C21L Main

CoLearning Network--A Learn/Build Communityline

The CoLearning Network (CLN) provides a community for collaborative learning and work.

The network -- developed through a partnership involving C21L and leaders from Colorado Springs, Academy 20, Denver, Littleton, St. Vrain, and Thompson School Districts -- will feature:

• Collective work space for projects;
• Support for work and learning not necessarily available within members’ own school districts;
• A calendar of network learning events, including monthly synchronous events and conversations.

The core of the CoLearning network will be Learn/Builds, in which participants will learn through creating products (e.g., lessons, publications, assessments, videos). Network members can join any available Learn/Build, or create one of their own. Twice a year, CoLearning Network facilitators will kick off a new series of themed Learn/Build groups. The first three learning groups, starting in October, will focus on Digital Citizenship:

Developing the Democratic Classroom, co-facilitated by Nancy White and Stevan Kalmon
School and District Frameworks for Digital Citizens, co-facilitated by Michelle Bourgeois and Scott Elias
Skills, Dispositions, and Responsibilities of the Digital Citizen, co-facilitated by Karl Fisch and Dixie Good

A second round of Learn/Builds will begin in early 2012 with a new focus based on participant input. Have an idea for the next theme? Contact us at info@c21l.org.

To join the community, head to the CoLearning Network and create an account. Joining and participating in the community will initially be offered at no charge. Face-to-face and special events may include a charge to cover costs. College credit through the University of Colorado at Denver will be available for a fee.

The CoLearning Network can help transform professional learning…

…from instruction to inquiry
          …from getting to doing
                  …from seat time to outcomes
                         …from isolation to community

By changing the way in which adults learn, the network will help to change the learning we provide for students.


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Learning In and For the 21st Centuryline

The meaning of the phrase “21st century learning” is often ambiguous, and this ambiguity creates problems in determining why 21st century learning matters and how to implement it. Analyzing the interconnected concepts of Learning In and Learning For the 21st century helps to clarify these issues.

Point Learning In is about modality – using 21st century tools, media, and cultural patterns in the process of learning. For instance: Using digital manipulatives on an interactive whiteboard; conducting an online discussion about assigned readings; connecting students via two-way videoconferencing with scientists in Antarctica.

Point Learning For is about targets – aiming at knowledge and skills that are essential for thriving in the 21st century. For instance: Students create and present a proposed skate park design to the city council; students compete in an international robotics contest; student teams write tutorials that others use to acquire information, follow a procedure, or develop a skill.

In and ForOf course, learning In and learning For are not mutually exclusive concepts. Either learning In or For may yield valuable results, depending on the quality of the learning design. The strategies underlying both are often applied concurrently. But thinking through the distinction is important because even the most sophisticated, technology-enhanced modality may do little to help students learn what they need to know or be able to do in this century. Moreover, learning that involves no technology whatsoever may lead to substantial development of 21st century skills.

The suggestions that follow offer ways to dig deeper into the In and For distinction, and to think about how these two types of 21st century learning can be combined to create dynamic learning.

Talk about it. With colleagues, perhaps in your school’s professional learning community, discuss the distinction between In and For, and share examples from your respective classroom practices. Clarify targets. Collaborate on ways to combine the two.

Analyze scenarios. Distinguish In and For by considering six K-8 thumbnail scenarios. Think about how to address both In and For in order to make the learning in each scenario more dynamic.

Study examples. Look at the Promising Practices video clips collected by C21L to see classroom examples of In and For, and to think about how to apply these teachers’ work to your own.

Examine the practices in your school or district. Use C21L’s Classroom Observation form and Building Walk-through guide, combined with C21L’s Assessment of Practices & Environments, to reflect on the work you and your colleagues are doing.

Collaborate. Form a PLC to cultivate dynamic 21st century learning practices in your school or district. Join the CoLearning Network’s In and For Learn/Build team (which is set to begin its work in Spring 2012) to develop resources and strategies that support learning In and For.

Publish. Share your own video and written examples of instructional design that illustrate an aspect of learning In and For.

Contact Stevan Kalmon for information or support as you explore these options and concepts.


