What is 21st century learning anyway? It depends upon who you ask. However, in the most general terms, 21st century Lutheran education is anything that is devoted to equipping students for faith, life, and learning in a 21st century world. With this said, it is sometimes helpful to divide 21st century Lutheran education into three categories:
1) The “how” of 21st century learning – This is focused upon changing strategies for teaching and learning. It often directs our attention to the power and potential of current and emerging technologies in the classroom and other learning environments. Or, it may even call us to provide learners with more low tech and unplugged learning experiences in order to give them a measure of balance in a technology-rich contemporary world.
2) The “what” of 21st century learning – This asks and seeks to answer the question, “What do students need to know, value, and be able to do in order to survive and thrive in a 21st century world?” For Lutheran education, we also examine the spiritual and ethical issues related to this question. Notice that this is really about re-examining the learning objectives, content…the curriculum in our learning organizations. It challenges us to reconsider these things in view of the digital revolution, the information revolution, the changing work place, changes in local and global communities, and much more. From a Lutheran education standpoint, we contend that some content will not and should not ever change, that we teach certain timeless Truth. At the same time, as 21st Century Lutheran schools, we recognize that some things do need to change. An example is the notion of literacy and fluency. At certain times in history, one level of literacy was adequate, but people in the 21st century work force are expected to demonstrate new forms of literacy (reading and writing hypertext, multimedia, visuals, and dealing with unprecedented amounts of information).
3) The “when” and “where” of 21st Century learning – When you ask many people what comes to mind when then think of Lutheran education, they may describe a Lutheran school classroom. However, learning in the 21st century (as it has always been) is about more than schooling. Learning isn’t limited by the walls of a classroom or school building. And, it isn’t even bound by traditional school days and school years. Life in the 21st century world opens our eyes to a litany of options and possibilities when it comes to the “when” and “where” of Lutheran education.
Does this catch your interest? Consider presenting at and/or attending the Online Conference on 21st Century Lutheran Education.