A Vision of 21st Century Teachers

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An inspiring video showing eighteen teachers’ view on the technology integration in the classrooms and 21st Century skills for students.

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About Steve Yuen

I am a Professor Emeritus of Instructional Technology and Design at The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, United States.
This entry was posted in Educational Technology, Technology Integration and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to A Vision of 21st Century Teachers

  1. jackjohnston says:

    You are right, this is an inspiring video!
    Thank you for sharing.

  2. how to sing says:

    I found this blog while searching google. Pretty impressive too, since google tends to display relatively old results but this one is very recent! Anyway, quite informative, especially since this is not something a lot of people are able to write about. Take care…

  3. Terry Grimm says:

    Thanks for mentioning our video–A Vision of 21st Century Teachers. We hope a variety of education stake-holders find something of value in viewing it.

  4. Chris Mark says:

    I just viewed the video, A Vision of 21st Century Teachers, which is a take off on the 21st Century Students videos of the last couple of years. Although the student version seems more centered on what the students are doing personally, this teacher’s video seems more centered on how technology is professed to be used in the classroom. And, as with all of these insights, I would need more information because this does not jive with my personal experience.

    I agree that technology can enhance learning especially for shy, withdrawn students who might blog or wiki rather than speak in class. I agree that for visual learners multimedia is a godsend. I also agree that access to virtual field trips, authors, content producers, and other resources can only help enrich education. But, education is not just about pushing chunks of content into student’s brains.

    What about socializing students by teaching them to speak up in class? What about the verbal learners? Does anyone seem concerned that all of this multimedia frenzy seems to be leaving writing by the wayside? Why write when I can make a video? Why write when I can take a picture? Why write a complete sentence when I can text? Certainly blogs and wikis require writing, but in short snippets rather than long essays. My fear is that generations of visual learners and the technology bandwagon are stealing the basic ability to communicate from other students.

    Then, there is the technology issue. Where do all these teachers teach? Private schools? Urban schools? Wealthy school districts? Here in Mississippi (and, I suspect, other rural states) students are often lucky if there is a computer of recent vintage and dial-up internet access at home. Most of the rural schools have very poor in-school technology and no money for upgrades. Many school systems, particularly in Bible-belt states, have the internet locked down with little to no access during school hours. Many public school teachers I know are forbidden to use blogs, wikis, or other social networking sites in or out of school. How are these students going to do all this multimedia and content creation in these environments? Even my college-level students do not have access much of the time, especially those taking online courses, so what about them? My guess is that many of the teachers in the video either work in private schools or wealthy, urban school systems.

    Finally, my personal belief is that we are creating generations of technology robots who cannot develop a single independent thought without Google and a computer. My own son cannot, or will not, look up a telephone number in a telephone book (how quaint), and cannot add up change without a calculator. Students need to learn to think critically, use their imaginations, and develop problem-solving ability. Instead they rely on Google and internet searches, often of questionable credibility, learn to rely on texting and Twitter to communicate, and cannot seem to be away from their screens for more than a few moments without withdrawal. Indeed, one of the major irritants to teachers is number of students who cannot put their cell phones down during class.

    Don’t misunderstand, I embrace technology as a wonderful tool for enriching our students; however, technology should not be the replacement for independent thought and the development of ideas. I’d frankly like to see a video like this about teachers who are actually teaching in spite of all the technology…now that would be refreshing.

  5. Jil Wright says:

    I think this is an interesting and important video. Education is leaps and bounds behind business as far as technology use is concerned. Because of that fact, many students that are graduating from universities are not prepared for the technology that will meet them in the real world.

    I know a hospital owner that supplied many of his rural hospital staff members with iPhones to look up drug information and communicate on the job. There were people who were totally mortified at first until they realized the power of the tool in their hand.

    Yes, writing is important and there are countless tech tools available for that purpose should a teacher choose to use them. Should they? Why not? I think teachers should use a combination of tools and methods to teach because everyone learns in different ways.

    As far as money for technology goes, a district in MS is only as wealthy as their best grant writer. I had to design a STEM lab with a school administrator on the coast. The lab ended up costing $65,000. I protested that it just could not be done. Education has no money! She told me she already had several of the labs in her schools. Those kids have software that USM students do not have access to.

