You Can’t Help But Agree! Heidi Hayes Jacobs Paints a Compelling Picture of 21st Century Learning

Heidi Hayes Jacobs shares her vision of what we need to do to ensure students are ready to meet the demands of our ever-changing world.

There’s no denying that when it comes curriculum, Heidi Hayes Jacobs’ work reigns supreme.  Her research and insight have guided curriculum leaders, administrators, and teachers for decades.   Even as we continue to redefine what it means to be college and career ready in this brave new world, Jacobs remains in the forefront of research, change, and groundbreaking realizations to improve the quality of curriculum and instruction.

Currently,  Dr. Jacobs serves at the Executive Director of the Curriculum Mapping Institute and President of Curriculum Designers, Inc.   She has served as an education consultant to schools both in the United States and across the world on issues and practices affecting classroom instruction.  Her specialties include: curriculum mapping, dynamic instruction, and 21st century strategic planning.  As we continue to prepare our selves and our students for the implementation of new Common Core State Standards and North Carolina Essential Standards, Jacob’s expertise sheds a light on our logical and imperative next steps..

In this TED Talks session, Heidi Hayes Jacobs reveals the why and how we must change our 21st century classroom to prepare our students to be college and career ready.  She shares her latest blog post Preparing Students for 1982 –  Time Traveling through Testing and points out that the new Common Core State Standards provide educators “an opportunity to modernize curriculum.”  She focuses on the importance of informational text, understanding and implementing media and 21st century skills, and using the digital and virtual tools at our disposal to motivate and inspire today’s students.

Jacobs asks us to rethink our decisions regarding student grouping, scheduling, space, and structure.  Her ideas are novel and clear, and I found myself nodding and agreeing with Jacobs as I was drawn deeper into her vision of what education should and must look like to reflect the norms, tools, and workplace that exists today.

Click on the MLC icon on Baker's website to access his resources. Bookmark his site at

Jacobs encourages educators to take a look at the work of Frank Baker.  In his ASCD webinar from February 2011, Baker defines media and visual literacy.  He makes some important points regarding the difference between being media savvy and media literate.  His presentation provides some clarity and direction for teachers.  Baker’s website provides an incredible variety of great media literacy resources.

This webinar is packed full of information, examples, and techniques students need to learn to be media literate.  Baker discusses advertisement, industry, images, and real-world examples to provide insight on the educator’s role in preparing students to look beyond the literal meaning in media messages.  With a focus on critical thinking, Baker provides a good foundation for teachers as they begin to think more about how to incorporate media literacy in their classrooms.

Click on the image to access Frank Baker's ASCD webinar.

At about the 33 minute mark of this video, Baker shares one teacher’s use of VoiceThread to support media literacy in her classroom by using a Nike ad as a medium to solicit students’ thoughts on what “less gravity” means.  This example of how to use this Web 2.0 tool to encourage critical thinking may help us rethink our modes and methods of instructional design.


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