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By Dr. John Urkevich, Executive Director

Cooperating School Districts’ Virtual Learning Center provides instructional technology professional development to K-12 teachers in the St. Louis metropolitan area. Several of the trainings take place in the Technology Enhanced Learning Environment, or tele.

June 3 SMART Board classThis spring, the tele received a major overhaul: two new interactive whiteboards (one SMART Board, one Promethean ActivBoard) with attached projectors, a new high definition Polycom 9000, a flat screen TV, and a new audio system.

The tele classes offered by the VLC assist teachers in integrating technology such as interactive whiteboards and videoconference equipment, plus Web 2.0 applications like blogs and wikis, into the classroom. By utilizing technology in their schools, educators are able to meet 21st Century skills.

21st Century skills set includes:

  • Information and communication skills (information and media literacy skills; communication skills)
  • Thinking and problem-solving (critical thinking and systems thinking; problem identification, formulation and solution; creativity and intellectual curiosity)
  • Interpersonal and self-direction skills (interpersonal and collaborative skills; self-direction; accountability and adaptability; social responsibility)
  • Global awareness
  • Financial, economic and business literacy, and developing entrepreneurial skills to enhance workplace productivity and career options
  • Civic literacy

We all know the importance of teachers utilizing technology to engage their students in their learning in the 21st Century. Students enjoy collaboration and easily work with technology and Web 2.0 applications for problem solving and communicating. These skills will translate as they enter the workforce in the years to come. CSD strives to keep our students engaged in their schoolwork by providing teachers’ professional development to incorporate 21st Century skills with technology use in their classes.