It’s Free – Intel Provides An Amazing Tool To Assess 21st Century Skills

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“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” – Alvin Toffler an American futurist.
This quote found on the front page of the Intel’s Assessing Project Tool web site gives a foundation and premise for Intel’s free educational resource . For those trying to assess 21century skills, this site provides some practical tools and resources to answer this question. Not only does Intel provide a unique interface to construct a rubric, it includes theory, rational, best practices, and outstanding examples. It is more then an assessment tool, if used correctly it allows teacher’s to truely transform their practice using a planning process that starts with the end and involves on-going assessment. Please take a moment to read over my review and explore the links that will highlight some of the outstanding attitibutes of this site. As always, take a moment to visit my 21centuryedtech Blog . If you have 21century skill assessment practices to share please post a reply or send an email. I enjoy reading and make it a practice to answer each and every e-mail. – Mike (//mgorman@sacs.k12.in.us//)

The biggest question I get from teachers when conducting workshops on technology integration and 21st century skills remains, “How do you assess the 21st century skills?” While it is important to make sure content standards are integrated and assessed in student projects, many times the 21st century skills are loosely incorporated and assessed . This leaves students often confused with the attempted integration of 21st century skill, resulting in a goal never achieved. Once again, as most research suggests, it is important that all projects are designed with the end in mind. The conclusion includes both content standards, and the 21st century skills that are to be acheived by students. This end, is a part of the planning process that is communicated to students in the form of a rubric. The rubric must act as a guide while students engage with the project’s on-going process.
This preparation can be time consuming for the educator, which is why I invite you to explore Intel Education’s Assessing Projects Tool. I am a long time fan of the Intel Thinking Tools. I am just as impressed with the Assessing Projects Tool. Intel states, “When assessment drives instruction, students learn more and become more confident, self-directed learners. Assessing Projects helps teachers create assessments that address 21st century skills and provides strategies to make assessment an integral part of their teaching and help students understand content more deeply, think at higher levels, and become self-directed learners”.

The site overview page gives the benefits of assessing projects, numerous references and authoritive writings, and some outstanding assessment based websites based on 21st century education. Learn more about the purpose of assessment, various assessments that go beyond tests, papers, and oral presentations, and how formative assessment which is continuous and ongoing promotes real achievement. Additionally, while higher-order thinking such as critical thinking, creativity, problem solving, and metacognition, can be a challenge. this tool explores methods for assessing thinking. Last, this tool explores what components are necessary for successful assessment in a school.
Intel gives you the opportunity to Try It. Here you can try a Demo to explore the Assessment Library and examine checklists, rubrics, and scoring guides on thinking skills, processes, products, and performances. There is also a video tutorial that allows you to see how features of the Assessing Projects application work in the classroom. You can also view a great animation of the process which helps simplify the process. Explore some example project assessment forms for both the elementary and secondary level. Intel states that assessment strategies can be broken into five main categories. While not all methods within a category are needed, all categories should be included in an assessment plan. The categories included are Strategies for Gauging Student Needs , Strategies for Encouraging Self-Direction and Collaboration, Strategies for Monitoring Progress, Strategies for Checking for Understanding and Encouraging Metacognition, and Strategies for Demonstrating Understanding and Skill. There is also an area that describes the planning of assessment, the changing of assessment strategies, and some sample lesson plans complete with timeline of project, venn diagram, table, and assessment timeline. I find it useful to use the large selection of pre-made rubics and modify and save them to my Intel Work Space. From here they can be exported as a Word or Excel file.
In conclusion, Intel offers a top of the line tool that is free to educators. There are other tools which I will explore in future posts but I do suggest that anyone exploring assessment of 21st century skills take a look at the Intel Assessing Projects Tool for its ease of use, vast resources of information, on-line productivity, and theory behind practice. While it acts as a rubric machine, it goes much farther by transtorming educational practice. Please feel free to email or post. I am interested in learning about other tools available for 21st century assessment. While taking your journey in 21st century education, please visit my 21centuryedtech Blog. Thanks for reading and I look forward to hearing from you – Mike (mgorman@sacs.k12.in.us)


