Friday, July 29, 2011

Are You Using the 4Cs to Go Above and Beyond?

"Storytelling  is a powerful tool for teaching and learning. It's also a powerful tool for humanizing and clearly conveying complex messages and ideas." - Peter H. Reynolds, co-founder of Fablevision.

Reynolds proves his point with a video that illustrates the "four Cs" of 21st century learning: communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity, Above and Beyond. Please take a look:

The video was written and illustrated by Mr. Reynolds and released by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills and Fablevision. There's also a poster you can download here to reinforce the lesson.

In the virtual classroom, communication is necessary to define problems and make solutions possible. Students and instructors can discuss concepts and misunderstandings, share information, clarify ideas, and develop new visions by using the audio tools, text chat areas, polls and emoticons, and whiteboard.

Collaboration makes it possible for collective or group efforts to exceed those of any individual. The virtual classroom allows students to work in breakout rooms, where they can present ideas and projects, work on problems, share computer applications, and come to consensus.

Critical thinking requires students to test hypotheses or assumptions and solve problems by means of a disciplined approach. Instructors in the virtual classroom can reinforce this skill by allowing individuals and groups to actively apply their skills in solving problems that the rest of the class can analyze and critique.

Creativity, the fourth C, involves new approaches and innovative processes. Newsweek recently lamented The Creativity Crisis, citing research that American creativity is declining. In the virtual classroom, instructors can encourage creative approaches by allowing divergent thinkers to mix with convergent thinkers, letting old ways of thinking combine with new insights or ideas.  A recent study from IBM's Institute for Business Value shows that creativity is the most desired leadership quality among today's chief executives.

In a world where we are all interconnected and interdependent, students need the 4 Cs to interpret complex situations and find successful approaches to dealing with them. Let's help them by showing our own innovative natures in the virtual classroom.

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