Making the Shift Happen

Making the Shift Happen: Embracing 21st Century Learning at Your School

Facilitated by Kim Cofino at the NESA Fall Training Institute in Abu Dhabi, October 29-30, 2011.

This presentation has also been offered at:

Workshop Overview

Embracing 21st century learning on a school-wide basis is a complex process. From developing a shared understanding of a 21st century learning environment to ensuring quality technological infrastructure to embracing a new perspective on teaching and learning, there are many pieces to this puzzle. From the individual classroom practitioner, to the technology facilitator, to the school administrator, this hands-on, project-based workshop will bring together the essential components of a 21st century school: Envisioning the Future, Pedagogy, Staffing, Community, and Infrastructure.

Envisioning the Future: Participants will explore the future of networked learning, building an understanding of how our current model of education may be changing faster than we think. How are people learning collaboratively, through networked communities, even at great distances? What can we learn about the future of education from these unique, very specialized groups?
Action: Participants will develop their own media-rich product inspired by a collection of spontaneous online learning communities.

Pedagogy: With a focus on pedagogy and the backwards design process, we will explore the use of a variety of (free) web 2.0 tools like blogs, wikis, podcasts and collaborative multimedia in order to develop an authentic, engaging and media-rich unit which can be implemented in your classroom. In addition, we will explore new ways of sharing and collaborating in today’s digital world, including Creative Commons licensing, blogs as classroom websites and e-portfolios, Twitter and Facebook as community builders, and the critical importance of visual literacy in the classroom.
Action: Participants will create a media-rich unit to implement on Monday.

Staffing: Building and sustaining 21st century teaching and learning practices requires a new kind of support structure, focusing on human relationships and pedagogy. Many schools label this position as a Technology Facilitator, but there are a surprising number that don’t yet see the need for this role. How can schools develop successful partnerships between teachers and facilitator to bring out the full potential of their technology-rich learning environment?
Action: Participants will design a job description for a Technology Facilitator role at their school, based on examples shared from other international schools around the world.

Infrastructure: Building a school environment that offers ubiquitous access to technology involves much more than just the physical hardware. Unpacking and understanding the complex dynamics of developing a shared understanding and vision for learning, as well as the reality of managing a 1:1 environment are the foundational practicalities of creating a successful 21st century learning environment. Exploring Technology Visions, Standards and Benchmarks, and implementation strategies from other international schools will help participants build a well rounded understanding of the infrastructure needed.
Action: Participants will develop a shared vision for learning with technology, along with a customized “to-do” list specifically for their school.

Community: Along with the appropriate staffing, tapping into the potential of the entire community through parent workshops, student leadership, supporting administrators’ technological growth and understanding, and cross-divisional teacher leaders can play a critical role in moving your school forward. Successful ideas from several international schools will be shared so that you can begin to develop your own plan to move your community forward.
Action: Participants will design a year-long community learning plan for teachers, administrators and parents based on ideas and experiences from the workshop.

Enduring Understandings

As a result of this workshop, participants will:

  • Develop a unit or lesson featuring technology-rich learning opportunities that can be implemented in their classroom immediately.
  • Understand the power of networked learning, both for teachers and students.
  • Begin building (or continue expanding) their own Personal Learning Network using tools like Twitter, blogs, RSS, Diigo, podcasts, Ning and Skype.
  • Explore the future of learning, through the use of innovative technology tools, and examples of current and upcoming projects.
  • Experience successful and sustainable models for professional development and community learning.
  • Unpack the needs of their individual school and develop a practical plan for moving forward.
  • Be inspired to try new technologies in your classroom like Scratch, screen-casting, and Creative Commons media.
  • Connect with interested and enthusiastic colleagues from around the region, and the world.
  • Experience a hands-on workshop model where student-centered, project-based learning is fully integrated with a technology-rich environment. The strategies, structures and techniques in this model are easily applied to the classroom setting.


Workshop Schedule

Day1 Day2
9:00-10:30 Part 1: Envisioning the Future Part 5: Infrastructure
10:30-11:00 Coffee Break Coffee Break
11:00-12:30 Part 2: Pedagogy Part 6: Community
12:30-1:30 Lunch Lunch
1:30-3:00 Part 3: SpeedGeeking Part 7: Project Share
3:00-3:30 Coffee Break
3:30-5:00 Part 4: Staffing
Day 1 Feedback Survey Final Workshop Feedback Survey


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