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C21L Videos line

Video Clip

Promising Practices in 21st Century Learning. This series of video segments features Colorado teachers who are implementing new classroom practices. These 10 vignettes, collected during 2008-09, offer concrete examples of how to implement 21st century learning strategies. Click here to request a complimentary copy of the DVD, or for more information and to watch the videos online, click here.



Student / Learner Video Series spoofs the Mac / PC commercials to emphasize the need to shift the focus from “schooling” to “learning.”



21st Century Learning Matters: A Conversation Starter for Education Communities provides an introduction to the transformations needed in education to prepare students to succeed. Produced by The Library of Congress’ Teaching with Primary Sources - Colorado project at Metro State College of Denver, in partnership with the Colorado Council on 21st Century Learning. Click here to request a complimentary copy of the DVD.


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Tools for Learning line

Scenarios on Learning In and For the 21st Century

Developing an effective framework for 21st century learning is facilitated by distinguishing between Learning In and learning For the 21st century. What’s the significance of this distinction? How can practitioners tell whether they’re engaged in learning In or learning For? How can the two be combined and strengthened? By using C21L’s thumbnail scenarios for grades K-8, educators can deepen their understanding of 21st century learning and strengthen their efforts to implement essential practices.


Assessment of Learning For the 21st Century

Assess the progress your school or district is making toward learning For the 21st century. The assessment rubric devised by C21L, combined with collegial observations and dialogue, enables educators to determine how fully they are moving toward implementation of learning that prepares both kids and adults for the challenges and opportunities of this era. The rubric provides brief characterizations in four areas of practice (targets, assessments, experiences, environments). Using this assessment, educators can obtain valuable information for professional learning and planning.


Classroom Observation Form and Building Walkthrough Form

Use C21L’s Classroom Observation and Building Walkthrough forms to collect data on practices and environments. Then examine that data using C21L’s Assessment of Learning For the 21st Century.

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Recommended Readingline

Challenges and Opportunities
Learning Goals and Processes
Learning Organizations
Strategies for Change


Challenges and Opportunities

arrow 2006–2016 Map of Future Forces Affecting Education (2006), by KnowledgeWorks Foundation and the Institute for the Future, www.kwfdn.org/map/ (accessed 12-29-09)

arrow “Brain Candy: Is pop culture dumbing us down or smartening us up?”, by Malcolm Gladwell. In The New Yorker, May 16, 2005

“Capturing the Value of ‘Generation Tech’ Employees,” by Marc Prensky, in strategy+business enews (6/30/04), www.strategy-business.com/press/enewsarticle/enews063004?pg=0

arrow “China Makes, the World Takes,” by James Fallows, in The Atlantic, July/August 2007, pp. 48 - 71

arrow Grown Up Digital: How the net generation is changing your world (2008), by Don Tapscott

arrow Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why we need a green revolution — and how it can renew America (2008), by Thomas Friedman

arrow “New Literacies and Old: A dialogue”, by Stuart Moulthrop and Nancy Kaplan. In Kairos, Vol. 9, Issue 1 (Fall 2004), www.english.ttu.edu/kairos/9.1/binder.html?interviews/moulthrop-kaplan/index.htm (accessed on 12-29-09)

arrow The Lives of a Cell (1974), by Lewis Thomas

arrow “Preparing Students for Work in a Computer-Filled Economy,” by Frank Levy and Richard Murnane, in Education Week (9/1/04), www.edweek.org/ew/index.html

arrow Socrates vs. Writing — Plato, The Phaedrus – a dialogue between Socrates and Phaedrus written down by the pupil of Socrates, Plato, in approximately 370 BC. Posted on “Digital Humanities,” an online course offered at Miami University of Ohio (fall 2005), www.units.muohio.edu/technologyandhumanities/plato.htm (accessed 12-29-09)

arrow “Taking McLuhan and ‘Medium Theory’ Seriously: Technological Change and the Evolution of Education”, by Joshua Meyrowitz (in Technology and the Future of Schooling, 1996, Stephen Kerr, ed.)

arrow The Third Wave (1980), by Alvin Toffler

arrow The Tipping Point (2003), by Malcolm Gladwell

arrow The World is Flat (2005), by Thomas Friedman

arrow “What is Web 2.0: Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software” (9/30/05), by Tim O’Reilly, www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/oreilly/tim/news/2005/09/30/what-is-web-20.html

arrow A Whole New Mind: Why right-brainers will rule the future (2006), by Daniel Pink

