This year I am taking a course called 21st Century Literacy, its purpose is to strengthen both English and business technology skills. (You can view a previous post of mine which contains details about this course here). To summarize 21st Century Literacy, it is a course that includes both and English and Business courses accompanied by use of technology and how it affects both the world and different types of literacies.
As a learner, one tends to obtain both strengths and weaknesses. As a learner, my strengths are the ability to take neat, efficient, and thoughtful notes, and I am very organized. Also, according to previous educators I’ve had, I am strong in writing and oral presentation. In 21st Century Literacy, my strengths have allowed to to complete my tasks at ease.
Some areas that I lack in are contributing in class and expanding on my learning/thinking. In terms of contributing in class, I lacked the confidence and I never found it necessary to contribute in class if the teacher was not directly asking you a question. 21st Century Literacy has opened my eyes and I have realized the importance of contribution because by contributing in class, you may have some questions answered therefore making you that much more knowledgeable. As for expanding on my learning/thinking; I am a very task driven student. When an educator gives me a task, I complete it right away, no more, no less. The 21st Century Literacy course has shown me that creatively “thinking outside the box” is the most important component of your learning. I’ve learnt that when you do a little extra, and take your thinking to the next level, that is when the real magic happens.
Another area that I was lacking in was reading for pleasure. In this course, there were some books that were carefully selected by my educator. These books inspired and encouraged me to read a lot more and it taught me the importance and benefits of reading. I am aware that this is skill is on a very primary level but it is an area that lacked attention, therefore I decided that I would improve upon it.
My educator had all students create something called a Personal Learning Plan (PLP). A PLP is a document that contains the student’s primary learning style, strengths and weakness as well as how it corresponds with their prefered learning style, personality type, passions, and academic goals that they were hoping to achieve this term. This was a tool that I found very helpful because it was very easy for me to achieve and document my learning goals, as well as refer to when beginning a personal writing task. If you would like to view my Personal Learning Plan, click here.
Every week on our weekly tasks list, there is a “theme” called a Weekly Theme. All the tasks that were included for each week corresponded with whichever theme it was that week. Our weekly themes were; Getting on the Same Page, Leadership, Technology/Poetry, Project Management, Individualization, Curiosity, Organization, Design, Respect, Perspective/Point of View, Adaptation, Responsibility, Self Regulation, Initiative.
Having these themes improved me as a learner because I was able to practise skills that needed improvement and expand on the skills that I already had.
During the 21st Century Literacy course, we read a book called Flowers for Algernon. We were separated into groups where we would discuss discussion questions that were chosen by us ahead of time. When this book was completed, we watched the film “Charly”, a remake of the book Flowers for Algernon. As a follow up, we all wrote a comparison of the book and the film. (You can view my comparison here). I found that this unit strengthened my attention to detail. Attention to detail is a very important skill and this exercise helped me because I hadn’t made a book to film comparison before. It was very easy for me to complete this task because I am very b organized, analytical, and I have the ability to efficiently take neat and thoughtful notes. The themes I feel correspond with this task the best is perspective/point of view, curiosity, and organization.
For one of our units, we covered King Lear, a play by William Shakespeare. It was my first time reading a Shakespeare play and I found it to be a very interesting experience. During this unit I was given tools to aid my understanding of the storyline which was extremely helpful. I feel that I am now equipped for future Shakespeare readings. The weekly themes I chose to correspond with this are; organization, curiosity, and adaptation. I chose these themes because to thoroughly understand Shakespeare, you need to be very organized and you need to be able to adapt to the different style of English. Curiosity is also a large component because there are so many different “layers” to Shakespeare’s writing. If one does not obtain the curiosity to dig deeper and really indulge himself into the different layers, you will be one who simply reads and continues on without any further thought, therefore you will not appreciate the work as much. From my experience, I benefited so much from reading King Lear. I was exposed to a very different style of writing, I was forced to adapt to that different style, and I learnt the importance of digging deeper instead of simply reading then continuing on without further thought.
To conclude the amazing journey that is this 21st Century Literacy course, I have retained extremely useful life skills, as well as I have had proper attention brought to my weaknesses. Not only have my weaknesses improved, but so have my strengths. I am only able to speak for myself however, this course has been outstanding and extremely beneficial. I am very fortunate to have taken 21st Century Literacy.