What are the needs of the 21st Century Learner? Dennis Harter and Justin Medved are leading the way.

Dennis Harter and Justin Medved are doing some fantastic work at the International School of Bangkok and are sharing their thinking with the world.  Justin created the Curriculum 2.0 video that began this entry, and their thinking is helping me to clarify my own thinking about learning and where technology fits in the teaching happening in our schools today. It’s the learning that is important and that’s what needs to be the focus of any discussion about the use of technology to support learning.  Their school uses Jay McTighe’s Understanding by Design to develop their units so they approached their planning with the idea that they needed to formulate essential questions identifying Information Literacy for a 21st  Century Learner. Below are their questions represented as a diagram.  


They then developed a new literacy wiki that became the discussion forum for these five essential questions and what they termed Curriculum 2.0. Out of this they fine tuned their five essential questions into what they termed, ‘three focused roles of technology in 21st century learning.’ Venn

They then evolved to the following understandings and the development of three new questions. What follows is directly from their fifth blog post on this subject – I hope they don’t mind me inserting it here but it is best understood by reading their words. 

“From this starting point and as a result of much discussion and collaboration, we all agreed that our ideas and five essential questions could be refined further down to three new questions.

  • How do I responsibly use information and communication to positively contribute to my world?
  • How do I effectively communicate?
  • How do I find and use information to construct meaning and solve problems?

With these questions we then proceeded to flesh out the enduring understandings that went with them. It was our feeling that these should always be evolving to address the changing face of communication, collaboration and information. The curriculum frameworkwould be in constant beta. A testament to the ever expanding nature of the skills it was attempting to map.”

Click to enlarge

They’ve blown me away with the scope of their discussions and the framework they have provided. I can now see a way forward to implement discussion and change in my school. My best advice to anyone reading this is to visit either Dennis or Justin’s blogs or visit Dangerously Irrelevant where they were guest bloggers this week. Great work guys and thanks for sharing your thinking with the world. It’s a brilliant example of what is possible for our kids if we give them the scope to write for a global audience.

3 Replies to “What are the needs of the 21st Century Learner? Dennis Harter and Justin Medved are leading the way.”

  1. Jenny,
    Thank you for continuing the conversation with your own audience. There has also been great discussion at Doug Johnson’s blog on the necessary involvement of librarians and how they are key players in any work on information literacy.

    Good luck moving forward with your own implementation and keep writing about it so that we can share in the process and learn from each other. Taking the big ideas to the classroom is the true challenge and the true measure of success.

    One other reminder is how valuable the conversations are in creating shared understanding. Our work that you have shown here is a good starting (or even middle) point, but without giving admin or teachers or librarians or curriculum experts a chance to discuss, digest, and debate, there is little chance of moving forward. Don’t skip the conversations!

  2. Another recommended read: Kim at Always Learning. You’ve most likely been reading her already.

    (Not that she needs me to send any readers her way.)

    Kim played a huge part along with our Curriculum office in getting us from the 5 to the table of 3 that we will use to move forward with librarians to work out how to get it into practice.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: