21st Century Student Expectations

Here’s a good reason for educators to visit www.sparvell.com – feedback from an amazing US educator ,Bob Feurer.

‎”Mark , I’ve been invited to the Governor’s mansion this month to discuss our P-16 Inititiative, whose goal it is to improve learning for all students in Nebraska. Your content on this page has provided me with information to present at that conference! Thank You!!!!”

Thanks Bob


Here’s the latest BIG QUESTION for you!

We hear an awful lot about 21st Century Skills that academics, business and educators consider to be essential and I’m not suggesting they are not.


What do STUDENTS expect from a education service delivery that will prepare them for future learning, employment and active citizenship?

35 thoughts on “21st Century Student Expectations

  1. I’ll kick of with a little example. Our school has a twitter feed and the principal has the ‘rights’ for publication…similar protocols as per newsletter. We tweet out reminders, sports day results and congratulations about significant achievements.
    Fantastic reach vehicle and haven’t had any issues.

    • Hey Mark
      We use FB to add another ‘layer’ to communicate with our school community. Has been great to provide reminders, to communicate achievements and other media releases, as well as communicating decisions re school closures with our big snow dumps this year! Had been a quick and effective way to communicate with many people. We have it open so anyone can look at it ie. you don’t have to be FB user to access it -however the advantage is to those who ‘like’ us get the feeds! We do have strict policies around the use of it in regards to staff and students.
      With being an Intermediate school (NZ Years 7 & 8) we believe it is also providing a positive example to our students and their families for how social media can be used purposefully.
      Happy for you to check it out at

  2. As a parent in the mentioned school, I found this system a wonderful way to stay in touch with issues and activities in the school community. As with a lot of parents I am extremely time poor and this information enabled me to streamline my days and create / make time for activities involving my children.

  3. Our school has not considered the idea of tweeting. Being away from my school at the moment, I am now in the realm of only receiving ‘parent’ information and sadly, it is quite lacking.
    Interesting and worth exploring I think.

  4. I would like to use Facebook to communicate with our school community, however our departments internet filtering means we are unable to give access to our publication staff without giving access to all students, and most teachers are not ready for that situation.
    ICT Coordinator.

  5. Bob Feurer It’s contemporary technology and would reach kids better than more “traditional” media of most adults. I was thinking about doing a dedicated FB group for one of my classes just to see how it would go.
    4 hours ago · Like

    • Hi Mark I would love to hear how this idea goes. I have also contemplated using fb to communicate with our parents – am very proud of the fact I learnt to set up a class blog this year and have been impressed with the conversations the parents have. I think that a fb page for school information would be interesting and would love to hear how using it in the class works.

  6. Kristen Record there are Board of Ed policies against this stuff in CT and many other towns/cities/states… some day they might figure out that one size doesn’t fit all…
    about an hour ago · Like

  7. We have run a school twitter for three years. It is really about opening as many channels as possible for parents to be connected., whatever media. On the whole u find twitter is utilised by worker parents who travel as well as the wider community such as reporters, politicians and extended family. Twitter has been great.

  8. How to use Facebook and Twitter for Education
    Some ideas from Collaborationideas.com : create groups according to topics, create events, share interesting videos, be notified and communicate in real rime, share questions in the wall, give the lead to students, make use of the FB space that students feel comfortable with.

  9. Mark
    Lots of schools are using Social media as part of their communications mix. But… (always a but) IMHO too many use it to just aument tradional one way communications. Most of the tweets & facebook updates I see belong in the school newsletter or notice board. The who point of social media is that it’s “Social”. Schools should be using it to connect, amplify and engage with their school community. Yes “logistical updates” are important but they should only enhance the medium not form the core message as most will quickly turn off. You proberbly read this article from today: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/no-head-for-hi-tech/story-e6freuy9-1226145385527 I don’t think Leaders should be expert Tweeters/Facebookers (but I wouldn’t complain if they were) but I do beleive it is their role to actually understand the deeper issues of networks, amplification and social media literacies that enable these platforms. Sadly too many confuse students use of social media with the common misunderstandings of their use seen in mass media.


