@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

Unpacking #EduCon w/ #StuVoice - Engaging Girls in #STEM

Posted by Joe Mazza

1/25/15 1:18 PM

At Burlington High School (@BurlMASchools), the Technology Innovation and Integration course is open to students in grades 10, 11, and 12, as a semester long, hands on study of technology integration in an educational context. Students are required to assess problem sets throughout the day and define the best approach to addressing or solving the problem. In addition to solving problems for students and teachers, students will be required to complete and maintain several running projects that address problems or solutions in educational technology integration. More info on the cour

se from the BHS Help Desk Wewebsite here.

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Topics: Conferences, blended learning, STEM, #educon, gender inequities, STEAM

Educators in the Public Square - Jose Vilson

Posted by Joe Mazza

11/10/14 12:30 PM


PennGSEā€™s Mid Career Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership presents a book talk with Jose Vilson (www.thejosevilson.com) on his ground breaking book This Is Not A Test. The event explores Mr. Vilson's perspectives as a Black Latino male classroom teacher who is also a leading voice in teacher leadership and the #EduColor movement. MCDPEL student Khalilah Harris (C11) leads the discussion as part of the Program's Student Leadership Challenge.


Questions Presented:

  • Are self-proclaimed education reformers seeking to empower communities to decide what reforms should look like in their communities?

  • Are schools of education and/or alternative education programs supporting or hindering education reform in the ways they recruit and prepare future educators?

  • Do education reform celebrities make space for and amplify the voices of people in communities they serve through their own bully pulpits?

  • Are the most prominent education reform agendas helpful and/or even beneficial to communities of color?

Format: The event was available LIVE on location AND virtually. Hashtag #pennedchat was engaged as an active backchannel for local and global interactivity. See what those engaged with Jose and Khalilah had to share on the Twitter backchannel below.

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Topics: Leadership, Network Outreach,, social media,, Personal Learning Network, school choice, blended learning, race,, culture,, class, cultural competency,

Educators in the Public Square - An Evening w/ @SamChaltain

Posted by Joe Mazza

9/30/14 3:07 PM

LIVE LINK: http://upenn.adobeconnect.com/pennedchat/

When: Saturday, October 18th @ 6:30PM EDT / 3:30 PM PST

Where: PennGSE's Mid-Career Doctoral Program in Ed Leadership, 3440 Market St, Philadelphia, PA-5th Floor Conf. Ctr.

What: Schools are in the midst of their biggest structural shifts in over a century -- from school choice to blended learning. But how clear is our vision of what the ideal schools of the future actually need to look like, and how are we supposed to get there from here?

Educator and writer Sam Chaltain believes that before we can realistically envision what ought to be, we need to become much clearer about what is. His newest book, Our School: Searching for Community in the Era of Choice, explores that is/ought tension via the yearlong stories of two public schools in DC -- one a brand-new charter school opening its doors for the first time, and the other a neighborhood school that first opened its doors in 1924. Join him, along with several of the educators whose journeys he chronicles, for a wide-ranging conversation about leadership, systems change, and the challenge of reimagining education for a changing world. The evening will focus on three guiding questions:

  1. What do schools need to start, stop and keep doing in order to reimagine themselves for a changing world?

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Topics: Leadership, Network Outreach,, social media,, Personal Learning Network, school choice, blended learning