Technology's Role in the 21st Century Classroom
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Technology’s Role in the 21st Century Classroom

Written by 8 June 2010

Everyone everywhere is talking about the 21st Century Classroom.  I want to share some ideas about what the term "21st Century Classroom" means to me.

I found these articles engaging while considering the role of technology in the 21st Century Classroom:

The 21st Century Classroom – Alfie Kohn

Thomas Hanson discusses Alfie Kohn's Modern/Positive approach to the classroom (learn more about that at What to Look for in a Classroom).  Kohn's approach, established in the 1990s, wasn't widely accepted until recently.  Hanson thinks that technology is the driving force behind the adoption of the Kohn approach, and that "it is now clear that the Kohn approach is one that should have been employed long ago".  What do you think?

Shaping Tech for the Classroom: 21st-century schools need 21st-century technology

This article from Mark Prensky at Edutopia discusses the process of adopting new technology into the classroom.  Read the full article to find out more about the four step technology adoption process of:

Doing old things in old ways
Doing old things in new ways
Doing new things in new ways

Prensky suggests, "let's not just adopt technology into our schools. Let's adapt it, push it, pull it, iterate with it, experiment with it, test it, and redo it, until we reach the point where we and our kids truly feel we've done our very best".  Is that right on, or what?

These are some characteristics I envision for a 21st Century Classroom:

  • engaged, interactive students
  • a variety of available materials and resources
  • the use of all available resources
  • greater student freedom
  • student-centered learning

I believe technology assists in developing all of these characteristics.  As opposed to viewing new technology as a threat to the classroom environment, educators and schools must embrace technology and use it to enhance the learning experience.  Educators using and integrating current technology tools in their learning curriculum are better preparing their students for higher education and the everyday workforce.

What characteristics do you strive for in your 21st Century Classroom, and how do you use technology to help reach your classroom goals?

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Technologys Role in the 21st Century Classroom


  • Chad Lehman said:

    I love this quote by Prensky “let’s not just adopt technology into our schools. Let’s adapt it, push it, pull it, iterate with it, experiment with it, test it, and redo it, until we reach the point where we and our kids truly feel we’ve done our very best”. Like you said – right on! We never have enough time to “Experiment with it” –too many other things to do and often lack of access to technology.

    By the way, I love your Share and Enjoy plugin at the bottom of your post. What is the name of it?

    Kimberly Reply:

    Chad, it’s Sexy Bookmarks – scandalous name, huh? Not scandalous in nature, though. :)

  • Mechelle Fogelsong said:

    In this age of the blog, paper-and-pencil journaling seems so ridiculous. I mean, who does that anymore? Even my checkbook is something I do online, keeping electronic records stored as backup.

    I wish there was some way to allow my students to create and maintain a blog from the classroom. But of course, blogs are blocked by our school’s firewall. Why? Because of blog tags. A tag of a mascot like “cougar” or “tiger” might take students to blogs of a sexual nature, so wisely, blogging is not allowed from school.

    It’s a conundrum. I want my English students to practice 21st century journaling, and yet my school’s concerns for student Internet safety are very real.
    .-= Mechelle Fogelsong´s last blog ..If he doesn’t like me back, what do I do next? =-.

    Sharon Reply:

    A suggestion for you: check with your tech specialist and see if they can ‘unblock’ a specific URL for your classes’ own blogging site. At our district, we are able to do that and it works well. No, students aren’t able to reach out to other blogging sites, but at least it’s a start. Good Luck!!