21st Century Classroom: Vision, Tools and Pedagogy

2009 – 2010


Brandi Q.W. Sabb, Facilitator

Laura Deisley, Facilitator


“The illiterate of the 21st century will be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”- Alvin Toffler

Critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, communication, and global connections are key elements of a 21st century classroom. Participants in the Dobbs 21st Century Classroom Professional Learning Community (PLC) are committed to obtaining mastery understanding and successful implementation of these elements through pilot projects, action research, and personal exploration of how technology is transforming what, where, when and how we learn.


Vision:
Through the visionary merging of public and independent schools, ten (10) middle and high school teachers and two facilitators will explore the current research, pedagogy, and best practices of 21st century teaching and learning. Atlanta Public Schools and city-wide independent schools will collaboratively draw on our teaching experiences and educational thinking to build a structure for how a 21st century classroom will differ from a traditional classroom. The PLC will:
• create an educational vision;
• study and implement technological tools; and
• research and apply what we understand about learning theory as a way to improve daily teaching practice for a 21st century classroom.

PLC members will set up collaborative teams, design curriculum units and projects, exchange ideas, learn through peer-to-peer observations, and engage in on-going action research.

Tools:
The PLC will employ a range of tools to model how 21st century learners connect and communicate as well as collaboratively research, synthesize and innovate. Personal reflection and community development will be an integral part of the process. These tools will include blogs; research and knowledge-sharing applications; presentation tools; and a wide variety of communication, networking and creation tools.

Pedagogy:
PLC members will explore the individual, group and universal art and science of research, inquiry, learning, innovation, differentiated instruction, project-based learning, and real-life application within a 21st century classroom. Contributing as participants and facilitators, PLC members will make equal investments into the learning that will be bonded by both cohort and personal learning contracts.

Cohort Contract:
PLC members will collectively establish a set of learning goals to achieve upon completion of the course. Understanding that each member has individual needs and expectations, the cohort contract will guide the overall curriculum of learning throughout the year. Facilitator lessons and assignments will be based upon these outcomes.

Personal Learning Contracts:
Understanding that each member has their own individual needs and expectations of the course content, and relative comfort and current experience with technology, facilitators will work with each PLC member to construct a personal learning contract. Each PLC member will use their personal learning contract to guide their learning and measure their growth at the culmination of the fellowship.

Cohort Norms:
Committed to rich fidelity of learning, the 21st Century Classroom PLC will function around the following norms:
1. Assume positive intent
2. Get the most from the learning; invest yourself.
3. Share air-time equitably
4. Celebrate divergent thinking
5. Respect one another while “pushing” the thinking of the group/individuals.


Cohort Expectations:
Throughout the 21st Century Classroom cohort curriculum of study, PLC members should note the following expectations.
1. Personal voice will be developed through weekly reflections on individual blogs. An active and productive blogging community will be maintained by engaging in conversations across the blogs to push our thinking.
2. Each PLC member will be required to join and participate in a web-based community of practice (“social network”) that engages his/her thinking around a personal interest, discipline, or practice.
3. PLC members shall bring their laptop computers to every meeting.
4. Each PLC member will set up a Gmail account and blog account. This will be done at the joint meeting with the Inquiry-Based Learning Cohort on August 16th.
5. The Dobbs Fellowship wiki will be the central organizing tool. PLC members should bookmark this site and check frequently (or RSS) for updates.


Cohort Resources:
In line with the concept of a 21st century classroom, all course materials and practices can be found at http://dobbsfoundationfellowship.wikispaces.com/. On-going course communication will be conducted through Gmail.

Cohort Meetings:
In addition to individual action research and practice, PLC members are required according to the Dobbs Fellowship Foundation Memorandum of Agreement to attend every cohort meeting on the third Wednesday of every month. All meetings will be held at the Westminster Schools.


Facilitators:
Laura and Brandi are committed to maintaining an open, healthy and active learning environment in person and online. They are committed to supporting your learning and growth and can be contacted from 9am – 8pm.