    There are other school districts (I have family members who teach in them) that ban Youtube, any sort of e-mail, and basically all internet activity. Why have computers in your schools if you are afraid for your students to use them?

    I noticed Chris made a comment about online learners not having access to technology. Why in the world would you sign up for an online course if you weren’t tech savvy enough to complete the course? iTech and other departments list what online learners need before they sign up. I really don’t get that. I took my first online courses at USM in 99 or 2000 and I’ve never had a major problem & that was back when dial-up was it! In 1997 all USM students had access to was 9600 kb dial-up. I’d go to a page, walk down 3 flights of stairs, have a few cigarettes, talk to friends, and the page still wouldn’t be loaded when I returned. Fun times.

    I agree that students need to learn to think critically, use their imaginations, and develop problem-solving abilities. My hope is that teachers will learn that these things can be taught and greatly enhanced using technology. Technology is a TOOL for educating students. It is a tool to teach, not a method of teaching. My hope is that more and more educators will educate themselves to the tools available to them. We aren’t restricted to chalkboards, thank God!

    On a personal note, I can learn more from a couple of hours on Twitter than I can in a semester of lectures. That is just the reality of today. Learners are different; they are used to diverse methods of doing things. It’s not a bad thing, it’s a fact.

    If there is ANY way to get a student excited about learning, doing homework, etc. why in the world would anyone in the world view that as a negative?

    I applaud these teachers for “getting it”! Good job guys! The kids you are teaching now will be the graduate students of tomorrow. Educators who do not keep up won’t have jobs when that time comes.

  6. Kaylene says:

    I’ll add my applause to teachers that get it, though I find it incredibly ironic that they “voice” their ideas in one of the oldest forms of teaching — write it on the board! I’m not exactly sure what message they were sending. Perhaps, they were saying that they have these ideas but don’t have the money. Maybe they were really just using what feels comfortable (writing on the board), pretending they are interested in technology. Maybe they were making a statement about feeling mute, unable to convey their ideas in any other way than the written word. A little less subtlety would have been better.

    A key idea in the video is one that many may not have picked up on. Teachers of ALL ages were represented. Some are young and probably grew up on technology themselves. Others have been teaching for many years, much longer than the Internet has been around. Yet they were trying to convey the same sentiment: they have bought into the digital world and they want you to buy in as well.

    Preparing our students to succeed in the world MUST involve technology. Old fashioned ways of learning information are actually becoming obsolete. Telling a student to pull books off the library shelf to research a topic is hampering them in reaching their potential when online databases can direct them to chapters, journal articles and the best books for their research. In the end, the student can produce an infinitely better paper that looks just like an old-fashioned essay — but better.

    Once again I applaud all teachers who understand the value of technology and work to incorporate it into their classes.

  7. Jacquelyn Johnston says:

    Thank you for sharing this video. I have watched it several times and each time I get inspired and feel empowered as a K-12 classroom teacher. There is a powerful message concerning the implications of using technology as a teaching tool for today’s learners as presented by the eighteen teachers in the video.

    The 21st-century learner or 21st-century skills movement addresses how educators need to examine pedagogical practices so that students are equipped to compete globally. Technology integration in the classroom is key in preparing students for the future. The video presentation suggests that embracing technology as a teaching tool will help teachers adapt and evolve to digitally empower today’s diverse learners to collaborate, communicate, create, and critically think in real world environments.

    The video gives examples of weaving 21-century skills through core content areas of literature, writing, math, and others using Web 2.0 tools to enable students to engage in powerful learning beyond the traditional classroom. The teachers create a picture of a learning environment that is appealing. Throughout the video, they use vocabulary that describes student engagement at higher levels of thinking. These types of activities teach students how to think, notwithstanding the fact that students generally eagerly engage in technology rich environments.

    Another part of the video that spoke to me was the 21st-century teacher also considers herself a 21st-century learner. She wants to not only provide the best learning practices for her students , but is eagerly embracing the exciting technological changes that enhance learning on a personal level.

    Yes, it is frustrating when you do not have adequate equipment in your classroom…and all you hear is budget cuts. It is frustrating when school systems block great technology tools for learning, and the list goes on. However, viewing the video seemed to reassure that things will get better, that there are like-minded teachers that are excited about teaching and learning, and that there is a vision of hope.

