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Professional Learning Module
Allow 60-90 Minutes

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Learning Intention
For participants to understand the global, social and societal context for which Ultranet was developed. To become aware of the educational shift towards 21st century learning and know the skills students will need to successfully negotiate their future. For participants to be able to identify areas of their teaching practice that need to change in line with 21st century pedagogies.


Introduction
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There is a genuine sense of urgency for 21st century learning in our schools.
Our society is in a constant state of flux as we adapt to major changes to world economies and long-term environmental changes. Tomorrow's citizens deserve an education that prepares them, and their nation's economy, to thrive in a world of rapid change and widespread globalisation.

For schools and teachers, there is a real need to find a way to connect with young people in meaningful and authentic ways. The world for today's students is markedly different to the one that teachers grew up in, and learned to teach for. For many of our students, much of the current curriculum lacks relevance and is somewhat removed from the everyday world they see as normal. The way the curriculum is presented and sometimes its content, fails to stimulate students to participate, let alone achieve excellence. To address the challenges of 21st century learning there needs to be a fundamental shift in the way we teach, an acceptance by teachers, with a sense of urgency, that some of our current teaching practices are obsolete and many are less relevant now than they were even five years ago.

The importance of deep thinking, investigative learning and students participating in communities of inquiry is crucial to improving learning. The Partnership for 21st Century Skills has developed a Framework for 21st Century Learning in which they identify a range of skills that will help students work and live in our globalised world. These skills include the ability to think critically and solve problems, to communicate and collaborate, to be personally accountable and socially responsible, to be globally aware and technologically literate. It is the responsibility of all schools to provide a curriculum that builds these capacities in its students.
[Adapted from the Hume 21st Century Learning Paper and the Positive Benefits of eLearning Whitepaper]


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Activity
Watch the two videos above and read the introductory statement.
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Activity
Discuss in small groups the following question with reference to the introductory statements and videos. Share your thoughts with the whole group.
  • What are the opportunities and challenges you see around 21st Century Learning?
Resources
Large sheets of paper and coloured textas
for small groups to record their thoughts and offer feedback at the end.

21st Century Learning with Ultranet
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Activity
View the "Learning in the Future" presentation.
Reflect:

  • How is your school catering for today‚Äôs digital learners?
  • What is already in place to support you and your school moving forward?
  • What will principals, teachers, students and parents find useful about the Ultranet?
Resources



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Activity
Planning for Personal Change

  • Think about your teaching program and practices. What would you like to change? How could you shift your current curriculum to include 21st century skills and teaching practices? Further develop the focus areas you have identified in your PDP.
  • Use the "Planning the Shift" proforma to plan the teaching practice/s you want to change over the next six to twelve months.
  • Consider what possibilities exist for using the Ultranet to enhance collaboration with your colleagues, within your school or across the network.
Resources






A survey conducted with teachers in August, 2010 using Poll Everywhere.











References & Resources

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21st Century Learning Web Sites


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