Embracing the Challenges of the 21st Century


My family is finding it increasingly difficult to agree on movies. With one child in elementary, one in middle school, and the oldest in high school; finding a movie that is age-appropriate for the youngest and interesting enough for our teenagers is a challenge.

At our last family movie night, we were having a hard time reaching a decision. Looking for suggestions, I opened the Common Sense Media app on my phone. I recommend this resource whenever I'm talking with parents or teachers about kids and digital citizenship. The free service provides ratings and reviews on various technologies including websites, apps, tv shows, and movies. I came across their positive review on a documentary called Batkid Begins. I don't always believe the first review I read, so I cross-referenced it with the Flixster app. Again, positive reviews... especially for families. If you have not seen the movie, I highly recommend it.

So what does this have to do with technology integration?

I don't want to give away too much of the movie, but social media played a significant role in this amazing story... specifically, Twitter. We often hear negative news about social media. Maybe we feel it is a waste of time or don't see any relevance to the goals in our classrooms. This movie shows the positive use of social media in a real-world scenario. It shows examples of Twitter being used for communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity (commonly referred to as the 4Cs).

According to NEA and P21, the 4Cs are fundamental skills students need in the 21st century. We know our classroom goals should align with our school's goals, which align with district goals to help us reach our vision:
"To be a premier school district that models excellence and embraces the challenges of the 21st century."  ~ New Prague Area Schools
Yes, using social media is relevant to the goals in our classrooms. If we are committed to modeling and embracing the challenges of the 21st century, we have to use 21st century tools. Here are some ways to learn more:

  1. Learn more about Twitter in education: NEA, ASCD, and Edutopia
  2. Don't have a Twitter account? Get started with this guide: Twitter for Teachers
  3. Follow Education World's Top 15 Educators on Twitter.
  4. Attend an upcoming PD Session at NPAS.


    is the Director of Technology Integration for the New Prague (MN) Area Schools. In 1996, he began teaching middle school technology education. He has been sharing technology integration strategies since 2005.

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