  10. Rex Judith McLean Already using FB for Mataranka Magic netball (mixed) teams for 9yr olds through to the adult team. This moves across the school community and town community. Working really well. Very careful with who is a friend, always mindful of abuse. Doing the same with those of us who are members of our SES group and school staff.

    Contributed via facebook

  11. Lauren via Facebook says

    Lauren Williams I think Mark Oliphant college in the northern suburbs uses facebook as their school site now- we were shown one at a staff t&d the other day and I think it was theirs. I think it looks really useful, it would have to be really closely monitored to begin with- as in every half hour or so to make sure people don’t use it in a negative way but I’m sure after the teething problems are sorted it would be a great way to contact parents. A lot of parents use facebook now and I think it is a fantastic and very quick way to get messages out about school promotion etc Facebook isn’t going to go away any time in the near future so I think it’s important for school’s to learn how to work with the media instead of constantly fighting against it.

  12. I spoke to the principal at my kids school about this exact question yesterday….he says the NSW DET alows access to facebook now and that schools in the area are beginning to create pages to promote their schools and to reach more parents….seems they are starting to see the reach that social media really has

  13. as with anything, social media can be used for good or evil. It is great to hear the innovative (and not so innovative) ways that schools are engaging with this media. We have a wealth of creativity and wisdom in our young people. How many schools have students driving/monitoring/providing advice on this method of communication?

  14. Pingback: Social Media and Schooling | Social networking in the classroom | Scoop.it

  15. The Wittenberg Press + Luther’s ideas = shift in zeitgeist, power, access to information etc.
    Social media + student voice = shift in zeitgeist, power, access to information etc?
    Methinks this be scary for some folk.

  16. Students are using these social connection platforms already!
    If we want our children to grow up to be responsible, contributing members of society we engage them in activities that will foster and lead to these behaviours. Parents, teachers and community leaders need to be modelling socially responsible behaviour in online environments as much as the physical place today or young people run the risk of falling into bad habits and behaviours. Facebook (or any other social networking option) should not be the big bad boogie man, we – adults – need to be where the children are.
    I am very mindful of my digital citizenship responsibilities and work in every small way to pass these attitude and behaviour choices onto my kids and students.

  17. if we look at the power of twitter, at an event such as ACEL etc, it’s capacity to build a collective of knowledge, let alone connect thinkers and thoughts, is monstrous. Value add with tweetdocs and we have a huge thought-knowledge repository. For me [regardless of “tool”] it’s about authentic purpose and engagement. winning those 2 battles will go some way to amplifying the scope of legitimate uses of social media.

  18. FaceBook is banned at our school current/’y and Twitter is nonexistent as far as I know. I think change is happening so rapidly that the adults in education, for the most part, don’t know how to manage it. Thomas Friedman’s book, “That Used to be Us” discusses many of the ramifications but Creativity and Collaboration play prominently in the future of eduction and it seems social media accomplishes both of those! We need to remain open to the fact that teachers need to learn how to learn again and become collaborators with the keepers of the technology, our students!

    • How are schools viewing the ideas and work of Mark Prensky on Digital Natives and the engagement provided by learning through computer games? Old hat? Still relevant? Are schools getting their students to design the games for learning?

  19. One of Australia’s lead psychiatrists (Andrew Fuller) in child and teenage education, claims that computer assisted learning is inconsequential to student learning and what really makes a difference is; ‘teach the concept’, feedback, visuals, relationship with students etc. Reading between the lines on this thought, wouldn’t it make sense that teachers need to use ICT (which includes social media) as a tool that enhancers the learning experience rather than treating it as the ‘end product’. An iPad is all about providing the visuals, for example, to support the concept taught.

