the parents that good stuff is happening in your classroom.

gamma-ray-productions

6. Buy iPads

iPads support mobile learning, allow access to hundreds of incredible apps, and make children grin. If it’s a 21st century learning environment you’re looking for, a classroom full of students pinching and zooming on little glass rectangles will give it to you in spades.

7. Make students blog

The blog is the new novel. (I read that on a blog.) It gives students an instant audience with millions of potential readers, allows for constantly fluid text to be revisited and revised, and can be even be seen from outer space.

Do it yesterday.

8. Apps on apps on apps

And lots of them. Download more than you use, to the point that your iPad can’t even update the ones you actually use because there’s no room left. Try for at least a 10:1 ratio here of download-to-use rate.

9. Blend, blend, blend!

Go all Kitchen Aid on your curriculum and blend it until it’s unrecognizable from what you taught 3 years ago.

Create short YouTube videos, prime students with questions, and watch them all show up to class chomping at the bit to make magic happen. Ignore that many of the students who need the “flip” lack either the access or the thinking habits to make use of it all.

Like a great margarita, if you blend good things happen.

10. Add a column for “Creativity” on every rubric

Creativity is a 21st century currency, and the best way to make sure it happens is to give points for it. They’ll get with the program stat.

Conclusion

So there you have it–10 ways to fake a 21st century classroom. Try one (or all) of them and let us know on twitter how it goes.

(You are on twitter, right?)

Image attribution flickr user gammarayproductions

  • RRWagner

    I love it!

  • colingally

    I love(d) the sardonic nature of this article.

    Then I look at number 8. Apps on apps on apps

    Then I look at your most popular posts this month and week: 50 Of The Best Resources For iPads In Education, 8 Apps To Turn Your iPad Into A Digital Whiteboard, 50 Popular iPad Apps For Struggling Readers & Writers, The 55 Best Free Education Apps For iPad, 12 Of The Best Math iPad Apps Of 2012,The 12 Best Children’s Educational iPad Apps Released In 2012

    This is so meta now I’m confused and my brain is worrying itself: are you an education blog faking it then?! Or is your article so sardonic it’s come full circle, slapped its own face and is poking fun at itself?! I need a holiday.

  • http://twitter.com/wmchamberlain William Chamberlain

    You forgot one, write a “10 Ways to…” post. ;)

    • http://twitter.com/BiancaH80 Bianca ‘Jim’ Hewes

      Hehe ;)

  • http://twitter.com/BiancaH80 Bianca ‘Jim’ Hewes

    This post makes me giggle and makes me sad. Have we hit cynicism already? I guess so.

    • terryheick

      Not cynical, jut laughing at ourselves. ; ^ )

  • http://twitter.com/coxondj Darren Coxon

    Yes, all of the above make it look like we’re cutting edge, but when it comes down to it kids just want to be interested and know you have high expectations and care about them. iPads can help with the former if well used, but the latter is way more important.