Goochland 21st Century Skills Instructional Framework is both a design for developing project-based instruction around the creation of a learning artifact or performance (product), and an initiative for planning and delivering projects in the classroom. Since 2008, G21 has been focused on developing more constructivist-based learning experiences for students and developing teacher skills to design and implement those experiences.
This school year, the new framework will be presented during a faculty meeting at each school by the director of innovation & strategy (John Hendron), with or without assistance from the technology coaches (Leiderman and Parrish). The goal is to include all teachers, provide more flexibility for the types of projects teachers pursue for their students, and to shift the roles for project design and oversight of the program. After the initial presentation, teachers will have options for completing at least one version of the framework alone or in consort with peers:
Upon completion, the project design must be approved by the building principal or assistant principal.
A G21 project is nothing more than a design for good instruction based around a project-based lesson or unit of study for students. We ask that in a G21 that students create something, whether that be a physical object, a piece of digital media, or even a performance. Instruction therefore operates around the creation of this product, pulling in a number of skills educators and business leaders today are calling “twenty-first century” skills. These skills are not new, but the term certainly raises awareness of the skills business leaders today are saying students need more practice at developing.
The G21 project framework is a 3-page worksheet in PDF format. Using Preview on a Mac, the form can be completed and saved, and/or printed.
In the past, we identified 12 twenty-first century skills that could be applied across the curriculum in just about any class, things like “communication, teaching others,” or “research 2.0 skills.” This year, we’ve adopted a new model for twenty-first century learning based on recent research into three main core areas:
It is our belief that a strong project pulls skills from each one of these areas.
Skills this area include core content knowledge and we have placed the following disciplines on the form:
Skills in this area include the following skills focused on action and doing skills:
For our veteran teachers, these skills are not new.
This skill group is focused around inter- and interpersonal skills, including:
As part of our training with our 1:1 program, we introduced teachers to Puentedura’s SAMR model that provides four levels of how technology can impact instruction. These levels are:
Within our G21 projects, we ask teachers to rate how technology will be used. There is also a space to articulate what types of technology will be used. Teachers can name application software, a crucial resource, etc. While the desire may exist for every teacher to mark an “R” in how they will be using technology, we want them to take an honest appraisal. Technology use should always foster greater efficiency, but we want our teachers to know how and when it can really impact benefits with instruction. We believe SAMR does an excellent job of illustrating this in an otherwise simple construct.
The previous framework focused on the creation of a student product. In many cases, students created the same products with individual differences. The new format gives more incentive for individualized products designed by students themselves.
Group products are something created as a team. Not all projects will have a group product. A project may involve the creation of a few group products, or just one.
Individual products are another option, where students each create their own unique product based upon your direction, their own design, or a combination of both.
Schools are encouraged to consider a school theme to help teachers focus on a G21 project that ties into a school-wide need or interest. For SY 2014-15, school wide projects are not required, but are certainly encouraged.
Professional Development over the new format was presented during the “Operation Engagement” sessions this past August. New professional development workshops will be focused on:
Because the new format is well-aligned with the Buck Institute model, we will utilize their free online resources in our support through workshops.
Successful planning and execution of a G21 project is required for the highest rating in Goochland’s teacher evaluation protocol.
In addition to our model for the G21 Faire to recognize teachers who develop superlative learning experiences for students, we want to expand the recognition arm for students with a G21 Student Exhibition. We will be developing this throughout the year as a showcase for students to enter the their project’s product for a more authentic audience of peers and community members.
Doing G21 projects takes extra time and effort. Again, "Why G21?" The program is an opportunity to engage students in a more progressive learning style built around project-based learning. And it's an opportunity for teachers to stretch their skills in pedagogy by focusing on what we might call the "smart integration" of technology in teaching. G21 hopefully for everyone is a creative experience that goes beyond content standards by going beyond the Virginia Standards of Learning by engaging students and teachers with real-world skills.