Technology is undeniably changing the face of education, and it’s easy to see the impact already. Atkins was commissioned as lead consultant for architecture, interior design, structural, mechanical and electrical engineering design, construction supervision and project management.
The client’s brief was for a structure that would not only be a signature tower with a contemporary design but one whose exterior appearance remained durable in the long term.
To maximise the use of the cutaway corner on Sheikh Zayed Road Atkins incorporated a massing of drums on the corners to maximise the floor area whilst simultaneously rendering the chafed corner more aesthetically pleasing. High quality, resilient materials were used for the exterior in order to maintain the towers’ appearance. The Al Rostamani logo of three overlapping doves in flight was the inspiration for the feathered curve massing of the facade comprising silver and glass winged feathered elements which give the entire structure a monolithic appearance. Features: Fifty floors of two- and three-bedroom apartments, retail facilities on the ground and mezzanine floor, health and leisure facilities on the roof, a nine storey car park for 412 cars, two floors of which are occupied by building services. ShareRecently, one of the teachers who is participating in our district’s 21st Century Learning grant project came to talk with me about assessing 21 century skills – one of the expectations for teachers in this project. So to effectively assess skills and habits of mind –we must design a performance task for the students. One of the most difficult tasks of designing an effective formative assessment tool for 21st century skills is deciding what criteria should be included. Another great strategy for building a formative assessment of 21st century skills is to seek input from the students.  Brainstorm as a class what they think contributes to increased creativity, self-direction, collaboration, etc.
There are many excellent resources available via the Web to begin the process of creating a formative assessment tool for a particular skill.
Additionally, below you will find my slides from a workshop I have created on assessing 21st century skills.
Excellent article-all involved in education should take note otherwise we will stay behind….our learners will become the lecturers! To identify, articulate, instruct and assess relevant 21st-century concepts and essential skills, across all subjects and grade levels. To continuously review and revise curriculum and instruction to meet the needs of all learners. Our current students must be able to navigate and lead in a shrinking world with expanding technologies and scientific discoveries.
We cannot predict where the future will take our students, so we must prepare them in today’s classrooms to meet tomorrow’s challenges with creative solutions and flexible thinking.
Critical Thinking: provides a foundation for problem solving, intellectual accountability, rigor and consistency.


Creative Thinking: provides the freedom to identify, predict, solve and understand opportunities, challenges, and multiple perspectives. Communication: provides multiple strategies and resources for sharing and understanding concepts and ideas with diverse audiences.
Responsibility: provides a moral guide for choices that impact ourselves, others and the world.
We have completed the first year of research of the 21st century learning practices with the University of California, Irvine. At the Middle School, we began student-led conferences, increased the use of scoring rubrics, and self-evaluation tools to help students develop their metacognitive abilities.
At the Upper School, physiology students extended their learning beyond the classroom using videoconferencing to observe an autopsy. Your support of the Building on the Promise campaign will help us shape the future dimensions of learning in the 21st century!
In the grade 8 United States History class, students research the Boston Massacre using a wide variety of resources, including accessing original documents and analysis online. Students create two online newspapers with opposing perspectives (British and Colonial), including fact-based articles detailing events from their particular viewpoint.
Student teams debate viewpoints surrounding the question “To what extent were the Colonists justified in declaring independence from the British?” Using laptops and online resources, the entire team chats with their spokesperson throughout the debate, remaining engaged in critical thinking and supplying additional thoughts and evidence for their viewpoint. Student essays focusing on the same topic are evaluated for conceptual understanding and target skills. In these exercises, students employ specific skills and strategies related to critical thinking, creative thinking, communication, teamwork, and responsibility, all while using new technologies. Imagine what classrooms will be like in 20 years with the speed of technological innovation.
The 50 storey residential tower comprises two and three bedroom apartments, retail facilities, health and leisure facilities and parking for 412 cars.
The site on which the building now stands was an awkward rectangle with a corner cut away on one side.
The choice of materials used serve both an aesthetic and functional purpose and are designed for long term preservation of the building’s exterior. Without giving students specific, targeted feedback on how they are performing these skills, students will have little opportunity to understand how to improve their level of creativity, become better researchers through increased information literacy skills, become better at collaborating with groups for project creation and problem solving, or develop good habits of mind to become self-directed learners.
An assessment director in my school district once said, “If you want to assess if a student can play basketball, you don’t give him a multiple choice test!”  How valid would a multiple choice test be in telling us if the student could pull together all of his knowledge and skill, to actually collaborate with his teammates and perform during a live game with an audience? The criteria should be descriptive enough to provide guidance to students of things they can do to improve that particular skill.


But with 30+ students in a class the instructor can’t possibly follow this guideline. Their leadership potential will be increased by their ongoing education in global communication and technological competence.
Margaret’s teachers are dedicated to upholding a forward thinking educational philosophy and students are already participating in ongoing instruction in 21st century learning concepts.
As a result of this research we have learned that our faculty has made substantial progress in moving toward 21st century instruction and assessment by increasing opportunities for collaboration among students, student self-reflection and technology integration.
Metacognition, an important 21st century skill, is the ability to think about your own thinking process. At the 21st Century Educational Technology Classroom Infographic you will learn about some of the key advancements in the 21st century classroom. If you’re thinking multiple choice tests won’t work in the basketball scenario –then you also need to think again about what assessment of 21st century skills should look like. Additionally, they might be best used in self-evaluation, followed up with conferencing for an opportunity to give more in-depth verbal feedback. As they develop these necessary skills, they will have opportunity and encouragement to use them responsibly, with an awareness of the needs of the local community, the global community, each other, and our physical environment.
For example, in Lower School we successfully piloted a reading assessment tool that uses Internet tablets to pinpoint students learning of various reading skills and graph their progress in mastering these important building blocks for future educational success.
It involves teaching students to set goals, develop a plan of action and reflect and evaluate their progress. This is part of a curriculum that, combined with appropriate resources, will allow students to adapt, engage and lead in the 21st century. Practical skills combined with awareness of local and global trends will allow for the balance and breadth of education that will enable them to excel.
How do you train students to get better in a certain skill (like autonomy for instance) when you only see them 2-3 hours a week and inbetween sport and maths or sleepy at 8 am. This is work that the teachers in my grant project have been engaged in for at least 2 years.



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