Sunday, July 14, 2013

W1 - Research Topic

How can teachers cultivate creative thinking and problem solving skills in the classroom in order to equip secondary-age students for the diverse, evolving technologies in our society?

I chose this topic because I want to use e-learning technologies in my classroom, but not simply just for the sake of using them. I want the skills my students learn while using e-learning tools to help give them confidence in navigating the diverse technologies we experience in the 21st century.
My opinion is that as teachers, we need to understand the skills our students need to be successful in a society where computer technology is a huge part of the way we live and work. For example, I don't think that students need to make a Prezi to understand how Prezi works; they need to have the problem solving skills to find new and interesting venues of presentation or the creativity to develop a program to do so.
It needs to be bigger than the programs alone. This area of education needs to be about how technologies can be used to better society and giving our students the tools and confidence they need to be a part of this.

So far, I have found relevant information from a variety of sources, including the Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia and Educational Technology Research and Development. However, most relevant I have found is not on this topic specifically, but on linked topics such as coping with technological change and important digital literacies in the 21st century. I am hoping to connect the research in these areas to answer my questions.
This topic affects students, teachers and wider society/employers and deals with all of their needs.

The main questions for this topic include: what skills are most sought after for jobs in the 21st century? How are teachers/schools already helping students gain these skills? In what areas are there gaps in skills? What does it mean to successfully utilize technology? How is creative thinking and problem solving beneficial to students in using technology successfully?

This is relevant at the local level (school) for the most part, but also at the national and international levels as it affects how young adults can be successful in a technological society.

I am still deciding on a scope for the “when” of my topic. Many of the relevant articles are more than 10 years old; therefore it might be worth looking at how things have developed over the last decade in this particular digital literacy (creative thinking and problem solving). However, I want to focus on the future as well and explore how I can best prepare my students for success when they leave school.

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