A 21st Century approach to learning

Simon Davenport

Simon has worked in education for a number of years and joined LEGO Education in 2011. He was responsible for the organisation of the First LEGO League—a programme using MINDSTORMS EV3 that aimed to inspire young students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) careers.

Follow @LEGOeducationUK

Website: education.lego.com/en-gb Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Image credit: Flickr // consumersenergy Image credit: Flickr // consumersenergy

We’ve all come to appreciate that technology will play a significant role in the careers and workforces of the future. However, we’re yet to see how this will manifest in practice, so preparing today’s children for their future by arming them with transferrable and relevant skills is crucial.

The new curriculum has evolved significantly to provide a 21st Century approach to learning, with computing being added in 2014, and with STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) being developed to align with the needs of today’s digitally-interconnected world. These subjects require logic, trial and error, communication, and resilience, and therefore the best way to teach them is by using applied and hands-on methods that reveal the real-world applications of topics.

A trend that’s emerged recently is the use of hands-on technology to aid kinaesthetic learning in STEM and computing classrooms. Teachers are using versatile resources, such as robotics kits and practical tools, to enrich the curriculum. Technology is allowing today’s classrooms to become more than just note-taking and reading from a textbook. And, when it comes to STEM subjects in particular, it’s enabling teachers to provide pupils with learning opportunities that are truly beneficial and engaging, helping them to really delve deeper into topics and recognise the real-life “Teachers are using resources such as robotics kits to enrich.” applications, which, in turn, helps them to develop mastery over topics.


Another edtech trend that’s emerging is the use of technology to enhance creativity and imagination within schools, and enable learning to be truly placed in learners’ hands. While classrooms used to follow the ‘sage on stage’ set-up, it’s now about ‘bringing learning to life’ and giving pupils the opportunity to work and think autonomously, so that they can use their imagination to develop their own ideas and solutions to problems. Yes, they’re likely to stumble to begin with as they’re not being given the answer on a plate. But often these situations provide students with some of the greatest learning opportunities, as they must be resilient enough to try and try again, and use their problem-solving abilities and creativity to devise a successful solution or outcome. When learning is placed in pupils’ hands, it encourages them to become the resilient and adaptable thinkers needed for the future.

It’s no revelation that ‘hands-on, minds-in’ learning is more engaging, and when pupils enjoy learning, they learn better, and they learn more. This is why technology is being increasingly used to revolutionise the way STEM subjects are taught. We can’t predict what the future holds, or what jobs are going to be available, however it’s highly likely that technology is going to play a large part. Therefore, by using technology to aid learning, it’s helping to arm Generation Z with the invaluable, real-world and transferrable skills, experience and knowledge needed for the classroom and any future endeavours.

How do you prepare your learners for the future? Let us know below.

Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support us.
When you register, you'll join a grassroots community where you can:
• Enjoy unlimited access to articles
• Get recommendations tailored to your interests
• Attend virtual events with our leading contributors
Register Now

Latest stories

  • How to handle stress while teaching in a foreign country
    How to handle stress while teaching in a foreign country

    Teaching English in a foreign country is likely to be one of the most demanding experiences you'll ever have. It entails relocating to a new country, relocating to a new home, and beginning a new career, all of which are stressful in and of themselves, but now you're doing it all at once. And you'll have to converse in a strange language you may not understand.

  • Is Learning Fun for You, Teacher?
    Is Learning Fun for You, Teacher?

    Over the weekend, my family of five went to an Orlando theme park, and I decided we should really enjoy ourselves by purchasing an Unlimited Quick Queue pass. It was so worth the money! We rode every ride in the park at least twice, but one ride required us to ride down a rapidly flowing river, which quenched us with water. It was incredible that my two-year-old was laughing as well. We rode the Infinity Falls ride four times in one day—BEST DAY EVER for FAMILY FUN in the Sun! The entire experience was epic, full of energizing emotions and, most importantly, lots of smiles. What made this ride so cool was that the whole family could experience it together, the motions were on point, and the water was the icing on the cake. It had been a while since I had that type of fun, and I will never forget it.

  • Free recycling-themed resources for KS1 and KS2
    Free recycling-themed resources for KS1 and KS2

    The Action Pack is back for the start of the brand new school year, just in time for Recycle Week 2021 on 20 - 26 September, to empower pupils to make the world a better and more sustainable place. The free recycling-themed resources are designed for KS1 and KS2 and cover the topics of Art, English, PSHE, Science and Maths and have been created to easily fit into day-to-day lesson planning.

  • Inspire your pupils with Emma Raducanu
    Inspire your pupils with Emma Raducanu

    Following the exceptional performance from British breakthrough star Emma Raducanu, who captured her first Grand Slam at the US Open recently, Emmamania is already inspiring pupils aged 4 - 11 to get more involved in tennis - and LTA Youth, the flagship
    programme from The LTA, the governing body of tennis in Britain, has teachers across the country covered.

  • 5 ways to boost your school's eSafety
    5 ways to boost your school's eSafety

    eSafety is a term that constantly comes up in school communities, and with good reason. Students across the world are engaging with technology in ways that have never been seen before. This article addresses 5 beginning tips to help you boost your school’s eSafety. 

  • Tackling inequality in EdTech
    Tackling inequality in EdTech

    We have all been devastated by this pandemic that has swept the world in a matter of weeks. Schools have rapidly had to change the way they operate and be available for key workers' children. The inequalities that have long existed in communities and schools are now being amplified by the virus.

  • EdTech review & The Curriculum Lab
    EdTech review & The Curriculum Lab

    The world is catching up with a truth that we’ve championed at Learning Ladders for the last 5 years - that children’s learning outcomes are greatly improved by teachers, parents and learners working in partnership. 

  • Reducing primary to secondary transition stress
    Reducing primary to secondary transition stress

    As school leaders grapple with the near impossible mission to start bringing more students into schools from 1st June, there are hundreds of thousands of Year 6 pupils thinking anxiously about their move to secondary school.

  • Generation Z and online tutoring: natural bedfellows?
    Generation Z and online tutoring: natural bedfellows?

    The K-12 online tutoring market is booming around the world, with recent research estimating it to grow by 12% per year over the next five years, a USD $60bn increase. By breaking down geographic barriers and moving beyond the limits of local teaching expertise, online tutoring platforms are an especially valuable tool for those looking to supplement their studies in the developing world, and students globally are increasingly signing up to online tuition early on in their secondary education schooling. 

  • Employable young people or human robots?
    Employable young people or human robots?

    STEM skills have been a major focus in education for over a decade and more young people are taking science, technology, engineering, and maths subjects at university than ever before, according to statistics published by UCAS. The downside of this is that the UK is now facing a soft skills crisis and the modern world will also require children to develop strong social skills as the workplaces are transformed by technology. 

In order to make our website better for you, we use cookies!

Some firefox users may experience missing content, to fix this, click the shield in the top left and "disable tracking protection"