Is the ‘21st century learner’ still relevant?

Schedule info

Time slot: 

Wednesday 1 October 10:30 am - 11:00 am


Meeting Room 8


  • Innovative Learning


The term 21st century learner may be seen as outdated by some, but it seems to persist in texts used by teachers to inform their perspectives on teaching and learning. In this paper I consider how the figure of the 21st century learner, travels into a school. I do this by reporting on the discussion of 8 teachers at a South Australian secondary school who were asked ‘how do you understand the 21st century learner?’ While their answers to this question commenced with claims about the way that students (and teachers) use digital technology, it developed into a discussion about knowledge – how it is accessed, filtered, organized and created by contemporary students. In this research I asked the teachers to identify some of the texts that informed this understanding of the 21st century learner and this paper will present an analysis of one of these texts in order to trace the way that knowledge about learners and learning is transported into and around a school. I argue that it is important to analyze the way that this figure of the 21st century learner is taken up in the school because of the way that it informs teachers' knowledge about (innovative) pedagogy.

Session Info


  • Refereed Paper


  • Primary School
  • Secondary School


  • Professional Knowledge