Last year I wrote a post on the Six C’s of 21st century learning, an idea that I was going to apply to my classes in designing lessons, units, and my overall curricula. I find putting a framework over the learning process and involving students in shaping and understanding that process to work very well to increase student engagement and proficiency. I have continued to experiment with considerable success and moving forward I have identified another set of themes that I would like to use in addition (and imposed on top of) the Six C’s.
I am terming this set the 3 P’s – Personalization, Project-Based Learning, and Portfolio Assessment. Personalization is key to reaching every student in the 21st century classroom. Personalization takes the ideas of individualization and differentiation to the next level with new techniques and new technologies. A recent article in THE Journal addresses the primary themes of personalization and is worth a close reading. It is only through the true personalization of learning that we can hope to reach every student, tap into their natural abilities and life experiences, and challenge them to grow beyond what they are and reach their fullest potential.
Project-based learning is the strongest methodology to achieve the personalization for each learner and impart the 21st century skills that students need. Let me clarify that I mean "project-based" in the broadest sense of the term. In my own classes, I employ a variety of techniques that could be classified as project, problem, inquiry, or challenge-based. Each builds upon constructivist and connectivist ideas that I've discussed before on this blog. Each makes the student the center of learning and requires of them the types of skills needed for dynamic and changing world.
I include portfolio assessment as one of the 3 P's since it is becoming the essential tool for authentic and innovative assessment. Portfolios allow students to see their work develop over time, to reflect on what they have done, to see how they can improve their work, and to connect their work across classes and content areas. Portfolios when digital years ago and are now going mobile with various formats available for smartphones, tablets and laptops.
I'm making a concerted effort in all of my classes to increasing incorporate aspects of the 3 P's. I've increased my use of project-based learning over the past several years until it makes up the basis of the pedagogy I use in my classes, this year I have begun experimenting with students developing their own digital portfolios for deeper assessment and self-reflection, and I continue to strive to tap into my students passions, interests, experiences and needs to personalize their learning opportunities.
Please let me know your thoughts about the 3 P's. Comments welcomed.
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