In his book, The Global Achievement Gap, Tony Wagner, an expert at Harvard University Innovation Lab and who formerly worked as a high school teacher, principal, and university professor in teacher education, writes about the gap between what schools are teaching and testing and the new survival skills all students need to succeed as workers, learners and citizens in today’s global knowledge economy. While writing his book, Wagner interviewed business leaders about their expectations. I included some of their remarks here for you to check whether you are teaching these skills to your students:

“The idea that a company’s senior leaders have all the answers and can solve problems by themselves has gone completely by the wayside…The person who’s close to the work has to have strong analytical skills. You have to be rigorous: test your assumptions, don’t take things at face value. The challenge is this: How do you do things that haven’t been done before, where you have to rethink or think anew?”
      —Ellen Kumata, Consultant to Fortune 200 Companies

“My greatest concern is young people’s lack of leadership skills. Kids just out of school have an amazing lack of preparedness in general leadership skills and collaborative skills. They lack the ability to influence.”
       —Mike Summers, Vice President for Global Talent Management at Dell

“Teamwork is no longer just about working with others in your building. Technology has allowed for virtual teams. We have teams working on major infrastructure projects that are all over the country. On other projects, you’re working with people all around the world on solving a software problem. Every week they’re on a variety of conference calls; they’re doing Web casts; they’re doing net meetings.”
         —Christie Pedra, CEO of Siemens

  “Anyone who works at BOC Edwards today has to think, be flexible, change, and use a variety of tools to solve new problems. I’ve been here four years, and we’ve done fundamental reorganization every year because of changes in the business…I can guarantee the job I hire someone to do will change or may not exist in the future, so this is why adaptability and learning skills are more important than technical skills.”
          —Clay Parker, President of Chemical Management Division of BOC Edwards

   “For our production and crafts staff, we need self-directed people…who can find creative solutions to some very tough, challenging problems.”
           —Mark Maddox, Human Resources Manager at Unilever Foods North America

“We are routinely surprised at the difficulty some young people have in communicating: verbal skills, written skills, presentation skills. They have difficulty being clear and concise; it’s hard for them to create focus, energy, and passion around the points they want to make. If you’re talking to an exec, the first thing you’ll get asked if you haven’t made it perfectly clear in the first 60 seconds of your presentation is, ‘What do you want me to take away from this meeting?’ They don’t know how to answer that question.”
           —Mike Summers, Vice President for Global Talent Management at Dell

There is so much information available that it is almost too much, and if people aren’t prepared to process the information effectively, it almost freezes them in their steps.”
           —Mike Summers, Vice President for Global Talent Management at Dell

Our old idea is that work is defined by employers and that employees have to do whatever the employer wants…but actually, you would like him to come up with an interpretation that you like—he’s adding something personal—a creative element.”
            —Michael Jung, Senior Consultant at McKinsey and Company

In another book, Five Minds for the Future, psychologist, author, and Harvard professor Howard Gardner writes about the kinds of minds (the competencies which young people and the society need in the twenty first century) that will be critical to success in a 21st century landscape of accelerating change and information overload. According to Gardner, without these five minds we risk being overwhelmed by information, unable to succeed in the workplace, and incapable of the judgment needed to thrive both personally and professionally in today’s relentlessly changing world.

Both authors are trying to show us which skills are required to prepare our students for the challenges of today’s world in which cultures, economies, and people are connected. In line with their ideas, according to a report published by Pearson, these are the new skills the world is looking for:

8-skills-the-worlds-is-looking-forIMAGE SOURCE: Beyond the Learning Curve via PEARSON

It is obvious that in addition to traditional literacy skills, more sophisticated literacy skills are required for our students to fully participate and function in our global community. As George Couros says, ‘If the world is asking for people to be innovative and to think differently, schools can no longer shape the students to think all the same.’ Instead, schools should be places where students learn to think critically and creatively about information and communication. Our students should be competent users of digital technologies to locate resources, process information, communicate ideas, and build cross-cultural collaborations. All this means a big shift in learning . Consequently, the roles of teachers and the way they teach should change greatly.

