Tagged “21st Century Skills”

Podcast Whole Child Podcast

STEM Makers and Shakers

From specialty schools to courses and programs of study within larger school offerings, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education is an interdisciplinary approach where academic learning is matched with authentic projects. Engaging students in these practical, kid-centered projects develops critical thinking and problem solving skills, fosters creativity, and inspires innovation. Examples of STEM implementation demonstrate new and creative ways to bring education meaningfully to life for students with hands-on, real-world applications.

On this episode of the Whole Child Podcast, ASCD's Walter McKenzie and guests explore what it means to be a "STEM school," its place in a supportive and challenging whole child approach to education, and share working models. Listen to the episode below or download.


  • Jackie Gerstein is an independent thinker and advocates for providing students the education they deserve. She has been teaching in-person and online for several decades and currently teaches master's-level online courses in educational technology for Boise State University, American Intercontinental University, and Western's Governors' University. She believes that one of the responsibilities of the 21st century education is to share resources, ideas, and instructional strategies with other educators. Connect with Gerstein through her blog, User Generated Education, and on Twitter @jackiegerstein.

    (Mark your calendars for the 2015 ASCD Annual Conference and Exhibit Show in Houston, Tex., where Gerstein will copresent a session titled "The Flipped Learning Toolkit for the Busy Teacher: Tips and Tricks for Practice" on March 21. Go to annualconference.ascd.org to learn more and register.)

  • Pamela Moran has served as superintendent of Albemarle County (Va.) Public Schools since January 2006. She oversees a division with an annual operating budget of $151 million, with more than 1,100 teachers educating 13,000 students in 26 schools. During her tenure, Albemarle County Public Schools has become one of the top performing school divisions in Virginia with an on-time graduation rate of 93 percent. Moran has long had a commitment to providing broad-based and innovative learning opportunities for students, believing that excellence in multiple disciplines provides students with the skills essential to becoming successful as citizens, in the workforce, and in post-secondary education. Connect with Moran through her blog, A Space for Learning, and on Twitter @pammoran.
  • Amanda Siewert is a passionate new educator who teaches at the Colorado STEM Academy. She began working with Colorado ASCD during her senior year of undergraduate university study and has been active since. Her mission statement is this: "Inspire each child to reach their full potential." This mission carries over into her interest of creating opportunities for teachers to grow as educators into their full potential. Connect with Siewert on Twitter @msaes14.

What does a focus on STEM look like in today's classrooms and across content areas? What are the implications for teaching and learning now and in the not-so-distant future?

Whole Child Symposium

Self-Selecting, Real-World Learning Communities

Post written by Walter McKenzie

Imagine in your mind, a map of your community. Nothing detailed; just the boundaries and general lay of the land. Got it? Now add in the major areas in your community where people live and work and play. You know, to give yourself some bearings with a few landmarks. Still with me? Good! Now convert this mental image into a heat map. You know, where the hot spots flare up in bright yellows, oranges and reds? Picture in your mind hot spots that indicate places people go to learn new things and practice skills that are important to them. Where are those heat surges? Athletic fields? Dance studios? Book stores? Parks and beaches? Art galleries? Theaters? How about school buildings? No? Why aren’t school building hot spots on anyone's heat map?

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Whole Child Symposium

Transforming Schools to Become Innovation Ready

Post written by Laura Varlas

Because tests don't require connection and collaboration, classroom education is being driven in one direction, while technology enables creation, curation, and connection.

Educators are up against a global achievement gap, Tony Wagner explained in his 2014 ASCD Annual Conference session, "Graduating All Students 'Innovation Ready.'" That is, the gap between the skills students need and the skills that are driven by the testing culture dominating U.S. education.

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ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Rethinking Classroom Pedagogy in the Standards-Driven Classroom

ASCD Annual Conference and Exhibit ShowPost written by Amber Medin

The long-term benefits of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) have been touted by the academic community at large, yet it's often difficult to envision the light at the end of the tunnel when dealing with the demands and challenges of actual classroom implementation. Although these standards make it clear what is expected of students, many teachers are left without a road map explaining how to approach and properly convey this new material in the classroom.

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Sara Truebridge

Educating The New Humanity: Educating Beyond 21st Century Skills

Parents are faced with an enormous task in raising today's child. The increasing economic burdens, the changing family structure, the additional demands on time, and the concerns of a safe environment all contribute to the challenge of raising a child.

As society has become more complex and parents' roles are challenged, so too are the roles of teachers.

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Kit Harris, ASCD Research

ED Pulse Poll Results: What Is the Most Important Task That Could Be Accomplished by Teaching Using Essential Questions?

ASCD continually seeks to provide solutions to the challenges that face educators of all levels. Recently, the ASCD SmartBrief ED Pulse poll asked readers about tasks that can be achieved by employing essential questions.

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Pauline Gremaud

The Tools for a Successful Young Learner

Education begins in preschool and kindergarten for a reason. These are important formative years where students build skills and develop behaviors to carry them through many years of learning. As a kindergarten teacher, I make it my goal for students to leave my classroom at the end of the year as capable, confident learners.

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Thom Markham

Reframing Resiliency: Let’s Make It an Outcome

The whole child movement, in my view, is weighed down by society's current inability to conceive of children as whole beings. Instead, we dissect them. Academic learning is distinguished from social-emotional learning, as if brain and heart operate in isolation. The brain itself gets divided into forebrain, hindbrain, mammalian brain, limbic system, and so on, furthering the mistaken assumption that the brain performs its miracles through isolated modules. A steady diet of units, pacing guides, and curriculum strategies reinforces this skewed view by taking a narrow aim at stimulating a child's cognitive apparatus rather than their inner life.

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Start Empathy

Empathy: The Most Important Back-to-School Supply

Post written by Homa Tavangar, author of Growing Up Global and a contributor to Ashoka's Start Empathy Initiative, a whole child partner organization. Originally published for Edutopia's back-to-school blog series.

My most important back-to-school supply doesn't fit in a backpack, and it can't be ordered online. It's as essential as a pencil, but unlike a pencil, no technology can replace it. In a sense, like a fresh box of crayons, it can come in many colors. Better than the latest gadget, it's possible to equip every student with it, and even better, when we do, it can transform our world.

It's actually a "muscle" I've been working on all summer. It's empathy.

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Rich McKinney

How Can 20th Century Teachers Lead 21st Century Learners?

For years, school researchers have pointed to the digital divide between students from disparate socioeconomic groups as a major problem in public education. But now a different digital divide is receiving a closer look as research chronicles the widening gulf between the technology skills of teachers and the students who enter classrooms across the United States. While students often tend to be the earliest adopters of new technology, many teachers find that after lesson planning and grading there is little time left to become tech savvy. Unfortunately, many choose not to stay current, and they simply ignore or avoid technology as they continue to teach the same lessons in the same fashion. Therein lies the problem. Nearly 70 years ago, John Dewey claimed, "If we teach today's students as we taught yesterday's, we rob them of tomorrow." Dewey's prescient understanding of our emerging divide begs the question, "How can 20th century teachers effectively teach and lead 21st century learners?" While others have suggested a long-term solution that classroom educators must become 21st century teachers, I propose that the first step is in becoming a 21st century learner.

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