I had an interesting discussion with my grade 6's this week. One of them mentioned that he had taught himself to play a new song on guitar via You Tube. Another piped up, "I've done that with piano. I find the songs on You Tube and learn to play them before my piano lesson. My piano teacher now thinks I'm amazing!" We laughed at that and then I did a quick survey. It turns out over 70% of my students are using You Tube for personal learning.
I asked them what was available for learning on You Tube. Their response - EVERYTHING. So then I asked, "If everything is available for you to learn, when you want to learn it, do you still need me - a teacher in front of the class, teaching?" The class went silent. It was a long pause as they pondered this question.
And then, one of them hesistantly offered, "No, not really."
"What will be the role then of a teacher in a 21st century classroom?" I asked.
"You'll be like a ... helper ... helping us when we can't figure something out on our own."
And there you have it, 21st century learners. Directing their own learning using the technology available, seeking assistance when necessary.