21st Century Literacy

Many of you have heard me speak about the explosion of data due to Web 3.0 and the “cloud.” Data can now be collected, organized, analyzed and synthesized to find trends, make predictions and make decisions in ways that just a couple of years ago was not possible. It is often referred to as Big Data.

There is so much data that it is becoming increasingly difficult to transmit it simply by text. More and more, we find that information is transmitted via sophisticated tables, graphs and charts. Consider the examples the data presents in the following examples:

Best Practice 1: Make Student Thinking Visible – Reflective Writing Across Content
Catherine Truitt, Diane Jones, consultants, International Center for Leadership in Education (ICLE): Reflexive writing allows students to write about their own learning in a rigorous and relevant way. This approach offers both language arts and non-language arts teachers effective tactics to embed consistent writing assignments into lessons. Ask these questions:
1.     Reflect on a prior learning experience.
2.     Reflect on visual stimulus.
3.     Reflect on a reading assignment.

And so on. Teachers appreciate the simplicity of the exercises, while students enjoy the reflective nature of the writing assignments. Everyone wins!

Best Practice 2: Teaching Digital Literacy
Salmon River Middle School, Fort Covington, NY: School leaders realized they had to educate students to use technology in a safe and responsible way. They ultimately selected Common Sense Media’s free Digital Literacy and Citizenship Curriculum. The curriculum empowers students to think critically, behave safely and participate responsibly in the digital world.

Best Practice 3 — Student Literacy Growth Profile
Hamilton/Fulton/Montgomery BOCES, Johnstown, N.Y.: The Literacy Growth Profile is a longitudinal data tool used to track student literacy levels. It is based on the Lexile Framework for Reading and tracks the progression of a student’s reading over time. The profile monitors how well a student comprehends various sources, like high school- and college-level literature and textbooks, military texts, personal use items and entry-level occupational reading. Students are stretched throughout elementary, middle and high school and are at both college- AND career-ready literacy levels when they graduate.

Is this reading? Is it statistics? Is it logic? Is it probability? Is it measurement systems? It is writing? The answer is ‘yes’ to each of these questions. Twenty-first century literacy is in multiple disciplines!

Is your instructional program designed to teach these skills? They are in the nation’s most rapidly improving schools.

At this year’s 25th Annual Model Schools Conference, held June 25-28 in Nashville, we will showcase schools that focus on 21st century literacy.


Next week’s blog will focus on the effective uses of technology.


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