21st century skills update and pigeons

From eSchool News, comes a report that the MILE (Milestones for Improving Learning and Education) guide for 21st century skills has been updated from its launch in 2003. The new guide was launched at the AASL National Conference ,which I have attended once and it’s huge, with over 2200 delegates milling around everywhere and it’s one of these conferences where if you meet people once, don’t rely on seeing them again. Despite that it’s a very invigorating experience. The updated guide to 21st Century Skills includes a poster which you can download. The article in eSchool News states that new guidelines on implementation have been included e.g. “a visual mapping and self-assessment instrument”, to allow authorities and schools to gauge implementation. So it looks very useful. Of course, we all must question whether there could possible be a discrete set of 21st century skills which our students can use effectively and accept that many skills, e.g. higher order thinking skills have been around for many centuries, in both oral and written cultures.

If you like pigeons – look away now and do NOT look at the photo below. If you think cities should protect their public sculptures from pesky pigeons, then you may admire the strategy I saw recently in Abu Dhabi. I was walking back to my hotel down a street with lots of public sculptures (see previous entry for example) and this man appeared and started laying down handfuls of grain on the pavement. At first I thought he may be an eccentric bird lover and I wondered if he’d be allowed to do this. After the pigeons flocked off the nearby monuments, I noticed that there was a metal diamond around the pigeons. I then saw a wire going from this diamond to a man, about 20 metres away, holding a wire. He pulled the wire and a net closed over the pigeons. I snapped (see below) the man approaching the netted pigeons but left after that. As to the fate of the pigeons – who knows. In Scotland, pigeons are known as doos. So this paragraph has been about the Abu Dhabi doos (with apologies to Fred Flintstone).



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