Step Aside 21st Century — Make Way for 22nd Century Education Skills

A common theme that appears in nearly all U.S. school districts’ mission statements is to provide students with 21st Century skills.  However, you don’t hear about many superintendents asking if preparing students for 21st Century education goes far enough.

I work with a superintendent who has his sights set on the future.  Determined to remain ahead of the curve, Dr. Thomas Butler, new this year to Penn-Trafford School District in Harrison City, PA, has already started thinking about ways to best prepare students for a 22nd Century education.  Dr. Butler is a visionary leader who is energized by the educational possibilities that lie ahead.   In our rapidly changing world, he believes that the traditional classroom instructional model may no longer be enough for students, so he is exploring options that provide students with access to education any time, any place.

K12 Insight recently collaborated with Dr. Butler to customize a 22nd Century Education Survey to help gather feedback from various district stakeholder groups who are closely involved in education — teachers, staff, parents and students themselves.  This innovative survey will help determine the path Penn-Trafford needs to take in order to accommodate the teaching methods of the future.

Dr. Butler strongly believes that the most significant change we will face in the 22nd Century is how we educate our children.   His survey highlights access to 24/7 educational resources, by asking participants to rate a non-traditional list that includes virtual field trips, online access to experts worldwide, and the ability to work with teachers and students regardless of physical location.

There’s no room for complacency when preparing our children for the future, according to Dr. Butler.  He quotes Will Rogers, “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”  I have no doubt that Penn-Trafford School District will successfully navigate its way into the 22nd Century. Hopefully, the path they chart will inspire other school districts to prepare for the future as well.

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