Challenges and Strategies for Maintaining a 21st Century Classroom

There are a number of necessary changes and challenges that must be addressed in order to maintain a classroom for the 21st Century. To start, I face two distinct potential challenges in becoming a 21st Century teacher. The challenge of tech overload must be addressed. It’s important to not become totally dependent on technology for communicating and organizing information. While the technological resources for student communication and research are helpful, I challenge myself and my students to keep real live face to face communication and collaboration at the center of our classroom activities.

Second, the challenge of accessibility is prevalent in my school. Our community isn’t completely rural, but there are areas of our community where ready access to dependable and modern technology and internet resources is certainly lacking. I work with my school district and local non-profits to try to bring more resources to families and our school to bring the level of accessibility up.

I’ve implemented several successful strategies to make my classroom a place where I can teach students 21st Century skills. I’ve created a Google Calendar and shared it with my students and their families. I keep this calendar updated with all relevant class and school information and dates for events and assignments.

My high school Special Education class attends many different community events and their families need to know about resources and meetings that are central to their student’s academic and social progress. I’ve also successfully implemented Google Drawing into my class activities. Many of my students need to organize information in a visual way in order to better process and recall it. Google Drawing has been a fun resource for them to take class information and create charts, Venn Diagrams, and concept maps.

 

Photographer: Emma Drews

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