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Chris Humphreys

May 20, 2014


ET780

Critique 1

Luterbach, K., & Brown, C. (2011). Education for the 21st Century. International Journal Of
Applied Educational Studies, 10(2), 14-32.

Introduction

Education for the 21
st
Century documents a study sought to highlight effective practices, clarify
doubts, and get some new views on issues relating to education in the 21
st
Century by getting
consensus on six items. Those items researched as part of the study are those that teachers,
teacher educators, and educational technologists thought were most related to issues concerning
the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) skills, teacher training and school
reform.

This study was conducted in response to the current advancements of teaching and teacher
training and the use of technologies in the classroom. These changes have occurred over the past
several decades where the system itself has not changed much. However, with advancements in
new technologies and integration of those technologies in the classroom it was the study was
used to identify effective practices using a panel of educators.

For K. Luterback and C. Browns research they chose to use a Delphi study with a selection of
participants that were selected based on several key factors. The Delphi study was conducted
over the course of one year. All of the participants have a background in educational technology,
as well as, had a broad range of backgrounds, education, and positions within the education
system. The researchers chose four educational technology professors, one school teacher, and a
doctoral student in educational technology for this study.

The educational background of the subjects includes one Masters degree in educational
technology with 10 years of K-12 teaching experience. The one doctoral student in educational
technology and the four other participants all with doctoral degrees in educational technology
and have an experience level of on average 24 years in Colleges of Education.

The subjects, after selection, were then referred to as the panel and will continue to be for the
purpose of this critique here on out. The panel was completely anonymous to one another before,
during, and after the completion of the study.

The panel was given six questions to respond to in order to gain consensus on during the course
of the study by a group of experts in the area of educational technology. The questions asked to
each of the panel members were:

1) What skills should all 21
st
Century learners possess?
2) What is the best strategy for preparing 21
st
Century teacher education students?
3) Is the preparation of well qualified teachers sufficient to ensure that schools will prepare
students for the 21
st
Century?
4) Can ICT skills be used to enhance learning? If so, how?
5) Discuss two innovative approaches to teaching ICT skills.
6) What strategies do you recommend for using ICT skills for teaching in content areas?

During the research study the panel was able to work in an open environment due to the
anonymity of the participants. Each member of the panel corresponded with the research. All of
the communication and correspondence was through the use of email. The questions were given
in rounds. The first round, each member of the panel was given the list of the six items
previously stated above. They then responded to each item and sent their responses to the
researchers. The researchers then analyzed each of the responses given. It was noted that during
Delphi Studies, that this one in particular one that feedback was going to be given through
multiple rounds.

For the second round, the panel was given another statement to ICT skills and the analysis for the
first six items. The panel then responded to each of the responses from the researchers analysis
and had to identify why it was or was not a reasonable response to the item.

Each time over the next six rounds after receiving feedback the analysis was modified according
to the analysis of the feedback from each member. During the subsequent six rounds the panel
came to consensus on each of the items. All of the items were agreed upon unanimously after
completing six rounds. It is important to note that the order in which the items were agreed upon
did not come in sequential order, but instead in the order of 5, 1, 6, 3, 4, and 2 finally after
having a sentence removed that the panel could not reach consensus on.

The results of the study were arrived at by each participant individually throughout and collected
as a group to discuss the collective findings. The results to each item included a discussion given
by the researchers based on the findings in the study.

The first item is the synthesis of 21
st
Century skills. It was identified that all 21
st
Century learners
be literate referring to information literacy. Possess ICT skills including input devices,
knowledge and skills to organize and retrieve files, locate information from a variety of sources
and most importantly evaluate the information for authenticity. Be independent problem solvers
to question, analyze, evaluate, etc. Possess social skills meaning communication to collaborate.
Be accountable for self and others including culture differences. Possess systemic thinking skills
to contribute to societal systems.

The second item is the preparation strategies in todays higher education. 21
st
Century learners
will need a strong background in psychology and human development along with subject matter
in math, English, and the sciences. Know various instructional strategies including problem-
based learning, authentic tasks. Understand how to design instruction to meet all educational
needs of students. Be able to use technology as a learning resource. And recognize that teacher
require continual practice, reflection, and learning in instructional methods and ICT skills.

The third item referred to the educational systems reform and how massive changes to the
culture of schools where necessary to prepare learners for the 21
st
Century. It was found that the
instruction needs to be learner focused were students work toward mastering instructional goals
at different rates based on student ability and the subject matter being learned. Teachers roles
should be primarily shifted to guide, coach, or mentor rather that instructor. On assessments,
teachers should not try to assess 21
st
century skills using 19
th
century practices. Assessments
should be diverse, innovative and adventuresome in problem solving.

The fourth finding was the ICT skills for enhancing learning. Those skills were identified as
knowing how to identify and use keywords to search for information. Students need to evaluate
information for accuracy and authenticity. Teachers help students use skills and tools to support
their learning by planning assignments to use new technologies, use software that requires a
higher order thinking to solve problems, and use technologies to enhance communication such as
kid blogs.

The fifth item discusses innovative approaches to teaching ICT skills using games and
simulations to excite students in problem solving and creative thinking. The panel also identified
problem-based inquiry as a major way to teach ICT skills in the classroom. One of the ways to
do this is through the use of social networking such as projects using blogs and wikis which open
doors for collaborating among their peers.

