Saturday, March 15, 2008

21st Century Learning: Who's on First?

Okay, friends....  Here's your chance to speak up.

With all the "hoopla" about 21st Century Learning in schools around the world, many of you are working hard to ensure that students gain essential skills that allow them to be competitive in a global economy.

So, among all the skills listed as essential by the various organizations, which skill do you think is most important?

Please leave your feedback here.  I believe your opinion will "seed" the thinking of other readers...and create an inspiring dialogue.

Be sure to comment, then come back and read others' thoughts.


Sharon Eilts said...

Since I work with special needs students, having the ability to use assessible technologies to level the playing field is essential. Many of the 21st Century technology has incorporated features that allow for this which is wonderful.

Sharon Eilts

Gordon Shupe said...

Here is a thought- I don't know if I have ever seen this listed as a 21st Century (or even 20th Century ;-) Skill, but how about Divergent Thinking?

When I think of important skills - I immediately think of things like problem solving, search skills, communication skills, creative skills, appropriate choice of tools, etc. But at the core of a lot of these second tier skill sets and specific strategies is the ability to think outside of the box, go beyond the obvious, anticipate how others perceive things, generate options, make sense of patterns not encountered before.

To me, this begins with divergent thinking - intentionally looking for new possibilities, new solutions, new ways of expressing something. With this skill, higher level thinking is possible, synthesis is feasible, and learning can continue.

Mathew said...

As media is coming to students in increasingly smaller and more portable devices, the need to be able to think critically about media has never been greater and yet we are still woefully inadequate in equipping students with media literacy skills.

Kelly said...

The ability to truly collaborate. To come from the divergent thoughts that have been mentioned and come together and work towards solutions to problems.

Jordy said...

This question popped up on some other blogs recently:

Jordy said...

I would recommend listening to Chris Dede, Yong Zhao, and Mitch Resnick's thoughts on this topic. All excellent thinkers.

My personal thought is that the most important skill remains the same from past to present, metacognition.

Matt Cauthron said...

Creativity, creativity, creativity!

Matt Cauthron said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Robert Hudson said...

It was so refreshing to see creativity and innovation listed among the the new NETS-S (followed by great discussion in our townhall on the proposed NETS-T). Yet, does this not imply, at least in some way, that our dearest of friends, IMAGINATION, is still a noteworthy contender? Einstein who would visualize riding a light beam; MLK who had a DREAM; John Lennon who sang the praises of; and Kieran Egan who wrote the books :-).

My nomination goes to IMAGINATION as the critical element to be nurtured and celebrated. It's not too late to add "E: Other (Please Explain)" to the high stakes answer sheets - is it?

As we used to proclaim from the sacred halls, "Here's to the Crazy Ones . . ."

Imagination, the foundation of creativity and innovation, is my top pick.

Dr. Larry Anderson said...

Sharon mentions that "assessible technologies" must be available to students in an effective 21st Century learning environment.

I wonder if you mean "accessible," Sharon.

I'd like some clarification on just what you mean, because there is a world of difference between the two.

Those of us who are without disabilities cannot possibly know or properly empathize with citizens whose lives are so different than ours, due to their disability. Plus, their condition is a 24x7x365 arrangement. They don't get to take a "time out" from their disability. While we can hurt for them and even work to help make their conditions better, we can walk away from the experience and still have all our facilities. They cannot!

So, if Sharon meant "accessible," that is definitely a worthwhile goal. Further, I believe it is essential for students today to develop an enhanced understanding of the "access" capabilities that instructional technologies possess. Then, perhaps the students will share a communal appreciation for ways that the technologies play such a vital role in learning.

What say ye?