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  • Michael

What is a 21st-century Education?

This is a question with multi levels to it. It consists of a few things: a 21st-century educator, approaches to teaching, approaches to learning, technology-enhanced learning, and a 21st-century classroom.

A 21st-century educator plans for the future, is a master with educational technology, is adaptive and collaborative. They are lifelong learners. In a 21st-century classroom our educators are:

Approaches to teaching in a 21st century education are broad and flexible strategies depending on the context and needs of students. They are: based on inquiry, focused on conceptual understanding, developed in local and global contexts, focused on effective teamwork and collaboration, designed to remove barriers to learning, and informed by assessment.

Approaches to learning at in a 21st century education teach students fundamental skills emphasised in developmentally appropriate ways. These skills are: thinking, research, communication, social and self-management skills. They aim to empower learners to see learning as an active and dynamic process.

Technology-Enhanced Learning (TEL) consists of four main concepts: mobile learning, citizen science, openness and learning at scale. TEL focuses on the learning design in how technology is applied in education. TEL in a 21st-century environment develop students’ ability to engage with multiple texts in multiple modes of literacy: digital, media, information, critical and design literacy. The most important aspect of TEL is ensuring that educators do not just replace old habits or sustain existing patterns of teaching with technology, but rather enhance and change their practices.

There are three levels of potential TEL benefits:

Efficiency: existing processes carried out in a more cost-effective, time-effective, sustainable manner.

Enhancement: improving existing processes and the outcomes.

Transformation: radical, positive change in existing processes or introducing new processes.

(Kirkwood & Price, p. 4, 2014)

A 21st-century classroom is the environment that can support these four concepts mentioned. The environment for learning promotes inquiry-based, student-led learning and teaching. The round tables enable students to sit and work in groups, with the teacher facilitating through active social engagement. The relationship between teacher and student is a partnership. The teacher no longer stands in front of the room, writing on a chalkboard. 21st-century educators encourage students' collaboration and communication, sparking their curiosity, encouraging their desire to learn and providing support for their personal journey.

We must refurbish and design classrooms and school learning environments so that we can provide the most up-to-date education with the future in our heart.


Disney and More (2014) 'Amazing R2D2 Virtual Keyboard' [blog] Available at:

Cresswell, M. (2020) 'Multiliteracies of a 21st-century educator', Michael Cresswell [online] Available at:

Cresswell, M. (2020a) 'The enhanced crow and pitcher story', Michael Cresswell [online] Available at:

International Baccalaureate Organisation (2019) 'What is an IB Education', Petersen House, Cardiff, UK

Kirkwood, A. & Price, L. (2014) ‘Technology-enhanced learning and teaching in higher education: what is “enhanced” and how do we know? A critical literature review,’ Learning, Media and Technology, Vol. 39, No. 1, pp. 6 - 36. [online] Available at: (Accessed on 23 March 2019)

Kleber, E. (nodate) 'DoDEA DeLalio Elementary School Replacement', [image] Available at:

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