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Difference between 20th and 21st education methods


Education comes from the Latin word educ-ore which means to draw from. School doesn’t make you a doctor, mechanic,teacher or even an engineer what really happens is that the necessary and favorable conditions are given to learners to bring out what is already on the inside.

This has evolved throughout centuries and the way content is delivered to learners has changed over the years. Traditional classrooms like the normal 4 walled, blackboard class environment is fast changing with the impact of technology.

Learners of Dream Africa Primary schools using a projector during a mathematics lesson, Kampala Uganda
Learners of Dream Africa Primary schools using a projector during a mathematics lesson, Kampala Uganda

Computers, phones, tablets, projectors, smart boards etc are fast replacing the traditional methods.

Here is a summary of these differences as stated by the

20th Century Classroom Qualities 21th Century Classroom Qualities
Time-based Outcome-based
Focus:  memorization of discrete facts Focus:  What students Know, Can Do and Are Like after all the details are forgotten.
Lessons focus on the lower level of Bloom’s Taxonomy – knowledge, comprehension and application. Learning is designed on upper levels of Blooms’ – synthesis, analysis and evaluation (and include lower levels as curriculum is designed down from the top.)
Textbook-driven (content comes from textbooks) Research-driven (content comes from student research)
Passive learning Active Learning
Learners work in isolation – classroom within 4 walls Learners work collaboratively with classmates and others around the world – the Global Classroom
Teacher-centered:  teacher is center of attention and provider of information Student-centered:  teacher is facilitator/coach
Little to no student freedom Great deal of student freedom
“Discipline problems” – educators do not trust students and vice versa.  No student motivation. No “discipline problems” – students and teachers have mutually respectful relationship as co-learners; students are highly motivated.
Fragmented curriculum Integrated and Interdisciplinary curriculum
Grades averaged Grades based on what was learned
Low expectations High expectations – “If it isn’t good it isn’t done.”  We expect, and ensure, that all students succeed in learning at high levels.  Some may go higher – we get out of their way to let them do that.
Teacher is judge.  No one else sees student work. Self, Peer and Other assessments.  Public audience, authentic assessments.
Curriculum/School is irrelevant and meaningless to the students. Curriculum is connected to students’ interests, experiences, talents and the real world.
Print is the primary vehicle of learning and assessment. Performances, projects and multiple forms of media are used for learning and assessment
Diversity in students is ignored. Curriculum and instruction address student diversity
Literacy is the 3 R’s – reading, writing and math Multiple literacies of the 21st century – aligned to living and working in a globalized new millennium.
Factory model, based upon the needs of employers for the Industrial Age of the 19th century.  Scientific management. Global model, based upon the needs of a globalized, high-tech society.
Driven by the NCLB and standardized testing mania. Standardized testing has its place.  Education is not driven by the NCLB and standardized testing mania.

Learning is changing fast with technology and its high time we embraced modern 21st century learning methods as educators in Uganda and at Sharebility Uganda we are embracing the creation of digital resource content to facilitate the shift and trends in technology based education in Uganda today

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