21st Century Skills

What do we need to teach our students to be successful in the 21st Century? Take a look the Partnership for 21st Century Skills Framework. How could these be implemented in your classroom? What are the benefits of implementing these skills for your students?

What a timely question, as this is a topic I have really been exploring lately in a PLC.  We began by sifting through the framework and viewing the video "shift happens"  (found at 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpEnFwiqdx8&feature=PlayList&p=5F590F7F343F386C&index=42).  After going through (literally hundreds of) pages of links, information and research, and contacting leaders in the field of 21st century skills, we/I am looking specifically at implementing a set of selected skills curriculum for next year based on the following ideas:

                Civic literacy includes

  • §         Being aware of issues in your community and the world
  • §         Understanding communication
  • §         Cooperating with others
  • §         Resolving conflict
  • §         Being part of a team
  • §         Explaining how service benefits our world

Media literacy includes wading through the abundance of information in our world and asking:  

  • §         Do you have access to information?
  • §         Do you know how to find information?
  • §         Do you know if your information is accurate?
  • §         Do you have the skills to keep up with rapidly-changing technology?

Communication and collaboration includes:

  • §         Expressing thoughts and ideas clearly and effectively through speaking and writing
  • §         Demonstrating ability to work effectively with diverse teams
  • §         Make compromises, make changes, to get to a common goal
  • §         Share responsibility when working together

  The items I am choosing to focus on in my classroom include:  a service learning project in Environmental Issues (my “civic literacy” item), updating my Science in the News reflection guide to include more work on facts/ opinions, identifying bias, and identifying the true source of information (my “media literacy” item), along with consistently implementing more of the 6 traits of writing in my students’ lab reports and project proposals (my “communication and collaboration” item).   Whew… it is a lot, but the goals are lofty; if we want our students to be functional in each of the skill areas of the 21st century framework we need to start somewhere.  

I think the benefits of implementing these skills into the classroom and curriculum are that we are preparing students to work and function in an ever-changing technologically advancing world.  

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