Will you take the pledge: I will only use the term “21st Century” as a noun, not an adjective

All students at school right now have only been at school in the 21st Century and the majority of them were born in the 21st Century.

Slide1

Language we use in education needs to be relevant and have meaning to the context. I believe there is no place for the use of “21st Century” as an adjective, it is 2014 after all. This applies to:

  • 21st Century Doo Wop21st Century learning
  • 21st Century skills
  • 21st Century schools
  • 21st Century education
  • 21st Century spaces

 

 

 

Today we can just say: learning, skills, schools, education and spaces. We know, and are excited, that the “21st Century” requires a different approach than what the 20th Century had to offer. The young people at school now have only really known:

  • Mobile devices, rather than desktop computers
  • The Internet as the source of information and Google and Wikipedia as the gateway
  • Wireless connectivity
  • Music and video as device-based, not stored separately to the player, such as videotape and CD
  • Simple and fast long distance communication as the norm
  • Social media as communication and information source
  • Photographs and video immediately available for viewing
  • International travel and communication as normal and accessible to many
  • Queensland beating NSW in the State of Origin Rugby League Football series*

We use “21st Century” as an adjective because it has adequately described an aspiration. The way we would like to see schools meeting the needs of the young people we serve. But language is alive, it’s organic and can change.

Dictionaries provide updates of the words and terms that have reached everyday speech. In 2013 new terms were officially recognised by the Oxford Dictionary, including:

  • BYOD
  • babymoon
  • double denim
  • FOMO
  • MOOC
  • srsly
  • twerk (sadly)

We now have the opportunity to either add the words/terms we would like to see, or create new ones. The more we use them in speech and written forms, the more they will be used.

Think about changing… Replace with…
lesson and period
describing learning as a discrete,
time-bound activity
learning session
computer (anything)
skills, room, lesson, the thing itself
technology, device
homework
tasks set that could not be finished
in class or for extra drills
pre-learning, post learning, applied learning
occurs outside school hours, but not
necessarily at home
discipline
describing the system
relationship management
behaviour development
classroom learning space, or just give the spaces
their own unique names
desks and chairs furniture
student learner

There are some terms that will probably stay. I think we still say ‘teacher’, the nature of the role continues to change and encompasses a broad range of skills and expertise. I can’t see it ever replaced by ‘facilitator’, this is just one of the skills a teacher needs.

The more we use the desired terminology in context, the more the community will understand what we mean.

How else would FOMO not require a descriptor?

@anneknock

*Australian Interstate football rivalry, that to date, has seen Queensland will 9 series in a row… maybe this year.

3 thoughts on “Will you take the pledge: I will only use the term “21st Century” as a noun, not an adjective

  1. Hello, I would take the pledge for Developed countries only. Living in Senegal, the reality about the norms is very different here. Most kids do not have access to technologies or devices and have barely heard about google. Facebook is starting to be used in internet cafés in cities, but it is not a norm yet. For these kids, the only way to catch up the “21st century(adjective)” train is to leapfrog the huge gap existing. Google is trying hard and the school oin the cloud also, but the schooling system is still anchored in the 19th century.

    • Thanks for your comment. I know from my own experience that the education for young people in many parts of Africa needs to jump from 19th to the 21st C. Hope that many of us can help this to happen.

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