I always argue that we are 14 years into the 21st century so why do we still use that term when describing teachers, students, technology and tools. A great argument as far as I am concerned. Then someone brought to my attention that every grade 8 in our building was born in 2000 or 2001. You could hear the brain matter shift, turn, implode and explode in my head. I had never thought of it like that.
My mind was blown.
I don’t much care for the term “21st century” anything when it comes to education. It’s a buzzword – and close to 15 years old. I have said that before and am saying it again now. I have only taught in the 21st century – I went to university in the 21st century! And I have been teaching for almost 9 years now!!
A matter of perspective. Forget that it is almost 2015, and think about this next paragraph.
Every student in my school is a 21st century student – or just student, for short. Think about that. They only know “21st century” anything – school, the movies, games, apps, friendships, trends etc. Its all “21st century”.
Let me also point out that a century is 100 years. What are we really preparing for? Maybe we should call it “decade teaching” or “decade learning” as my students will hit college or university in this decade. Work too, for many.
I don’t mean to sound negative, but I am curious as to why we throw out the terms. Almost like a justification that the “current practices” we do are right, because they are “modern”. The reality is we love buzzwords. My good buddy Bill made me think of this today – thanks @mrbillforrester. Genious hour, growth mindset, inquiry – all buzzy. But we need the labels – and so do students. It’s comforting, and that’s OK.
I just question the “21st century” – its been too long, and we have 85 years to go in this century. If you think “maker space” or “coding” is 21st century – then I hope you watch the video below from 1972. Thanks to someone I have in high regard – Peter Skillen – for making me think at #bit14.
Seymour Aubrey Papert (born February 29, 1928) is an MIT mathematician, computer scientist, and educator. He is one of the pioneers of artificial intelligence, as well as an inventor of the Logo programming language.
What do you think? Is “21st century” a blanket for something more? Can we rename it? Do we need the label?