ISJ Internation Schools Journal Envisioning the K-Graduate Education Paradigm
ACS Athens

ISJ October 2019: Using Online Discussion Forums to Empower 21st Century Learners.


Nick Potts

Focus of Research
Ever since its inception in 2001, the term ‘digital native’ has seriously challenged the pedagogical hegemony that has existed for over a century (Prensky, 2001). Greg Whitby highlights how ‘we have been used to a curriculum construct that has come out of the Industrial Age… it has been about who controls the information and how this information is transmitted’ (2007). The role of the teacher has been to repackage this knowledge for students. However, this model is not equipped to develop 21st-century skills (Whitby, 2007). As early as 1967, McLuhan recognized that ‘Information pours upon us, instantaneously and continuously’ (cited in Anderson, 2015). Today, students co-construct information. They use digital media to ‘express who they are, in their own language, and in ways that are authentic to them’ (Haddix and Sealey-Ruiz, 2012, p.191). Teachers must embrace ‘how they are thinking, composing, and sharing’ and draw on their out of school practices and talents (Haddix and Sealey-Ruiz, 2012, p.192).