21st Century Skills

In the midst of all the work I’m doing in the NZ context at the moment the issue of skills for 21st Century learners keeps raising its head – what are they, how should we teach them, how do we assess them..??? etc.

The announcement in eSchool News today of the development of a first-of-its-kind Center for 21st Century Skills aroused my interest.

The Center will be run from the governor’s office by the North Carolina Business Committee for Education (NCBCE). Educators and business leaders across the state will work in tandem to redesign existing curricula, improve teacher professional development efforts, and implement assessments designed to track statewide student progress. The Center will collaborate with K-12 school systems, community colleges, and teacher education institutions to develop and pilot its programs, but specific details were not available at press time.

Joining forces with the nonprofit Partnership for 21st Century Skills, a Washington, D.C.-based organization that brings leaders from education and the business community together, Easley said that he hopes the effort will lead to the development and adoption of a new model for teaching and learning in schools from coast to coast.

I took a look at some of the material that has been produced by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills group , and found a series of ICT Literacy Maps they have developed – so far for English, Maths, Geography and Science. There’s been a lot of research and thought go into the development of these “maps” – and they are certainly a far cry from the previous forms of “check lists” that I’ve seen come from similar initiatives.

The challenge, of course, comes with designing learning experiences that provide the opportunity for students to learn, practise and demonstrate these skills, and in designing assessment tasks and approaches that will allow for these skills to be assessed appropriately. I did have a quick go at formulating an assessment rubric based around some of the English sample student outcomes, and found it surprisingly easy to do. I’ll certainly be coming back to this site from time to time!

2 thoughts on “21st Century Skills

  1. Derek,

    I have posted a couple of messages on my own blog that look at this issue. See Do today’s students think differently?, Will the virtual classroom redefine what it means to be a student — or a teacher?, and Students with neomillennial learning styles and virtual high schools. These all look at the issue from different perspectives: are today’s students’ brains wired differently, does online learning change the way students learn, and do today’s students have different ways of learning than we did due to the influence of technology.

    Take a look and feel free to comment…


  2. Sorry, the URLs didn’t come through, guess you don’t have any HTML enabled.

    They are:

    http://mkbnl.blogspot.com/2005/04/do-todays-students-think-differently.html – Do today’s students think differently?

    http://mkbnl.blogspot.com/2005/04/will-virtual-classroom-redefine-what.html – Will the virtual classroom redefine what it means to be a student — or a teacher?

    http://mkbnl.blogspot.com/2005/03/students-with-neomillennial-learning.html – Students with neomillennial learning styles and virtual high schools


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