Educators are being challenged by several problems involving the method in which they are teaching children in the 21st Century. The Information Technology era has inundated the public schools by tasking them to develop new and improved ways to keep up with all the data and information that has been made available due to the Internet and other media sources.
This generation of students is in a time of rapid learning and exchange of Information and Data, so much faster than even one decade before them. I remember when I was in school if we were assigned a research paper, you went to the local library and used the old card catalog box to look up your books needed and then used the Encyclopedia’s at the library. Research paper writing entailed an all day trip to the library, not anymore!
One thing that has not changed is that “reading is the window to the world.” It is the foundational skill for learning, personal growth, and enjoyment.
“The degree to which students can read and understand text in all formats (e.g., pictures, video, and print) and all contexts is a key indicator of success in school and in life. As a lifelong learning skill, reading goes beyond decoding and comprehension to interpretation and development of new understandings.”
The problem that we are facing in the education arena is that schools are behind in this learning concept. While this method of teaching is being introduced by the Educators, the individual states and Dept of Education has not changed their curriculum to embrace the needs of our students.
The art of teaching has even changed from “back in the day when teachers could really teach” to the era of standardized testing. We seem to have gotten into the method of “memorize and dump” of data to ensure the passing of the SOL testing. (Standards of Learning)
As a teacher I can tell you teaching is hard work! Due to budget cuts, reduced spending, often teachers are left to teach with restricted resources, limited staffing, and ridiculously low wages.
The positive aspect to all this is that we are aware of the trends and statistics of the changing world of education. The change from teaching traditional research methods over to the newer Guided Inquiry methods is happening. “The ability of our students to draw on the knowledge and wisdom of the past while using the technology of the present to advance new discoveries for the future are being implanted.”
In conclusion, we have students graduating everyday entering the “real world”, while we are behind for them, we are working to prepare our students to think for themselves, make good decisions, develop expertise and implement lifelong learning skills.
 American Association of School Librarians, Standards for the 21st Century Learner.