“The new name of the game in schools would be to confidently embrace uncertainty,
to look at change through the prism of learning...”
Gabriel Rshaid, The 21st Century Classroom
When I heard about a Lewis-Palmer High School (LPHS) student saying to her mother, “I’m teaching myself HTML,” I paid attention. Sophomore Emily Berry participates on one of the three CyberPatriot teams at LPHS. These teams compete in national competitions analyzing systems for security issues. CyberPatriot, sponsored by the Air Force Association, teaches students the importance of cyber citizenship and cyber security. Students assess scenarios in which they identify and eliminate threats in a six-hour window on several different platforms. This type of high-tech learning intrigues me. Clubs such as this are another example of the innovative and forward-reaching options available to Lewis-Palmer School District students.
Emily wants a career in cyber security, so she takes programming classes at LPHS in addition to her involvement in CyberPatriots. She also practices coding during her free time and is trying to teach herself calculus. “Technology is an amazing power when the right person has it, and I want others to harness this power in the right way. The Internet can be used to help our society in amazing ways, but it can also be used as a weapon. I want to help make cyber space a safe place,” shares Emily. I believe that students like Emily will definitely impact our world for the better.
In education today, we reference 21st century learning and classrooms often, and the example above truly represents students acquiring 21st century skills. Giving up traditional ideas about classrooms, tests, and fixed outcomes while trusting and equipping students to figure out new processes (in and out of the classroom), can be risky business; therefore, teachers and teaching have evolved with new tools and requirements as they reach and stretch alongside students. Gabriel Rshaid states, “In order to rethink the current model of schooling and provide education that allows our students to function effectively in the 21st century, even if the actual devices that will be created cannot be foreseen, it is important to try to anticipate the evolving technological trends and what their long-lasting impact will be on individuals and society.” Anticipating what students will need, providing them with foundational critical-thinking and problem-solving skills remains imperative. I am amazed and inspired at what our students achieve. I am amazed and inspired at the guidance, structure, and freedom our skilled educators provide.
In order to ensure that Emily and all Lewis-Palmer School District students continue having access to applicable technology and forward-reaching projects, opportunities which promote learning and preparedness for post-secondary options, we must embrace appropriate risks. Educators must look towards the future and attempt to see what isn’t seeable yet. Teachers today aren’t really so different from earlier generations of teachers. Educators continue innovating and trusting that paths will become clearer as we move forward in unknown terrains.