DeeperLearning21 is the official blog of Illinois21 and Mindquest21. As a nonprofit education organization, Illinois21 provides the resources that empower educators who support the success of each student through the adoption of deeper learning outcomes and aligned evidence-based best practices.

Our goal is to stimulate the conversation about educating the 21st century learner. Posts will cover crucial topics in education and offer insight, information, and resources to empower today’s educators. Readers will also find updates, news, and events and more.

Personalized Learning: Fake and Real Choices

James A. Bellanca Don’t doubt it. Ballyhooed Personalized Learning via computer assist programs kills student agency. Choice and voice offered by programmed learning machines are fake options.  Hidden algorithms deciding what questions a student will see and single answers picked from four, often by guess, is not agency.   Three Steps to Real Agency   …


New Book Coming September, 2019

How to Teach Thinking Skills: Seven Key Student Proficiencies for College and Career Readiness, Second Edition By: James A. Bellanca, Robin J. Fogarty, Brian M. Pete Ensure your students develop the complex, higher-order thinking skills they need to not just survive but thrive in a 21st century world. The latest edition of this best-selling guide by James A. Bellanca, Robin …


Wad-Ja-Learn? Assessing Deeper Learning

In the current school accountability climate, we all want to know how well our students are doing. “Wad-ja Get?” That’s the question from parents, teachers, board members and the students. In these times, the question can be translated to means “what the standardized test scores are?” and “what are your grades?”.  However, by just looking …


Making the Transition: No Teacher is an Island

James Bellanca   “Deeper Learning? All kids thinking critically and creatively? Collaborating? Applying digital literacy? “It would never happen in my school with the kids we get.” “I’m lucky to get them to finish my daily reading worksheet.” “ Half of my thirty-three students speak almost no English.” Those words are just another dream that …


What’s Necessary? Deeper Outcomes for a Lifetime

Common definitions and descriptions of deeper learning have highlighted methods and programs which may facilitate deeper learning experiences. These may be nice for a school to say it is readying students for their 21st Century college and career challenges. However, few are necessary when it comes to producing what is essential–deeper learning outcomes for all …


Check Out Our NEW Website

We are pleased to announce the launch of our brand new website! After months of hard work and dedication, we are delighted to officially announce the launch on 9/13/2018. The new site launch is available and the URL is Our goal with this new website is to provide our visitors an easier way to …


Deeper Learning: An Outcomes Definition

When I was a boy, I spent several weeks each summer on my relative’s farm. Chores were included. One summer, my uncle declared, “This summer we’re digging a new well. You’re welcome to join in!” We dug and dug through rock, stone and sand. At last, we found mud and water 26 feet below the …