Leveraging 21st Century Learning & Technology to Create Caring Diverse Classroom Cultures

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Author: Tanya Tarbutton
Date: Winter 2018
From: Multicultural Education(Vol. 25, Issue 2)
Publisher: Caddo Gap Press
Document Type: Report
Length: 2,652 words
Lexile Measure: 1340L

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Introduction

Administrators and teachers in many states have worked to integrate 21st Century Learning Outcomes and Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAP) into daily teaching and learning. These initiatives are designed to improve the quality of education that students receive. Technology is a necessary vehicle for delivering these initiatives. Technology provides innovative and alternative avenues for all students to demonstrate increased achievement and engagement. According to Gonzales and Belleau (2017),

The ubiquitous nature of technology can enhance and deepen self-expression, global accessibility, personal and professional productivity, and the search for information. (p. 24)

21st Century Learning

In 2013, California joined other states in adopting the Partnership for 21st Century Skills Framework. These essential 21st century learning skills are identified as: Learning and Innovation skills including collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity; Life and Career skills; and Information, Media, and Technological skills (California Department of Education, 2016).

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson (2013) stated that "California is part of a growing national movement to teach students the critical thinking and problem-solving skills they need for college and careers" (para. 1). These skills are thought to assist in making students competitive in the diverse global market.

According to Plough (2017) it is a matter of social justice for educators to incorporate technology in the curriculum and prepare students to compete for career opportunities grounded in technology. Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) jobs are becoming more popular. Indeed, it has been anticipated that the number of STEM-related jobs will increase to over nine million between 2012-2022 (Vilorio, 2014, p.3). Educators are charged with preparing students to meet these unknown, fast-paced, evolving market-place requirements.

One way California school districts are demonstrating commitment toward expanded technological efforts is through adoption of the #GoOpen State initiative. As part of the United States Department of Education's Technology Plan, states may opt into a program designed to openly share educational resources (Gonzales & Belleau, 2017). The U.S. Department of Education (2015) noted, "The 2016 plan outlines a vision of equity, active use, and collaborative leadership to make everywhere, all-the-time learning possible" (USDE, 2017, para 2). With these initiatives in place, California, like other states, is set to embark on a pursuit of an equitable technologically savvy road to knowledge.

Local Control and Accountability Plans

Recent legislation such as the Every Student Succeeds Act required schools to include at least one non-academic performance indicator, such as school climate (Cranston, 2017), within their Local Control and Accountability Plan. Schools and districts need to identify school climate goals as well as plans for obtaining these goals. The California Department of Education noted,

All local educational agencies (LEAs) are required to prepare a LCAP, which describes how they intend to meet annual goals for all pupils, with specific activities to address state and local priorities identified pursuant to EC Section 52060(d). (LCAP section, para. 1)

California school administrators have also adopted former President Obama's ConnectEd Initiative to assist in implementing and identifying these LCAP goals:

The initiative is now...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A543779072