CHALLENGES FOR 21ST CENTURY CLASSROOM EDUCATION: THE NEXT-TELL APPROACH
Graz University of Technology (AUSTRIA)
About this paper:
Conference name: 3rd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2011
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:21st century education clearly is a big buzzword in today’s media. The new millennium is accompanied by substantial technological evolutions; we became a highly diverse, globalized, complex, real-time media- knowledge- information- and learning society. Since the 1990s, the progress of media and technology was breath taking; during these one or two decades, we were facing the rise of a serious and broad use of computers at home (although the development started earlier, of course), the rise of the internet and how it revolutionized our society. We faced the spread of mobile phones and their evolution from telephones to omnipresent computer and communication devices; we see spread of mp3, twitch speed computer games and TV shows. We saw how our world got closer by changing the bridges over continents and oceans from 56k wires to hyper speed fibre glass networks.
But what does this mean for educational systems and the way our children learn and what they learn? Today’s kindergarten kids will retire in 2070. Facing the pace of technological and societal changes and demands, we cannot predict what knowledge will be required in such a “far” future. But we are in charge to equip our children with the abilities and backgrounds to survive in that world. Our students are also facing many important emerging issues such as global warming, famine, poverty, health issues, a global population explosion and other environmental and social issues. These issues lead to a need for students to be able to communicate, function and create change personally, socially, economically and politically on local, national and global levels.
Formative assessment, defined as a bidirectional process between teacher and student to enhance, recognize, and respond to the learning, is one vital aspect in addressing those challenges Formative assessment is considered a promising approach to enable 21st century teaching since it potentially promotes self-reflection and self-directed learning processes and, more importantly, it facilitates the integration of new subject-specific knowledge into the student’s existing knowledge network. It also helps adapting the teacher the educational processes to the individual needs and, therefore, making formal education more effective and also more enjoyable. At the moment, however, formative assessment is a time consuming interactive teacher-student communication process. The teacher must carefully monitor problem/task solution processes of each individual student, the teacher must understand how individual students think and learn, and the must help them to overcome conceptual difficulties, again on an individual basis. Considering today’s situation and the daily routines in schools this desirable feedback process oftentimes drowns in limited time and resource context conditions. In this paper we want to introduce NEXT-TELL (www.next-tell.eu), a European initiative addressing the challenges of future school education. The major aim of this project is to support teachers in using modern technologies in the classes, to link various technologies with each other, and to benefit from synergies. NEXT-TELL also aim at supporting formative assessment processes and the aligned teaching with smart planning, assessment, and teaching technologies. Secondly, we want to introduce a formal, learning theoretic approach to non-numerical probabilistic assessment to support a formative appraisal of students and ideas of evidence-centred appraisal.
Keywords: Classroom education, ICT, 21century education, formative assessment, Competence-based Knowledge Space Theory.