Welcome To The Future - 21 Century Education

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Image from above - NASA
It is a New Year and I wanted to share with you a post that is special to me since it was one of my very first posts back in August ,right after presenting at BLC09. In fact it was BLC09 that gave me the inspiration to create this Blog! The video has been an inspiration to me, my students, and teachers at my school. I have also shared it on the road. Do not miss the opportunity to view the video from the link posted at the bottom of this article post. I have also updated this post with a downloadable Word Document, also at the bottom, which can be used with your students to discuss the 21st century! This is a shortened post so that you may take the time to view what is a truly an nspirational message. Please take a moment to follow me on Twitter so that I can up-date you both on this blog and my 21centuryedtech Wiki! As always thanks and “Welcome To The Future!” Let me know if the video inspires you and if the Word Document worked for you!
- Mike (http://www.twitter.com/mjgormans Email(mgorman@sacs.k12.in.us)

It is the mission of this Blog to bring you content, ideas, and practical ideas to enhance 21st Century Skills and educational transformation using technology. It is equally important to provide readers with content for reflection, motivation, and encouragement. As we encounter a new school year I want to dedicate this posting to educational possibilities. Our educational future involves everyone including community stakeholders, educators, and students. Recently I came a across a video produced by country music singer and songwriter Brad Paisley entitled Welcome to the Future. When I first heard the lyrics I felt they provided a thought provoking opportunity for educators . Upon viewing the video it came apparent to me that the message is an inspiration to 21st Century Education. It reflects transformation, progress, diversity, technology, universal accomplishment, and hope. I know there have been a wide range of videos that can be found emphasizing the need to think different, engage the digital native, transform education, think outside the box, be prepared for the stopped escalator, and question what we know about global education. This video however is the most powerful video I have come across in recent years. I know you will feel the same way and I applaud singer and song writer Brad Paisley for a positive message that resonates an enthusiasm for the future, and the promise that education can bring. Be sure to reflect on the well written lyrics as you encounter this awesome and powerful digital story. Please check out the link below! Let me know what you think!
Once again, welcome to the new school year and our future!
Link – Welcome To The Future by - Brad Paisley (This is a CMT site, you may need to see a short ad first)
Link – Welcome To The Future by – Brad Paisley (This is an AOL site, you will need to see a short ad first)
Update – I have created a student activity sheet that goes with this video. It is a great activity that allows students to investigate a video for meaning. I have tried to include a process that facilitates a collaborative effort at investigating lyrics, video, and plot. It also asks students to write an individual paragraph stating the meaning. A final suggestion entails having the students feed their paragraph into Wordle. If you try it please let me know how it goes. I also suggest listing the sixteen top 21 century skills in Intel Thinking Tools Visual Ranking and having students collaborate on priority order. The Welcome To The Future Document is posted below. Thanks for the visit and please keep coming back! It is an honor to be able to share


Not On The Test

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I have another enjoyable music video that speaks to educators. This comes from a musician name Tom Chapin with a message that cannot be ignored. Mr. Chapin makes it clear that the fine arts are a crucial part of a child's education. This unique presentation paints a clear picture that education must go beyond core curricular knowledge. I am certain this high quality video is one that you will want to share with all professionals at meetings, conferences, and presentations. It truly crosses all areas of discipline! My posting is brief, as I encourage you to get the most out of Mr. Chapin's heart filled message.
It is no secret that education has been constrained by a national effort aimed at compartmentalizing education and making the most important outcome of the learning community, the famous standardized test. Schools across the nation have been forced to prioritize, teach, and assess standards mandated by national and state bureaucracies. This effort has created in effect, an educational system at risk of preparing students for the 21st century. Employers today are demanding skills based on collaboration, communications, problem solving, creativity, and digital literacy. The vast majority of assessment found on today's standardized test focuses on literal understanding, route memorization, and core curricular facts. It is true, effective learning communities are based on a solid foundation of the core curriculum. It is necessary that educators understand that this educational foundation is built to support a sound structure of rigorous applications complimenting and connecting curriculum and real world. I challenge educators to plan, create, and facilitate learning activities that require high level thinking, inquiry, and ingenuity. In this effort, educators must still deliver the core standards that standardized tests are famous for assessing. At the same time their lessons must focus on high level twenty-first century skills utilizing technology inherent and embraced by today's digital generation.
I know you will enjoy Tom Chapin's Site and Video as you reflect on your role in education. Watch it several times. I guarantee you will find both questions to ponder and answers to resolve. As you do, you will gain a new insight, one that I guarantee is Not On The Test.
Thinking's important. It's good to know how.
And someday you'll learn to, but someday's not now.
Go on to sleep, now. You need your rest.
Don't think about thinking. It's not on the test

- John Forster & Tom Chapin
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Link Below
Not On The Test
Sung by Tom Chapin
Written by John Forster & Tom Chapin
© 2008 Limousine Music Co. & The Last Music Co. (ASCAP)
Not on the Test video: Directed by Yuichi Hibi
Edited by Timothy Gregoire
Art Direction: Marie Christine Katz
Production Coordinator: Mary Croke

Picture
Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License. - J Barrett http://openclipart.org/people/barretr/barretr_Pencil.png



Published on November 29, 2009

What does the White House, Country Music, President Obama, Fine Arts, Steam, Arne Duncan, STEM, and Daniel Pink have to do with 21st Century Education? – Welcome to the Future!

