Themes for 21st Century Education

by Jean Tower

As one of many volunteers working on the 2010 MassCUE / M.A.S.S. conference (October 27 & 28), I have been active with the conference committee in organizing breakout sessions. This means reading proposals, recruiting presenters, and helping to make sure we have sessions that cover all the strands and that will appeal to all our audiences. The title for the conference this year is Today’s Global Learners—Tomorrow’s Global Leaders and the breakout session descriptions are really living up to the theme. In anticipation of registration for the conference opening very soon, I will post several breakout session descriptions over the next few days.

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The session below, Themes for 21st Century Education, is a panel session, and the moderator and panelists are Massachusetts School Superintendents, members of M.A.S.S. If you are an educator in Massachusetts or New England, quality breakout sessions like this one should provide the impetus for you to come to Gillette Stadium in October for the conference. If you are further away, maybe this description will inspire you to convene something similar for your state conference.

Breakout session description:

Where is public education headed?  We know that technology has exploded the possibilities for teaching and learning. We also know that our students must be prepared for life and work in a global context. And we know that certain competencies will be required in the workforce of the future. So what is the debate about 21st Century Skills all about? Is it about curriculum? Is it, as some say, about lowering the high content standards that have put Massachusetts first in the nation in student achievement? Finally, how does technology power the acquisition and application of skills, and support efforts to globalize the existing curriculum?

A panel of superintendents will discuss their work to deepen their understanding of the trends in technology, global education, and workforce skills as they relate to the mission of schools and districts in the years ahead.  The panelists will share their learning, reflect upon the tension between skills and content, and provide examples of what exemplary schools are doing to prepare students for life and work in the global village.

Moderator:
Anthony Bent, Leominster Public Schools

Panelists:
Maureen LaCroix, Bedford Public Schools
Kristine  Nash,  Hanover Public Schools
Ann Frederick-Koufman, Watertown Public Schools

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