Last October, Alvin Trusty and I were discussing the upcoming Ohio Educational Technology Conference. We needed presentation topics. We thought it would be neat to have some sort of series, where one of us starts a topic, and then the other one continues on the same topic in the next presentation. We started talking about 21st century skills, and how we could talk about the ways some teachers are incorporating critical thinking, creativity, communication and collaboration in their classes. We were also talking about the bigger picture. It’s been 15 years since Ohio wired every classroom for Internet access. We’ve gone through three refresh cycles on computers with Internet access now. We shouldn’t be doing “introductory” sessions now. This isn’t “part 1.” It should be more like “part 4.”
As soon as “part 4” was mentioned, we had a title: 21st Century Schools: Part IV, A New Hope. That would make the second presentation Part 5: The Empire Strikes Back. In that one, I focus on some of the barriers to successful implementation of 21st century skills, and suggestions for overcoming them. We recruited Ryan Collins to tackle the third part of the triology, and we were ready to go. Fortunately, eTech scheduled all three sessions back-to-back in the same room, so conference attendees could spend the whole afternoon with us in the Star Wars world.