  8. tdedeaux says:

    The first thing that strikes me about this video is that it is poorly done. It has repetitive music and one piece of white paper being turned over after another. And it opens and closes with a poorly synthesized “robot voice” that barely sounded futuristic in the 1980’s

    Additionally, the cards contained little more than pro-tech-ed platitudes.

    While I surely approve of high technology use in classrooms (or I wouldn’t be pursuing this degree), I am very wary of the fetishization of technology.

    “We must use technology! The students won’t learn anything without technology! If we use enough technology, they’ll all turn into geniuses!”

    Technology is a tool, but without good pedagogy, it’s useless, like swinging a hammer and missing the nail.


    And I think Chris raises some good points. We have to be very careful that we do not raise a generation that is dependent upon technology for simple things like making change or finding the smallest bit of information.

    Especially since, in my experience, many in this generation are not actually skilled with technology, just dependent upon it. Dependence is weakness, and our country has encouraged way too much weakness for far too long.

    Students should be able to read BOOK-length material and write cogent, coherent papers, not just 140 character Tweets (or even video responses).

    Forget students, PEOPLE should be able to make their own change, get their own directions, find or make what they need, whether or not they have their iPhones or laptops with them.


    There is value in meeting students where they are. But it is ridiculous to LEAVE them where they are.

  9. Dane Conrad says:

    Before I get into the main idea/content of the video, let me guess at some reasons why they presented in the manner in which they did. For one thing, doing a presentation in an unexpected manner, usually provides some measure of “extra” attention. Also, they certainly should be afforded some artistic license. There is also a certain line of presentation thought that says that it is actually more effective to communicate an idea in the fewest ways (audio/visual/text) possible. For instance, there is some research that says if you are showing a powerpoint slide with text on it and talking to the audience to explain the slide actually inhibits the listener’s ability to grasp you idea. The average person’s brain can’t process your vocal explanations at the same time it is attempting to “consume” the text.

    Now, as far as their message, I agree with the integration of technology as a tool for learner but not for just technology’s sake. As some people have already commented, many times technology is not leveraged in the classroom effectively. I agree with Tim that technology without good/great pedagogy is not going to make the impact in student success and learning that educational systems are seeking. What I have seen many times is that teachers center their activities around the technology at such low level requirements that students are successful at using the technology but not in learning the content. We, as educators, can’t simply teach the technology tools and let students learn the tools at the expense of the content prescribed by state or national standards. Sure the technology can help with the learning but the content still must be the focus.

  10. Wow! This was really an inspiring video. I really, really loved how teachers from all subject matters are sharing how they integrate technology into their classroom! From digital cameras to video, blogs to wikis—These teachers truly are a vision for 21st century learners. We aren’t changing the material—simply the way we teach it!

    Teaching a technology-based curriculum, I sometimes forget how difficult it can be to integrate technology into other subject areas—especially those that don’t have much access to enough computers or equipment. Because of this, I implement literally whatever I can with technology, because I’m not sure exactly where else the students are receiving the rigorous technology-driven lessons. Although my class is focused heavily on computers, I try to use the computer more as a tool to teach—not the only tool to teach. Web-based tests, quizzes, interactive Flash demonstrations, Webquests, videos, collaborative research projects… only to name a few. Being a teacher who, like my students, has never lived without a computer (Okay—maybe the first four years of my life), I understand their learning needs and constantly strive to reach all learners through the power of technology. I am excited to continue my teaching journey and continue learning of these new technology tools, Websites, and other ways to teach my students through technology.

  11. Patrick Chiang says:

    即使是在古代,老師的地位之所以崇高,除了是因為他具有廣博的知識外,也懂得如何針對學生因材施教。而這句名言到今天還是一樣不變,科技不僅改變了我們的生活,也改變了我
    下一代小孩對於事物的看法與認知,以前遠渡重洋是遙不可及而不會去想的東西,現在要去到地球的任何一個地方都可以不超過24小時,空間感和過去不一樣,對時間的觀念也不一樣,同樣在做任何事,也都會有不同的看法。

    其實不需把新世代的小孩看成是數位原住民或把大人看做是數位移民,這只不過是個過渡期的現象,差別只在於小孩從出生就受到科技的寵愛與照顧,而我們卻是完整的面臨到兩種不同生活與價值觀的衝突而仍在猶豫徬惶罷了。

