Elevator Statement Challenge

A few weeks ago, Tom Schimmer challenged us to create our elevator statements about 21st Century Learning.

With all of the talk about Personalized Learning for the 21st Century, I thought this might be a fun challenge and way for all of us to refine our messages and learn from each other. I am a big believer in making messages simple and accessible, which is why I think this challenge is so relevant. It’s very easy to kill a good idea with a poorly constructed message, especially early in the implementation/exploration phase.

So….here is your assignment, should you choose to accept it:

“You are attending a conference on 21st Century Learning (yes, I see the irony!) At the end of the first day you step into the elevator at the hotel in which the conference is being held with someone who is NOT attending the conference and is NOT an educator. They turn to you, notice your name badge, and say as the doors are closing, “You’re attending that conference on 21st Century Leanring, right? What’s that all about anyway?”

You have 4 floors (3-5 sentences) to explain to this stranger what 21st Century learning is and give one example of what would be different. Can you do it? How would you respond?

Good luck! This message will never self-destruct so send it to every educator you know!!

So, here is something that I wrote for a principal job application. I would convert it from written language to spoken, but the ideas are the same.

The 21st century is an exciting time for education. Never before have there been so many ways to gather information, create content, make global connections, and meet student needs. We need to teach media literacy so that students can be discerning consumers of information. Students can be writers and artists with an authentic, online audience. Instead of just reading about a place, we can Skype with students there to learn even more. Using technology, we can tailor learning for individuals. 21st century education can be summarized with four words: inform, create, connect, and personalize.

What is your elevator statement?

cross posted from Principal’s Point of View


  1. Grace White said:

    Remember when you went school, to get the facts, and memorize lots? Well, since students today can learn what they want when they want (whip out iPhone), schools and teachers are reimagining their roles. Instead of being the experts, they are creating classroom environments where learners collaborate across the planet, connecting with peers and experts everywhere and anywhere. When reading digitally, students can post it note their thinking, which is visible to classmates and teachers as well, for instant feedback. Today, learning is more about them, and less about us.

    March 30, 2011
    • Grace,

      Far more eloquent than I. Nice touch to pull out the phone.


      March 30, 2011
      • Grace White said:

        Actually, saw Will Richardson’s live TED talk, NYC, recently; he took out his iPhone to talk about how info is a few clicks away, in our pockets. Go to TedxNYed site to view all the just posted Ed talks….Heidi Hayes Jacobs, Alan November, etc — all worthy “elevator speeches.” ( a bit longer )
        All worthy!

        March 30, 2011
  2. Jack Hill said:

    I got out my phone and took his picture then said,”Give me your contact information and I will send you this picture.” Then post the picture on your blog (etc.) and send it to your family,friends, co-workers and have them reply to your question.” Then look at your picture and you will see a 20th century learner.

    March 30, 2011
    • Jack Hill said:

      I meant 21 century learner – I’m trying to keep up with the times!

      March 30, 2011
    • Jack,

      Thanks for the elevator statement. Glad to have your input.

      March 30, 2011
  3. Preparing our students for a future we cannot even imagine while keeping them grounded in enduring values of compassion, collaboration, tolerance, and openness to new ideas is the paradox of twenty-first century education. Literacy is no longer only reading, writing, and arithmetic, but also technological literacy, media literacy, environmental literacy, global literacy and more. These twenty-first century “literacies” are essential, but must be accompanied by “old school” core values – the ability to share, to listen, and to care for others in an interconnected world.

    March 30, 2011
    • Sheila,

      Nice effort to balance 20th and 21st Centuries. So important especially when talking to someone outside of the edublogosphere.


      March 30, 2011

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