It’s my pleasure today to host Ben Curran and Neil Wetherbee of Engaging Educators as they share the introduction from their new book, Learning in the 21st Century: How to Connect, Collaborate, and Create, published by GHF Press. The publisher is also offering one lucky reader a FREE copy of the book (details at the end of this post).
Learning in the 21st Century is perfect for parents (homeschoolers and afterschoolers) who want a crash course in educational technology in the Information Age. If you’ve ever wondered how you can use your home learning lab as a place where your kids develop the tech skills sought in the marketplace while minimizing risk of exposure to “creepy-crawly people” online, then dive in to Ben and Neil’s book. ~ Pamela
Imagine for a moment that you let all of the changes of the past 30 years pass you by. No Internet. No cell phones. No DVDs. No Facebook. No cable TV. No GPS. And so on. Can you imagine how different your life would be?
Now consider this: Our nation’s education system has remained the same for not just the past 30 years, but perhaps the past 100! The world has transformed on an epic scale. Our schools have not. This could be one reason you have decided to homeschool your children. It’s certainly one of the biggest motivators in our quest to help transform teaching and learning. (Our own six kids are our other biggest motivators!)
We’ve been working in education for a combined 20+ years and we believe learning should be fun. We believe it should be collaborative. We believe kids deserve to be connected with other kids from different regions and cultures. And, we believe they deserve the opportunity to be creators, instead of consumers, of academic content and information. We also believe that as a homeschooler, you have all the freedom that educators in traditional settings do not. Why not harness that power and discover the value of 21st century learning and the excitement of connected, collaborative, student-centered learning? Why not devote yourself to preparing your children to enter a world vastly different from the one you entered after high school and college? Your children, and ours, will be expected to know how to do things our schools aren’t teaching. We are happy to serve as your guides.
Think of this book as your manual for building a 21st century learning experience. It is our goal to provide you and your children with enough ideas and inspiration to connect, collaborate, and create. Whether you’re tech savvy or a novice, we want to not only teach you how to make these things happen, but to also push you to re-imagine the possibilities of learning in the 21st century.
Here’s how we’ll do it:
In the first section of this book, Connect, we share ideas for connecting with other homeschoolers and families via social media outlets such as blogs and Twitter.
Once you’re connected with other families, we show you in Collaborate how to engage in collaborative educational experiences with people across town or across the globe.
Finally, in Create, we provide descriptions of several online tools your children can use to create digital learning artifacts (explained later), as well as detailed explanations of some digital projects we’ve tried with students to help you get started.
As you read, we encourage you to have your computer nearby, so that you can try out the ideas we’re going to share with you. Also, be sure to use the space at the end of each section for note-taking. Feel free to dive right in to everything discussed, or try one new idea at a time and become really comfortable with it before adding a second idea to your 21st century homeschool experience. With this text as your handbook, you’ll be ready to transform your home learning environment and transport you and your children on an exciting journey that will hopefully last a lifetime.
For a chance to win a copy of Learning in the 21st Century, leave a comment on this post describing “why” you need it at your house or classroom.
For an extra chance to win, tweet a link to this post (you must cc: me at @RedWhiteandGrew).
Deadline for entries is 5pm CST on Thursday, March 7, 2013. The winner will be announced in the comments section of this post and on my Facebook page the week of March 11, 2013.
• GHF Press is part of Gifted Homeschoolers Forum