November 2009


Good afternoon—thank you for welcoming me; it is great to be joining you all in ISAS.

Rhonda’s agenda explains that Mark and I are here because we are both passionate about 21st c. ed—let me tell you about how I came to be so passionate.

About 16 months ago, I found myself confronting a funny year in my life, a year with a salary but without a job.  So I was looking for something to do.  I had read the book that is now a movie, the Julie-Julia project, and so I thought for a moment about spending the year cooking my way through Julia Child.  But I ruled that out after beef wellington.   Instead, I decided upon a different kind of blog project.

I was very interested in the conversation about 21st century skills, something for which Dan Pink’s book first ignited my interest.   But I didn’t just want to look at skills: I wanted to look at how kids are learning today and about what’s working in schools at the kids’ level.   Like Tony Wagner explains in Global Achievement Gap, a book which greatly informed my project, what happens in the classroom is most important.   I also remembered Michael Thompson in Pressured Child—where he explains that to know about learning at a school , you need to shadow a student.

So I did it: like Julie Powell,  I set up a blog and created a little bit of a stunt,  (more…)

In this excellent new book published this fall, we have a valuable addition to the growing corpus.  Both co-authors, Bernie Trilling and Charles Fadel, are tightly linked to the Partnership for 21st century skills (P-21, HQ in Tucson!), and the book, in its less valuable sections, is a reiteration of P-21 concepts and diagrams– these sections add nothing new to what has already been published or distributed by P21.

But, to this reader, there are half a dozen discussions that very genuinely do add value to my understanding, and I intend to devote a blog post to each, beginning today with the first:

  1. the priority placed on creativity and innovation, and upon leadership, as essential 21st c. skills;
  2. the focus upon team problem-solving as best practice classroom learning;
  3. the recognition that 21st c. education is 21st century because of the convergence of forces which make it contemporary and vital;
  4. the inversion of Bloom’s taxonomy;
  5. the value placed on one of my favorites, Problem-Based learning;
  6. and the careful explication of the Bicycle Model of Project Based Learning.
  7. Also interesting are discussions of faculty development, assessment, and classroom design.

Creativity and Innovation: Regular readers know that we at St. Gregory have chosen innovation as a central theme, and it is nice to see this book lead with this emphasis, in an introductory chapter entitled “Learning to Innovate, Innovative Learning.”   (more…)

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