In his post, 14 Trends We Should Be Thinking About, Will Richardson writes about how the 14 trends in Mary Meeker ‘s 2015 report should be considered as eye openers for those of us thinking about the K-12 world of learning as they suggest that our curriculum and practice is out of date. The connected world has brought up a new culture of learning. We should embrace these new learning contexts in our work to prepare our students for their own learning journeys and update our curriculum accordingly. In the following three posts, I’ll try to show how we can integrate the three new literacies – digital, media, and global literacy – into our traditional literacy curriculum to create schools that work not only for us, teachers but for our students, too as Eric Sheninger says in his TEDx 2014 talk:

What do you think? Are you happy with your present curriculum or do you think it is worth going out of your comfort zone to create a different learning journey for your students? Please let me know.


In our teach-infused world today, educating our students about being responsible and ethical online will not only keep them safe but also allow them to enjoy and utilize all the opportunities available online. Digital citizenship helps them learn to use technology responsibly and safely. Students need to understand their rights as content creators and respect the rights of others. They need to be aware of the privacy issues, the risks of online interaction, as well as their rights, roles, and responsibilities in a digital world.

To empower our students as responsible digital citizens functioning effectively, ethically, and safely in the digital world, we decided to design a K-12 digital citizenship curriculum for our school and integrate digital citizenship resources into our program.  You can see all the resources we have checked so far in the slides below. With the help of the digital citizenship curriculum, we want our students to answer the questions such as who they want to be online, which ethical rules guide their interactions and the content they create.

One of the reasons why we blog with our students almost at all levels is to enable them to practice digital citizenship rather than learning about it from external sources. Here, you can see the digital citizenship page of my class blog. While reading all the posts on the blogging guidelines and the digital citizenship pages, my students posted their opinion on the important concepts they had learnt and their questions on TodaysMeet. They then started doing the comic strips project they had been assigned. The aim of this project was to see how much they understood from what they had read. You can see the comic strips my ESL students created on the home page of our blog. Later in the year, they are going to make their own videos on plagiarism , watch this TED talk by Juan Enriquez, have a class discussion, and write a blog post about it.  This talk is a great way to teach  students about the significance of their digital footprint.

As their digital citizenship project, we asked our grade 10 students to prepare a digital poster on a tool like Glogster or a presentation on tools like Prezi or Buncee or a flyer on a tool like Smore for middle school students. Grade 9 students played the the Digizen game after watching the movie Let’s Fight it Together and wrote a blog post about the movie. They also created their own digizen to express their online values and wishes. Digizen also has good resources you can use with your younger students to teach social networking.

We chose a game-based approach to teach digital citizenship to our primary and middle school students. Common Sense Media, Carnegie Cyber AcademyPlanet Nutshell, Media Smarts, and ThinkUKnow have great games for students at different age groups. Wild Web Woods is an online internet safety game for young learners by the Council of Europe available in 27 languages. After playing the games in these websites, students wrote game reviews and created their own digital safety rules using the information they learned.

How do you teach digital citizenship at your school? I look forward to your feedback.



Technology has enabled us to access to more content and information than ever before. Therefore,  the instructional paradigm shift today requires us to focus on the human expressive capability rather than knowledge. We can transform learning by creating and sharing knowledge in many ways. In the past, consuming and producing words through reading and writing and, to a lesser extent, listening and speaking were enough while teaching literacy. Students were using these skills often to show that they knew or memorized the information. Today, what students make, design, invent is much more important than what they know. Digital expression is the new literacy and creativity is the new fluency.

By Jason Elsom

With the introduction of the inexpensive, easy-to-use, and widely available technology tools, digital literacy – including sound, graphics, and moving images – has become popular. Integrating digital literacy, art, oral literacy and writing into a single narrative or “media collage,” such as a Web page, a video, an e-portfolio or a blog is crucial for personal, academic and workplace success in our age.

SOURCE: Flickr (Created by Langwitches)

The reason why digital storytelling has become so popular is because students love expressing themselves using different forms of media. Through e-portfolios, blogs, slide presentations, animations and visually differentiated text, students can demonstrate learning in ways that require them to analyze, synthesize, evaluate and apply what they know about a particular content domain. What motivates students more is the fact that their work will be shared and assessed not only by their classmates and teachers but by a global audience as well. Many students are excited about this and they say they try a lot harder for the global audience. Via social networking students interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts or others employing a variety of digital environments and media. Using social media in the classroom will surely increase student engagement as it is a real life experience. Through collaborative global projects students will develop cultural understanding and global awareness by engaging with learners of other cultures and contribute to project teams to produce original works or solve problems, all of which are essential 21st century skills.




