Monday, November 5, 2012

21st Century Literacies

There is a buzz in our field about the 21st century literacies in the fields, namely, global awareness, health, finance, business and entrepreneurship, civil and environment. As teachers we must support our students by making the content accessible to them in many different ways by incorporating arts and creativity. In my class, the students are subject to project base learning, which calls upon imagination and creativity of all students. The end product of each project, irrespective of the subject area, includes a creative component, like producing a poster, a website, a poem, comics or a book. They always work in groups on projects related to real life problems/issues related to one or the other literacies mentioned above.
In the process of working through the projects, the students must think critically about the problem/issue being presented to them. They identify the information they need in order to get to the solution and research the resources where they can find the information.  Then they process the information and data that they collected, to draw meaningful inferences and pull them together into the final product.
The students always work in groups, size depending on the complexity and length of the task. They discuss, interact, communicate and collaborate with each other in their group to get through the projects. They depend on each other’s skills and strengths to fulfill various demands of the lengthy projects. For example, one student may work on collecting information, one may be good at analysis and work on that, while another student may like to work on the art component. Eventually, each student is graded for competing all the requirements of the project, his/her individual role/component, group participation and quality of work. Thus, everybody learns in the process, as well as, benefits from others by communicating and collaborating.

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