Friday, August 29, 2008

Student Jobs in a 21st Century Classroom

During NECC this summer in San Antonio, Texas I attended a session held by Dr. Alan November. During his presentation he shared the new roles designed to engage students in the 21st century classroom. In days past a typical classroom job would be line leader, chair stacker, table cleaner, pencil sharpener and messenger. While these jobs are necessary managerial roles, November urges teachers to consider roles that will be useful in the 21st century. Consider these possiblilities as you transform your classroom for digital learning.

The Jobs of a 21st Century Learner
Tutorial Designers - select a team of students to create short audio or video available to students that reteaches or clarifies concepts introduced in class.
Official Scribes - select a group of students to serve as the collaborative word processors for class notes. This could be accomplished using a tool like Google Docs.
Researchers - assign a student or team of students to research topics or questions generated in class.
Collaboration Coordinators - select a team to interact with another class regularly from across the world and share what is happening class to class.
Contibutors to Society - select a team who works to contribute back to the world via the web like on Wikipedia about topics the class has studied or learned each week.
Curriculum Reviewers - select a team to present a review of the major topics covered from the week prior via an audio or video cast.

Learn more about how other educators are embracing these roles for students by reading Students as Contributors by Dr. Alan November.

Leave a comment and let me know what possibilities you see for the use of these jobs in your classroom?

Risk... Care... Dream... Expect...


Anonymous said...

I think we need another job title: Educational Advisor. This would be a student who can teach the teacher how to use technology. Last year, one of my students showed me the avatar she created of me. I have been trying to figure out how to create one ever since! Sometimes I feel like I am only seconds ahead of my students.

Dorry Lopez said...

I can't believe that I am leaving you a comment on the day that I am getting married! I am a school nerd, aren't I! Anyway, thank you for sharing the new roles that are designed to engage students in today's world. I need to rethink the jobs in my classroom and make sure that these roles are added gradually as we grow deeper together into digital learning. Cheryl, I agree with you, and I need to look up "avatar" to see what this is.


creagh_mpe said...

I have always been a firm believer in using technology with my class, but this year I am taking it to a entirely new level. Part of my shift in design came from meeting Alan November at a workshop in my county, part came from the ideas from "inspired classrooms". My class now has jobs for the tech teams (groups of 5 students): researcher, recorder, keyboard/mouse operator, manager, and technology learning specialist. These jobs help them stay focused when responding to the class blog, working on their wikis, or recording messages for our podcast. It also helps with classroom management and avoiding issues of who wants to do what.

Melissa Ross said...

We are in the process of having our class become "collaboration coordinators." We have officially found a pen pal in South America. Once we begin interacting with him (and send Chet over for a visit) we are going to try to find a classroom to link with. We are so excited!

Melanie Holtsman said...

What a minute! Dorry is getting married today? Ok - focus Melanie... I love Cheryl's idea although I would call it technology advisor. I think we will transform these roles to work for us and be able to write our own article by the end of the year.

Brooke Brown said...

Wow! And the children can't wait to be a V.I.P. for the day and complete our classroom's daily jobs, just imagine how they would be with these technology duties! :) I know the "Researchers" would definitely be something our second graders would pick up on right away, especially when we have our Report Writing unit. They also sometimes stump Vicky and I with questions that they could research themselves.:) I love Melissa's "Collaboration Coordinators" idea with a pen pal from South America. That is something we must look into for our class.

Debby Cothern said...

O.K. - Melanie, I am glad that you are surprised by Dorry's comment too. I can't wait to hear about her day. I agree that it is time to change the helper roles within the classroom. If anyone has done this with Kindergartners, I would love to hear about it.

Anonymous said...

I loved Melissa's idea and was so inspired, I've been searching for e-pals for our classes as well. Melissa, are you going to skype in with your pen pal class? Will you have just one class for the entire year or will you be connecting with additional classes? How are your students organized to send/collect information on this culture? I also agree with travels at a speed I can't even seem to compute. I'm excited to have students that can take me to the next level.

Patti Bass

Anonymous said...

I also love the Collaboration Coordinator job. What a neat idea and relevant role for our interested students. I must see my techo "go-to" girls, Melanie and Melissa, to find a pen pal/class in Europe! Angela

Debbie Harbour said...

Did anyone know Dorry was getting married? ! ?

Ok, but to the idea of how we can use this in the classroom, I think it would be really cool to voicethread kids talk about how they use their reading strategies to help them when they are struggling. It would be something that I could probably put on my blog and I could showcase students practicing the strategy they use. Maybe even video - not just voicethread. I'll be talking to Melanie!!

Anonymous said...

I am also WHAT? Dorry is getting married! She is very good at keeping secrets.
I too, want to get my class working on new jobs.
I also agree, the students are a great source of information!
I hope to catch up with all of you in time!
Dorry, I am excited for you!

Meli Launey said...

I really think the "curriculum reviewers" job is neat. It would be like a weekly newsletter of what you are doing in the classroom, only way better! We could post it on the blog for all to see.

Anonymous said...

I love the "Contributors to Society" job. In fact, that is what I hope that I am doing with all of my blogging, emailing, and page building.

I truly believe that the kids know when they are being snowed, and that the ability to show the world their work would be seen as a serious and genuine validation of their efforts, rather than the fake sense they may get when they here things like, "We need great work for Open House."

I also love the word processor role. Man, could I have used that in school! And DA could use it now! What a way to free kids from the physical pain of writing. We need voice to text software and hardware. Are you on that KC, KW and EB?



T-Cubed said...

First, Dorry you got married?! Congrats girl, you go!

Second, I just read Eric's Geek profile, and I say that if you know any of the characters from Napoleon Dynamite by name, you pretty much have geekdom covered despite your denial.

Third, Eric is beyond brilliant and so tuned in to what matters. If it ain't fun, don't do it! I feel ya man!

T-Cubed....I had no place else to reply to Eric's insights, so I went to the top:-}

Anonymous said...


Hey...I did it. Nothing has crashed so far and I got to the right place. Yeah!

I lite the Tutorial Designer position. First, because anything with the word "Designer" gets my attention. Next, we do so many creative strategies that why not archive them. Now I just have to ask Eric how to use the flip video camera I bought Peyton 2 years ago that is still in the package. :) Debbie

Anonymous said...


I am glad I found your blog - glad that I am subscribing to it.

I host online projects for teachers and would love to see them join in some.

The site is and I host 9 projects per year.

They are free, pretty fun, and bring tech ideas to the classroom.

It is great to see your teachers enthused.

And congrats to Dorry on her marriage!! :)

Jen Wagner