During the last decades technology has caused a lot of changes in our lives socially, politically and economically. What about education? Has education changed right along with the demands of the society?Today, many businesses require workers that can work in small, collaborative groups, which means we should use project-based learning in the classroom that allows students to work in small groups and to apply the academic content they are learning to real life situations. They want us to educate students who can be collaborators, thinkers, and innovators. However, in many classrooms, you can still see students sitting isolated in rows, listening to their teachers lecturing at the board all day.



We all know that we need to get away from teacher-led classrooms and create classrooms that are learner centered to meet the demands of our rapidly changing world and we have a great tool to be able to do that: technology. We all agree that we have to do everything to empower our students for their future. Then, why don’t we integrate it in education since we have the means to make a change in learning so that our students can create, communicate, connect and collaborate to be contributing citizens to their future!


In the video below, Scott McLeod, J.D., Ph.D, discusses his views on the importance of technology in learning and the need to revolutionize education to give kids the skills they need to compete in an increasingly interconnected and digital world.



Teaching with technology does not mean uploading lessons on tablets and giving them to students to use. It has two other important dimensions. Bringing technology to our classrooms will help our students become digitally savvy by using the web 2.0 tools that will enhance their learning and creativity. If we give our students the opportunity to use these tools during the learning process, we will see the very many ways they will help us create students who can think critically, problem solve, and work collaboratively. Today, most jobs require the use of technology, which is another reason why teachers should give students experience working with technology through group projects and classroom assignments to be able to prepare them for the future. We should also consider the fact that we are preparing many of our students for jobs that do not exist yet.


The second important dimension is related to social networking, which has an incredible impact on learning. Students have the capability of learning from each other through the use of social sites, with the supervision and support of their teachers. By enabling them to connect with people around the globe, we will be opening their minds to perspectives and experiences that go far beyond the four walls of the classroom.

As a further step, we can also publish student work for a global audience and have them teach others what they have learned by presenting or sharing their work online. This will help students think about how they can give back to the broader learning community and how this can help shape their future. It will also give the students the opportunity to be assessed by a global audience. They will eventually become self-directed learners through the guidance of their skillful teachers who know when, where and how to use technology to enable this. Therefore, instead of banning the use of many technological devices in the classrooms, school administrations should encourage and train teachers to use them. Please watch the video below showing how one principal made a change in his school and went from being anti-social media to being known as ‘Mr. Twitter’ by his students.



Integrating technology in education has another important dimension from the teachers’ perspective: Networking between schools both nationally and internationally, where educators and administrators can work collaboratively and share educational resources and practices. The concept of Personal Learning Environments (PLE) has become important as teachers and administrators all around the globe can exchange ideas, and share resources with the spread of technology and social networking sites like Twitter, Pinterest, Diigo and many others. Today, educators who have never met before have become connected and Personal Learning Networks (PLN) have a significant role in professional development. They create connections and develop a network that contributes to their professional development and knowledge with people they don’t necessarily know. Connected Principals blog is a good example of 21st century collaboration among principals.



We often discuss how teachers find teaching with technology in the classroom, what is difficult and what is easy for them when confronted with tech tools. It also might be worth looking at how our students, digital natives – people very much at home with these technologies – think about education and what is important for them in the digital age. The infographic by MacMillan Education below shows how students go beyond traditional forms of education and how we can apply mobile learning into everyday teaching.

Via: Voxy Blog


Does this mean that technology is the only solution to the problems in education? Of course not! There is no substitute for a skillful teacher in the classroom who effectively plans instruction according to the needs of each learner to actively engage and involve them in the learning process, creating a learning environment allowing the students to communicate and collaborate with others effectively and to be innovative. Technology is a tool that needs to be coupled with effective teaching from educators to enhance the learning process for students. Therefore, we need highly skilled teachers that can creatively use technology in the classroom to create a meaningful 21st century learning environment for students.




I strongly believe that, if used appropriately and meaningfully and combined with effective teaching strategies, digital technology helps learning to be active, engaging, and fun. Therefore, we should all be the facilitators of these opportunities so that our students can learn in a safe and meaningful way and can become connected learners just like us. If we do that, students will not only contribute to their future, but define and lead it as well. In this amazing, rapidly changing era where we can enhance and accelerate learning by integrating technology in education, the schools that understand the importance of education technology and provide their staff and students with training and access to digital learning tools will certainly have a distinct advantage over the others who ban or disregard them.

Credits to Crissy Venosdale


What do you think about teaching with technology and its role in enhancing learning?
How do you manage your PLN? Please let me know.