EdTech & Instruction for 21st Century Skill Building

Presented By: Natalie O’Neil

Keywords: New Literacies, Problem-Based Learning, and Flexible Learning

This session will actively engage educators in innovative, practical methods for incorporating educational technology into instruction to enhance student engagement through participation, composition, analysis, and reflection through a blended approach to ensure that student tasks are meaningful, scaffolded and differentiated. As educators, we encourage our students to become critical thinkers who make meaning for themselves. However, some students lack the motivation needed to engage in tasks that fit within the curriculum/syllabus. If educators are to motivate their multimodal students in the 21st century, they must consider the evolution of new literacies as tools for student engagement. Students must recognize the value of completing a task in order to be engaged in it. As students establish goals and correlate the value of the task with their ability to complete it, they become motivated(Csikszentmihalyi, 1997). By setting goals that are achievable yet still challenging, students are more motivated to learn (Schunk, et.al, 2008). Motivating 21st century students requires the acknowledgement that learners make meaning in multiple ways, and associating a task as valuable requires students to make connections with various modes and mediums (Kress and Van Leeuwen, 2001). As students are unique, so too is their means of connecting with a task. Developing activities that acknowledge students’ multimodality can motivate students, and encourage collaboration and critical analysis skills through interdisciplinary foci and the use of technology (Reilly, et. al, 2013). Through technology, we can engage our students to collaborate and participate (Jenkins et al). Digital spaces can become platforms for increasing multiliteracies (Hicks et al) and student empowerment (Devoss et al). This workshop will demonstrate activities that engage 21st century students by addressing their need to find meaning and use technology while meeting the requirements of their coursework. The presenter will suggest digitools to promote collaboration (Google Docs), active reading (Google Docs, NewsELA), writing as a process (Citelighter), and organization and will guide the audience through using project-based learning activities that focus on student-centered (PearDeck, Snagit), inquiry-based participation of students. Ideas for incorporating multimedia to transform traditional tasks will be demonstrated as a means to ensure students express, analyze, and appropriate (remix) information. Easily integrated, cross-discipline tools will also be referenced along with reproducible activities, rubrics, and students samples. Attendees will explore valuable educational technology and how to integrate each seamlessly into their classroom instruction, thereby ensuring instructors are equipped to prepare their students with 21st century skills, while encouraging students to find their voice and create a multidimensional representation of themselves and their learning process.

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