Sunday, August 23, 2009

How close to the 21st Century are you?

Lately I have been doing a bit of reading about the definitions of 21st century learning skills and realize that there is a lot out there, with many varying definitions. What I have gleaned from all of it was that no matter what the definition, no matter what the criteria, there is agreement that we have a long way to go to get there. I find it a bit ironic that we are almost a decade into the 21st century and we still haven't come to consensus on what the skills are yet!

So in my search, I came across a website for the Partnership for 21st Century Skills. Their website says that they are "the leading advocacy organization infusing 21st century skills into education. Now, I cannot confirm or deny this claim, but it does give you an idea of the motivation behind the website and any slant that might be found on its pages. What I can say is that it is a well organized website, with a plethora of information and resources that are easy to navigate. The language is well crafted and concise as well.

But I am not here to talk about this website or to give a review, I am here to talk about one of the assessment tools that I found on this site. One of the online tools offered is the MILE guide. The Partnership for 21st Century Skills developed the Milestones for Improving Learning and Education (MILE) Guide for 21st Century Skills to assist educators and administrators in measuring the progress of their schools in defining, teaching and assessing 21st century skills. The assessment was designed to help educators and administrators gauge their school's effectiveness in integrating 21st century skills into the learning process.

I took the 23 question assessment and found that the assessment was pretty close to howI would have described my school. The questions look at 3 areas of development; learning and teaching with 8 areas, Leading and Managing with 7 areas, and Partnering with 5 areas. Here I am posting my results.

As you can see, my school is mostly in the transitional phases. This could not be more true. I joined the staff a year ago with the idea of moving the school forward and further into the 21st century. As with any transition, it takes time and patience, training and willingness to change. My school is showing that it has that willingness and some great staff members who will undoubtedly lead that charge.

What this assessment does show me is that we are on the right path and that we are on the right track and do have a way to go. I think that I will take this assessment at the beginning, middle and end of each year and that I might have my fellow administration team members do the same to account for different perspectives on our school. Either way, I do recommend this highly and feel that it will help guide any school toward the 21st Century.

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