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Learning Goals and Processes

2020 Forecast: Creating the future of Learning, from KnowledgeWorks Foundation and the Institute for the Future, www.futureofed.org/forecast/ (accessed 12-29-09)

The Age of Spiritual Machines (1999), by Ray Kurzweil

As the Future Catches You (2001), by Juan Enriquez

Blink: The power of thinking without thinking (2005), by Malcolm Gladwell

Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms (2006), by Will Richardson

The Book of Learning and Forgetting (1998), by Frank Smith

Framework for 21st Century Learning (2007), from Partnership for 21st Century Skills, www.21stcenturyskills.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=254&Itemid=120 (accessed 12-29-09)

Formative Assessment in Action: Weaving the elements together (2005), by Shirley Clarke

Guided Inquiry: Learning in the 21st century (2007), by Carol Kuhlthau, Leslie Maniotes, and Ann Caspari

Horace’s Compromise: The dilemma of the American high school (1984, new edition in 2004), by Theodore Sizer

How People Learn: Brain, mind, experience and school (2000), from the National Research Council

Learning Environments: A 21st century skills implementation guide (2009), from Partnership for 21st Century Skills, www.21stcenturyskills.org/documents/p21-stateimp_learning_environments.pdf

Learning for the 21st Century (2003), from Partnership for 21st Century Skills, www.21stcenturyskills.org/images/stories/otherdocs/P21_Report.pdf

Social Impact Games: Entertaining Games with Non-Entertainment Goals, www.socialimpactgames.com/

Standards for the 21st Century Learner (2007), from the American Association of School Librarians, www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/aasl/guidelinesandstandards/learningstandards/standards.cfm (accessed 12-29-09)

A Taxonomy for Learning, Teaching, and Assessing: A revision of bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives (2000), by Lorin Anderson, David R. Krathwohl, Peter W. Airasian, Kathleen A. Cruikshank, Richard E. Mayer, Paul R. Pintrich, James Raths, Merlin C. Wittrock

Understanding by Design (2005), Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe

Working Inside the Black Box: Assessment for learning in the Classroom (2004), by Paul Black, Christine Harrison, Clare Lee, Bethane Marshall, and Dylan Wiliam

We Can’t Teach What We Don’t Know: White teachers, multiracial schools (1999), by Gary Howard

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Learning Organizations

The Constructivist Leader (2002), by Linda Lambert, Deborah Walker, Diane Zimmerman, Joanne Cooper, Morgan Dale Lambert, Mary Gardner, and Margaret Szabo

“Creating Sustainable Learning Communities for the 21st Century,” by Stephanie Pace Marshall. In The Organization of the Future (1997), F. Hesselbein, et al., ed.

Disrupting Class: How disruptive innovation will change the way the world learns (2008), by Clayton Christensen, Michael Horn, and Curtis Johnson

“Framing Reform for the New Millennium: Leadership capacity in schools and districts,” by Linda Lambert. In Canadian Journal of Educational Administration and Policy (April 12, 2000)

Leadership and the New Science (1999), by Margaret Wheatley

Making Connections: Teaching and the human brain (1991), by Renate Caine and Geoffrey Caine

The Power to Transform (2006), by Stephanie Pace Marshall

“Teaching and Learning in the Educational Communities of the Future,” by Margaret Riel (in Yearbook of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1998, Chris Dede, ed.)

The Teaching Gap: Best ideas from the world’s teachers for improving education in the classroom (1999), by James Stigler and James Hiebert

The Web of Life (1996), by Fritjof Capra

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Strategies for Change

2009 MILE Guide: Milestones for Improving Learning & Education (2009), from Partnership for 21st Century Skills, www.21stcenturyskills.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=800&Itemid=52 (accessed 12-29-09)

A State Leaders Action Guide to 21st Century Skills: A new vision for education (2006), from Partnership for 21st Century Skills, www.21stcenturyskills.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=221&Itemid=116 (accessed 12-29-09)

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This work by Council on 21st Century Learning is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at c21l.org/cclicense.html.