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NASA Historical Photograph
I have lately been trying to write shorter blogs on a more frequent basis. Thanks for the positive comments and emails. Your thoughts and ideas are really an inspiration. I am practicing my tweeting skills by tweeting my blog titles and links under mjgormans. Go ahead and follow if you wish. It has already given me some great ideas for an up coming tweet blog (Do they go together?). I may have a title! This posting is a follow up of a blog I posted at the start of the 2009 school year. I have recently found some extra information on the posting “Welcome To The Future“. Please take some time, I know if you spend a few moments with the material it will provide you with a message to share with educators and also students. As always, please visit me at the 21centuryedtech Wiki! for even more information - Mike

I hope I was able to get you wondering about the connection between all the players in the title and 21st Century Learning. I believe as you read you will see the connection and understand its importance. This posting has been several months in the making and contains some outstanding material for professional development. Please take a moment to explore and reflect.
About three months ago I posted a country music video by singer song writer Brad Paisley. This song and video reminded me that our dreams as educators must be to protect and nuture the dreams of our students. If you never read the posting or viewed the video I am speaking of, please take a moment from your internet browsing and enjoy. As you view the video Welcome To The Future keep in mind the important and neccessary mission of 21st century skills and education. I have had the pleasure of sharing this with teachers and students and have always seen people walk away with excitement and enthusiasm.
Now, the reason for my follow up. I knew the video was powerful but have since found out it made a bigger impact then what I knew at the time of my original posting. I had often wondered what singer songwriter Brad Paisely had thought as he wrote the song. He answered some of my questions in an interview held at the White House. I have included both the blog posting and video of this White House interview and performance. It was moving to see see the performance in the formal setting of the White House as President Obama listened, and the camera panned famous pictures such as George Washington and lyrics resonated famous people including Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks. This amazing performance was part of the White House Performance Series ,a program developed to promote arts education. As part of this initative, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has been in dialogue with Support Music, an organization dedicated to the promotion of music and fine arts in the nation’s schools. Take a moment to read a recent letter, listen to a conference call (mp3), or read the transcript of Secretary Duncan’s support for the Fine Arts.
This leads me to Daniel Pink , author of A Whole New Mind : Why Right Brainers Will Rule The Future. At a recent keynote, Pink eluded to the idea that STEM education must include the fine arts. Take a look at this amazing video as students use visual Thinking Strategies. These students are part of the program, Visual Thinking Strategies, a non-profit organization that “uses art to foster kids’ capacities to observe, think, listen and communicate.” With this in mind, listen to the TASA 2009 Podcast that includes Pink’s thoughts on teaching to the Right Brain in education. While speaking of adding Arts to STEM, why not call it STEAM ,as proposed by the Ohio Alliance For Arts Education . Enjoy this article filled with great reflections and resources.
I conclude this posting with one last reflection of another past post. The post referred to another musician, Tom Chapin, with a message that cannot be ignored. Chapin is also a proponent of fine arts education and promotes its neccessary place in today’s schools in order to promote 21 st century learning. I know you will want to share his music video Not on the Test with other educators.
I hope you can see that there really is a connection between the White House, STEM, Secretary Duncan, country music, fine arts, Brad Paisley, Daniel Pink, and steam. It really is a convergent of the right and left brain. It is a partnership that will develop creativity, ingenuity, problem solving, and a new way to look at the world. These are 21st century skills, the very skills our students will need to seek their dreams and continue our dreams. It truely is an amazing “Welcome To The Future”!
I invite you to email, comment, and as always visit the //21centuryedtech Wiki//. I also invite you to download my Welcome_to_the_Future Document. I put together for teachers who may wish to have their students study the video Welcome To The Future. It contains standards that cover writing, film making, and social studies. I look forward to hearing from you . As always thank you joining me as I reflect upon and dream about a 21st century educational sysytem that will make a difference for the future of our students!