@MCDPEL Innovations Lab

Has the term '21st Century' run its course?

Posted by Joe Mazza

3/9/16 9:42 PM

Do buzzwords and other forms of edujargon put up unnecessary obstacles?

This is not a new issue around the field, and using fancy words to describe teaching, learning and leadership goes back a long time. I can recall setting up my resume with great meticulation hoping to land a job as a classroom teacher right out of college. "Life-long learner" was the buzz word every one of my professors and mentors encouraged me to use to describe myself. Although it made perfect sense to me back then, I have a completely different definition of the word sixteen years into the field. Connectivity, asynchronous forms of personalized youth and adult learning has taken teaching, learning and leadership development to new levels today. One of goals of the @MCDPEL Digital Leadership module is to remove any existing enigma that comes packaged with every high and low tech buzz word heard in the field, shared in a trending TedTalk or discussed in someone's online whitepaper. They are everywhere, and, as we'll model during an upcoming class session, one could make a pretty interesting gameshow on edujargon of education's past, present and future. 

One phrase that continues to see a lot of exposure nationally, and locally here in the Philadelphia area is '21st Century Learning.' As someone who attends a decent amount of conferences during the year, I can't remember the last conference that did not have sessions titled 21st Century Leadership, 21st Century Learning, 21st Century Family and Community Engagement or another combo of the phrase you might of seen or heard on Twitter.

On this week's 14-minute Getting Schooled podcast, @PennEdEquity Jennifer MacMillan asks @MCDPEL's Leadership Innovation Manager Joe Mazza (@Joe_Mazza) the following questions:

  1. What does the term 21st Century family and community engagement mean in 2016? 
  2. You've mentioned that social media needs to be more than just a handle and a hashtag, but a personal experience. Can you talk about this?
  3. How do our own assumptions create barriers in this work?
  4. From your dual lens of a parent and an educator, what's one thing parents can do to be more connected to their child's education? 
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Topics: Family & Community Engagement (FCE), blended learning, school leadership, 21st century, teaching