The Challenges and Opportunities in the 21st Century Teaching

As a teacher in the 21st century, we have witnessed that our learning goes beyond the classroom, and we can access information in multiple ways beyond the traditional means of books and face-to-face lectures. For example, to find a driving direction for a field trip, we could either use a printed map from the DMV, or the web-based MapQuest, or the simultaneous assistance from the global positioning system (GPS) installed in your car that gives you verbal driving instruction to get to your destination. The same could apply to your instructional preparation process. Your research information could be accessed from multiple resources such as, books, journal articles, CD ROMs, web sites, online databases, DVDs, podcast subscriptions, etc.

As a result, technology has enhanced our life; however, at the same time it has also introduced new challenges such as updating one’s knowledge on the rapidly changing technology and knowing how to use information that is being constantly updated and expanded.

Much of the time, such information, simple or complex, comes to us without any filtering system to validate its authenticity and usefulness. We as user have to discern and evaluate our information source and usefulness on our own. Hence we could become disoriented, overwhelmed, misguided, or even misinformed if our understanding of finding and evaluating information is lacking. Furthermore, this understanding is critical for teachers and education specialists who have to obtain accurate legal information pertaining to the rights of students, parents, and teachers.

How do we meet these challenges? And how do we create learning opportunities for students that prepare them for lifelong learning? The solution is to develop one’s information literacy, as defined by the Association of College and Research Libraries, “the ability to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information.” Understanding and acquiring the Information Literacy Standards are lifelong learning skills that not only will enable us to excel in this era of information exploration but also in the Knowledge (and Interaction) Age.

To support our credential candidates and graduate students to become information literate teachers and educational specialists, this web site provides three interrelated components as follows:


This was a collaborative project, and I would like to acknowledge the following contributors: Dr. Mary Somerville, Associate Dean and Ms. Sue Kandall, Education Librarian, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, SJSU; Ms. W. Mei Fang, Instructional Designer, Center for Faculty Development & Support, SJSU; Mr. Kevin Lai, Instructional Technologist.