Now, more than ever, students need to see the connection between what they are learning in the classroom and how it applies to everyday life. We must work to ensure that learning is meaningful, real, and relevant.
By actively engaging students in practical, hands-on learning opportunities, and encouraging the use of 21st century technology, we can help students connect learning with their interests and with life around them. Through this connected learning approach, teachers are better able to encourage peer-to-peer collaboration, and to motivate students to think creatively, take risks, and solve problems in real time.
Just as we invest in helping our students learn and grow, we must invest in professional learning opportunities and resources for our educators.
Through the Greater Springfield CareerConnectED Consortium, partner educators are receiving training and access to professional learning resources to increase college, career, and life readiness.
Academic content describes what students need to know and be able to do. Educators must use this content to create classroom environments that are rigorous, engaging, and relevant to learners.
Life-readiness skills, also referred to as noncognitive or soft skills, are behaviors or characteristics that aren’t developed from content knowledge or core academics. Educators and mentors will be encouraged to intentionally embed these skills into curriculum and to use them when interacting with students.
Using this student-centered instructional approach, students are encouraged to find meaning and relevance by conducting research and applying knowledge to solve a problem. This approach to learning promotes important noncognitive skills, including team work, communication, and planning.
Experiential learning is the process of learning by doing. Using this process, students connect their learning to the real world, and educators guide rather than direct the learning process.
21st Century Tools & Resources
In a today’s world, technology plays an important role in how we work, communicate, and learn. The Consortium will encourage students and educators to use technology and other 21st century resources to connect personal interests and learning from school, at home, and in everyday life.
A flexible approach in which evidence of student learning is demonstrated, progress in monitored, and meaningful feedback is provided in a timely manner to inform instruction and promote student growth.
In this setting, students are encouraged to take more ownership in their learning. When students are actively involved in creating and experimenting, they are also developing important life-readiness skills such as problem-solving, adaptability, teamwork, and persistence.
Identifying and measuring non-cognitive skills, which are linked to students’ academic performance and persistence in college or on the job, are among the most innovative aspects of the Consortium's work. As a teacher, you know these skills are important, but difficult to measure.
The Consortium has been working with national experts in this field, including the MacArthur Foundation, University of Chicago, MHA Labs, Digital Youth Network, DePaul University, the Education Policy Improvement Center (EPIC), SCALE at Stanford Center for Assessment, and Northwestern University, to learn more, gather feedback, and help us focus our efforts.