    所以我們就不應該把科技當成是教育以外的誘惑,把網路當成是危害小孩的毒蟲,既然要因材施教,我們就有責任要讓他們知道科技能幫我們做什麼?如何讓科技幫助我們學習或成長得更快樂,有責任讓他們清楚什麼是根本的技能?什麼是不變的東西(知識或內容本身而非科技本身)。這樣才能夠讓我們下一代在屬於他們的環境與條件下學習,而不是用我們過去的方式學習。特別是影片中提到的一點,兒童的教育不是在教他們應付過去的生活,而是要教他們如何在未來生活。如果連老師自己都不知道所教為何,那肯定學生更不知道學這些要幹什麼用。

    在影片裡老師們提到未來的學生的特色中,我將其中的學習行動提析出來,我認為這些都,他們在未來的學習當中要去實踐的重點:Construct and Create,要學會去建構與創新;Synthesize and Share要與外界同步並分享一切;Response and Communicate,要懂得回應他人及反應自己; Blog and comprehend,要會歸納反思並且歸類。

  12. sirui says:

    In this post, it is a video talking about 21st century teachers’ responsibilities and their expects with technology. I like this post for two reasons, the content of this video, and the idea of this video. The ideas in this video express that “It is not technology itself, It’s about unleashing the powers that students bring with them into classroom, about meeting different learning styles, about opening opportunities to connect, communicate and create.” That is just what teachers should understand and struggle in 21st century.

    The appearance of new technologies is unavoidable with the development of society, how to deal with those technologies with education, how could teachers combine those technologies with their instructional activities, and how could teachers apply those technologies to enhance learners’ learning? Those questions should all be considered by teachers before they deciding using technology to their class.

    All the 18 teachers in this video expressed their willingness to apply technology to education, and at the same time, they showed their understanding of how to maximum technology to education. In 21st century, in my opinion, the role of teachers is under changing, from the early full power in class, to later assisting role in class, to the friendly role in new century, all of those changes embody that being a qualified teacher in new century or in the future, innovation and initiative are very important. Facing new endless technologies in times, teacher should have their sensitive to find those technologies. Because technology is not perfect, teacher should have the ability to select the proper and best technology for their class; and then teacher should decide a proper method to do the combination; with serious decision and careful planning, technology could gain its role in real instructional actives.

  13. keenonwynn says:

    As I trained to be a teacher, not that long ago, it was stressed to me that change was coming. That change is technology. In some school most classrooms look like computer labs, but upon entering you will discover it is an English lab or even a math lab. Today’s teacher has got to be “techno-literate”. This term means that a person has an up to date, some thins basic, working knowledge of technology and is not afraid to use it.

    Our society is changing to adapt to the wide spread reliance on technology. Why should education be left out? As we have all heard before the average 6th grader does not know what it is like to be with a computer in the house hold computer, video games, and smart phones. I t would not hurt for us to meet them half way with the use of technology. It is my belief that those who refuse to step into the new world of technology will be left on the way side.

    I have heard the complaint, “What will happen to written text”, with all this technology. To be perfectly honest for some of these students 21 centry classroom and teacher may be God send. Those students who have trouble with writing or reading written word typing out what they are trying to get across may improve the confidence. Than after the student gets to the point of “I can do this on my own!” then we worry about written text.

  14. I thought it was a little ironic that the video about technology use was presented in such a basic fashion. As Kaylene mentioned in aother post, teachers of all ages were sharing their uses of technology. I think it’s important for educators to know that they don’t have to resist technology and to understand that many of the tools are easy to use. It’s nice to know that technology doesn’t have to be intimidating for educators of any age or dicipline. I’m not an older educator, but I’m not a 22-year-old right out of college either and I am a little weary about technology. Taking IT780 and IT755 has encouraged me to try out some of the new Web 2.0 tools in the one class I teach. Sometimes my students are the weary ones, but maybe this is because they are a little older and not quite 100% part of the digital natives. The benefits, as we see in the video, are clearly worth the experimenting. I was a little surprised at how many hours were spent maintaining a class website or researching new tools. I would hope doing these things would be much easier now, rather than around the time this video was created.

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