Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The 21st Century Citizen

What is the purpose of education? Some people believe that it is to develop good citizens. Good citizens have the skills necessary to be productive members of society. So what are these skills? How does a person develop these skills? In an attempt to find the answers to these questions, I took a different approach. Would this be the same approach that a 21st century citizen would take? I started my search, but instead of just searching in Google I searched for blogs on this topic. I found a blog called 21st Century Citizen: Exploring the New Values of the 21st Century Citizen. I thought this would be a good place to start. Three Projects — AND Three Values on this blog states that anyone can do anything if they put their mind to it and that the values of society have to change. A good 21st Century Citizen should have values, know what is important to society, and want to contribute to the good of society.

As I read through the blogs, I looked at comments that people made. This lead me to other blogs and other articles on the same or similar topics. While visiting David Warlick's blog,
Christian commented that students need "programs that foster an ability to see patterns when things seemingly do not connect. Knowing where to find resources to help one makes sense of patterns forming…and knowing how to make ‘tangible’ what needs to come next." I believe that this is exactly what 21st Century citizens need to do. What role do we, as educators, take in helping to develop these types of skills in our students and make them good citizens?

So I continued to follow the links that presented themselves in the blogs that I visited and the comments they contained. This was a somewhat refreshing approach. I came across many different resources including podcast and videos. This was leading me in an interesting direction. I was mesmerized as I followed this path. I noticed that this was all one big conversation, a type of collaborative project. This is something that the 21st Century Citizen needs to know and be able to do. Is this what they mean by a social network?

Hey wait a minute am I being influenced here or am I really getting some concrete facts. Yes this information was mostly based on opinion, but how can you base the future on facts, especially when the future will look totally different. Then I came across a blog post,
Should an 18 Year Old Really Know What They’re Going to Do For the Rest of Their Life? How can anyone know what they're going to do the rest of their life when the world is changing so fast? We must "design 'schools as center of community', partnerships, new ideas re: learning styles & brain science, 'green' design, 'flex-spaces', emerging technologies, customizing learning opportunities for tomorrow's 'digital natives', etc." ( As our students graduate and become citizens, their paths will be uncertain. But if they develop skills and values, our students will be good citizens and help to develop good society.

What do you think the future holds for the School 2.0, Student 2.0, Graduate 2.0? Is there any hope for a Society 2.0? What do you think?


Craig said...

Your comments and thoughts are visionary and right on the money. What the 21st century will bring to any of our students is unknown. I agree as educators the best things we can do is prepare them for that future that is unknown by giving them the tools to discover it for themselves. This drastically changes the role of the educator but I believe in the long run it will expand our roles in the lives of our students.

K.A. said...

I would like to comment on the following statement that was written, “How can anyone know what they're going to do the rest of their life when the world is changing so fast?” Educational philosophy is different around the world. In The Netherlands, for example, a student needs to decide when she/he is 14 years old. The system is set up for them to follow different paths according to their ability and interests. I ask myself what does a 14 year old know? The only thing I can say of this system is that continual education is possible if he/she wishes to make a change, however, they need to make up what was missed and the financial burden is minimal.

Look at the costs of furthering your education today. When someone gets out of a university, for example, they may have over a $100,000 bill for their studies even before they start. How can you change with that type of burden hanging over one’s head? How can we expect to be an informed society if the majority of the individuals are not able to participate at a higher level? What is important and it’s cost is not in balance.

mgrantjemb said...

Even though technology advances and we all move our basic values need to stay the same. Sometimes I think there is a point where students learn in spite of us. Students today are certainly different than the students of 10 years ago and will continue to evolve. Our role should evolve as well. Perhaps someday we will actually see the shift. I think the new web 2.0 tools might just change the rules a little. My concern is that educators will take these tools and use them in the same manner that they use the old tools. New suit, same person underneath.