Online teaching tip: Activating 21st century skills

Online teaching tip for:

ICT Readiness level: Basic, intermediate & advanced
Digital channels: Multiple channels depending on the situation of your learners
Subject & Grades: All subjects and grades

“The sudden move to distant learning calls on us to actively use the 21st century skills that we often talk about in theory” says Flying Cows of Jozi alumnus Kenneth Baloyi. Last year Kenneth obtained his Honours in STEM Education.  He is now employed as assistant lecturer in Mathematics Education at UJ while also doing his Masters in ICT in Education. We are grateful that he still shares his insights on distant teaching with us!

When we speak about 21st century learning we refer to the 4Cs: Communication, Collaboration, Creativity and Critical thinking, in addition to digital literacy.  For an explanation of each of these skills and their role in 21st learning, please read this article or watch the short video below. Our client ITSI offers a three hour teacher professional development course on 21st century learning and the 4Cs to bring you up to speed.

Thinking about the 4Cs in relation to our current challenge of distant learning & teaching, Kenneth suggested a few ways to apply them to our teaching practice:

It is important to keep communicating with all your learners to understand in what ways they are able to participate in your lessons and how this changes over time. It could be that learners who didn’t have devices before now do and others who might have had access to data to communicate could drop out because of new restraints of the family budget.

Knowing the situation of the individual learners in your class, you then apply your creativity to plan how to share lessons, some learners might be able to attend online sessions and for those who can’t attend you can record the lesson and share it later or give them the lesson in a different way that better suits their circumstance.

To determine the content and length of your lessons critical thinking comes into play: considering the media you use and the physical distance of the learners, the lessons that you offer should not be too long and focus on the main (or big) ideas of the topic you want to cover.

During the online lessons you can call on your learners to actively collaborate and switch roles with them.  You would create a scenario where you represent the learners who can’t attend the online sessions and the learners in the session take the role of teacher allowing them to learn from each other.

Would you like more tips and ideas on how to integrate 21st century skills in your distant teaching? Our Flying Cows are ready to personally assist schools & teachers with practical advice. We offer webinars as well as video & phone consultations.

Please contact us for more info and a quote at or 083 729 8435.

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