Twenty-first century learning in the senior secondary school: a New Zealand teacher’s innovation

Paul Snape
University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand

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Ingår i: PATT 26 Conference; Technology Education in the 21st Century; Stockholm; Sweden; 26-30 June; 2012

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 73:49, s. 415-424

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Publicerad: 2012-06-18

ISBN: 978-91-7519-849-1

ISSN: 1650-3686 (tryckt), 1650-3740 (online)


The twenty-first century Knowledge Age is seen as a tipping point; equivalent in effect to the Age of Discovery; The Renaissance; the Industrial Revolution and the internal combustion engine. Educational goals for this century are identified more as the development of learning dispositions; competencies and life-long learning than the enduring contentdriven and assessment-based approach of an Industrial Age paradigm. Bolstad and Gilbert (2008) state continuation of this age-old strategy will not best serve or prepare students for living in the twenty-first century. In particular they see senior secondary school education as geared too much toward screening; sorting and disciplining students for university study.

The situation in the senior secondary school has changed significantly in the last few decades from its traditional position where specialist teachers adopt a content-centred approach in order to develop mini mes that continue their legacies. What are these changes? Bolstad and Gilbert (2008) identify a number of factors including: increased retention rates; expansion of the tertiary sector; changes to qualifications and assessment systems; emphasis on student ’pathways’ and transitions from school; and the Knowledge Society and twenty-first century learning.

Passionate and professionally aware educators have begun to acknowledge the changes required and are investigating creative solutions to ensure their students are well-grounded in relevant and meaningful learning pursuits. I have identified a local teacher (John) who has this year gained school administration approval to promote an innovative course for senior students in the field of Technology. I have chosen this innovation as the theme for my doctoral study and introduce the initiative and my approach in this paper.


Key competencies; learning dispositions; technology education; twenty-first century learning; values


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