The final item on the study is in the area of teaching in content areas using ICT skills. The panel
reported that due to the numerous ways and technologies to teach a particular subject area that
the best strategy is to use an appropriate instructional strategy. The appropriateness will depend
on understanding who the learners are and what the teacher intends the outcome to be. Along
with appropriate instructional strategies for teacher there has to be multiple methods in which to
assess the students. Many assessments include the use of artifacts, digital portfolios, and
multimedia presentations.

Given that the research was conducted using a Delphi study and the participants were selected
purposefully based on their prior experience, education, and present circumstances. The study
was found to be very complete with little to no limitations according to the researchers.

The implications for us as educators, is to take the results of the study and apply it to our
instruction no matter what level we currently reside at. The research findings have a place at all
levels of education from those in the administration level, to teacher educators, and even down to
the individual classroom.

Based on the through finding of this particular study I would look to conduct a research study on
the implementation of 21
st
Century skills in the classroom. This would give me a unbiased look
into each classroom in a school or group of schools of the implementation of ICT skills directly.
This would also help me to create a bank of questions that classroom teachers can come to
consensus on and help design programs to assist teachers with getting 21
st
Century skills into
their classrooms.


Critique

The issues concerning education for 21
st
Century reach beyond classroom teaching practices.
This Delphi study took a broad topic with numerous implications and attempted to bring some
structure to six research questions. The research question, how can teachers today make
education relevant to 21
st
Century learners? was clearly stated at the beginning of the study. The
research study supported this question using a group of professionals with varied backgrounds,
experiences, and education. The questions given to the panel were clear and concise which lead
the panel to coming to consensus on each topic with relevant information and responses.

The literature review was thoroughly conducted and covered all of the areas and topics found
within this study. The articles begin with a comparison article of the United States and how we
compare in academic achievement to the world to literature discussing inquiry learning and
technology. The researchers referred to these articles, studies, and literary works often over the
course of the research study. The panels responses to the six items were synthesized each time
and repeatedly throughout the process of the panel coming to consensus on each item.

The study was well organized from the introduction of how the study was going to be carried out
through to the results and the conclusion of the study. The finding were organized and easy to
follow and contextual comments from the panel where clearly identified by square brackets. The
research was well written in manner which allowed me to process most of the information after
several readings. Also, with writing the introduction of this critique I found other understandings
which werent evident after just reading the article. So, referring to the article for the
introduction offered me valuable insight into the study itself.

It was interesting to see that item 5 from the study directly related to the group research article I
chose to do for this course. The item is the innovative approaches to teaching ICT skills. One of
those skills was for students to use instructional games and simulations to excite and engage
students in problem solving and creative thinking activities. Given that our group research
project is game-based learning I found the literature the researchers used to reference this very
useful in our pursuit of a problem-based inquiry and game based learning as a way to teach ICT
skills in the classroom.

The conclusions identified by the study were achieved using the Delphi method of research. It
was a very systematic approach to research that I had never heard of before. It was clear that the
researchers were pleased with the outcomes and results of the study. Due to the nature of the
Delphi method the researchers were able to set a predefined stopping point which wasnt defined
in this study. The study did stop after six rounds. They didnt say whether or not it was
predetermined if six rounds were what they had set in the beginning or if it just happened that
way. The researchers were also able to decide on who would be best suited for this type of study.
Had they used a different type of research method they would have had different results I
believe.




Conclusion

I have been an educator for the past three years and have come from a recent experience of 21
st

Century learning during my undergraduate work. Now that I can reflect on where I am today in
the classroom and how my experiences in college helped shape me into what I am today. I can
see where I was afforded the opportunity to work in small groups with peers, design and develop
instruction which included the use of technology, and to create electronic portfolios. However, it
can still be said that the majority of the areas addressed within this research study held true even
while being in a teacher education environment.

Education for the 21
st
Century must begin with a complete overhaul of the educational system.
There are two things that I believe that are going on. First, we have teachers, administrators, and
policy makers who live in an antiquated environment. Those same people who push to make
schools, mainly teachers, 21
st
Century proficient are the same people who cannot let go of 19
th

and 20
th
Century ways of thinking. The two will never live in harmony until one can live with the
other. Secondly, there is something about needing data and turning education into a
manufacturing process. If x is put into the beginning of the school year with y training then the
end result will be a xy student. This does not fall within any of the six items that this study found
with the implementation of ICT skills, digital portfolios, virtual collaboration, inquiry-based
learning, game-based learning, and social networking to communicate. Many schools live or die
by assessment results with the government. This is tied to being given a reading or a math
program that takes the inquiry learning out of the equation. The teacher is told when to teach a
subject and by what means. Then at the same time teachers are told to include inquiry-learning,
21
st
Century skills of collaboration, communication, and creativity, and critical thinking.

This article shows that given structure, an educated group of individuals can come to a consensus
about what education for the 21 Century should look like. Although, this study was conducted by
a small group with very focused questions I believe that the goal was successful. Overall, I
gained useful information about this research because it opened my mind to different areas of
21
st
Century teaching and learning practices that I should be using in my classroom.