  20. Reading the responses there are a wide array of ideas and input, which I believe is the aim of Mark establishing this site and forum. Social media is now an important mechanism for communication in society, a must in the eyes of some age groups. I read an article recently which explored the habits of people and their intepretation of where social media belongs in life. Essentially the article posed 2 main questions.
    1: Is society able to manage in an ethical manner the freight train of social media (conscience)
    2: Is general society in the short term going to be able to adapt rapidly enough to capitalise on the positives of social media.
    I personally think yes, but with a few curve balls to shake the system along the way. I work in specialist field of adaptive management researching the ability of farmer to adapt to climate change in southern farming systems of Australia. The parallels able to be drawn from my work and social media into an educational environment are astonishing. We need to move and embrace this technology and if we dont seize the moment, so much potential for creativity will be lost. I have a number of children 10 and under and feel that I have a responsibility to learn and embrace this technology. A dinosaur like myself may have life experiences, but unless I learn the technology I am unable to pass on the experience to the greater audience.

  21. I think that STUDENTS EXPECT a learning encounter which is personalised. I don’t mean simply customised ie matching content + skills to developmental capacity, rather an experience which is really potential focussed. I think it comes down to that saying ‘I see you and you matter’. I don’t mean this in a sloppy warm fuzzy way but I think in our increasingly complex lives, students expect time to be recognised individually, to be listented to (not just heard) and to have their potential crafted with a masterful educator? What do you think?

    • I thoroughly agree. This involves a paradigm shift for some teachers. It also involves a level of creativity and energy that has been dampened in some teachers’ professional lives. I am really interested in how we enhance not only a teacher’s cognitive understanding of this approach but also their emotional energy and motivation. Perhaps an irony is that such personal approaches may be the very thing that engages and positively affects the behaviour of the students most likely to be disengaged?

  22. One, I don’t think anyone knows what is happening in the next five years let alone the next 10. I think it is important that kids learn how to learn and think. Mark, the personalized education plan is spot on. “Choice” is what motivates kids. Collaboration and creativity are also in the fore in the coming decade. We are better together! We need to teach kids how to synergize and create information. The same is true for us!

    Our district just dove into “Habits of Mind” today(1-3-12). I see them as being universally useful, timeless and unifying. From the reading I’ve been doing Australia has been using them almost since their inception!

  23. Marc Prensky (2010) based on interviews with almmost 1000 students concluded that:
    – they do not want to be lectured to
    – they want to be respected and trusted
    – they want to follow their own interests
    ‘ they want to create, using the tools of their time
    – they want ot work with peers on projects
    – they want to make decisions and share control
    – they want to express and share their opinions, in class and around the world
    – they want an education that is not just relevant, but real

  24. William Theuer via FACEBOOK says ‘a couple of years ago I had a seventh grader ask me, looking up from his handheld device, “how long will school be a building?”

  25. Matinga Ragatz http://www.matinga.com
    human interaction also happens in the field and our definition of human interaction and our grandparents definition of human interaction are totally different from this kid’s definition and understanding. why must the 7th grader have to endure learning within 4 walls when it no longer makes 100% sense to him?
    People use to believe that the introduction of the telephone would kill human interaction….isn’t that a laugh to us?

  26. Rex Judith McLean
    I agree that 4 walls don’t make 100% sense and that is for nearly all of us, that has always been the case since the first classrm was built. For me, as a teacher and Ed leader, I have to think about student needs/wants, parental expectation, gov demands etc with the tools that I have on hand. We constantly prepare for a future we are not clear on knowing that decisions and actions made now impact on that ‘future’. …this is looking a bit heavy before the morning coffee… I just hope my students Are resilient, adaptive and get a sound sense that this an ongoing Ed journey.

  27. Life is about choice. We choose everyday in home, work and play environments. So I guess it makes sense that the educational environment needs to have a level of choice aswell. Although the problem with some personalities if you look at the Brigg/Meyer Model is that the inability of some to make a choice can derail the process, and be counter-productive. Which then comes back to adptation, we need a blance of choice, structure and a core platform to launch from; My concern would only be that basic skills of literacy / math, don’t become lost in a focus on achieving choice and harmony.
    5 Temptations:
    Choosing status over results
    Choosing popularity over accountability
    Choosing certainty over clarity
    Choosing harmony over conflict
    Choosing invulnerability over trust
    Keep these in mind when making decisions for other people; which is essentially what educators are. The talented teachers embrace the student and provide a platform for the student to drive themselves rather be driven. These temptations were presented at a CEO conference in Canberra I attended some time ago, but have obviously stuck!

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