Sunday, July 11, 2010

How different is it?

Picture descriptions:
Images:Arthur's Pass, South Island, New Zealand.

Related sites to the Spatialworlds project
Spatialworlds website
21st Century Geography Google Group
Australian Geography Teachers' Association website
'Towards a National Geography Curriculum' project website
Geography Teachers' Association of South Australia website
Email contact

Where am I??
Adelaide, Australia: S: 34º 55' E: 138º 36'

Is 21st Century change real?

Further to my April blog entry on 21st Century skills, over recent months I have been exploring the nature of the social, political and economic changes in our society over the past 20 years (or rather the turn of the century changes heading into the century we are already 10 years into). If this change is real and significant, as it undoubtedly is, then there are huge implications to schools in terms of curriculum, teaching/pedagogy and classroom environment. Such changes are very necessary because the most significant impact of the 21st Century changes is the distinct change to the nature of the student as a learner. In the next few blog postings I am going to explore various aspects of these changes. Sorry to the spatial education followers of Spatialworlds for this deviation into the world of educational theory but in fact such identification of the changes and their implications for schooling provides a sound argument as to why we need to use spatial technology and develop spatial literacy skills in schools. With so much data attached to place and the mobility of humanity in the 21st Century, spatial skills and technology are the skills of the 21t Century. However they continue to be ignored and not understood by the education community. Hence the reason for my paper which forms the basis of these blog entries on 21st Century change. I will be interested to read your responses.

Here it goes! Part 1.

Much is written about what is a 21st Century curriculum. As we are immersed in the writing of the Australian Curriculum it is important that we review and assess the curriculum developed through the lens of the copious literature which has been written on the nature of 21st Century change and the need for a distinct educational response. Since the early 1990’s educationalists have been thinking and surmising about how the changing world of the 21st Century will impact on education and in turn what are the implications for the learners, teachers, schools, classrooms and curriculum. This paper challenges the notion that we can continue maintaining the education status quo and just ignore the societal, environmental and economic changes that are upon us in the 21st Century. It is becoming increasingly obvious to many that the “factory style” of education which was developed in the 19th Century for the requirements of the Industrial Age is not suited to the information rich interconnected globalised world of the 21st Century. Although we have grown up with and feel comfortable with the system as it now exists, we may need to consider significant educational change to meet the requirements of the 21st Century citizen. What does this new world look like? Some would argue that a paradigm shift is not required but just some tweaking of what we presently do. The danger that this tweaking may simply mean technology is added but we continue to do much the same in philosophy and practice. The next few blog entries will ultimately focus on the impact of 21st Century changes on geography in schools but initially we need to look at the nature of 21st change and the likely impact of the changing 21st Century world on educational practice overall. In the next blog I will try to identify the most significant socio-economic changes which have occurred over the past few decades.

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