Thursday, December 12, 2013

Are they still "21st Century Skills"?

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the phrase “21st Century Skills”?  I will bet it was technology skills.  If so, read on and you will find out they are so much more!

While at the ACTE VISION13 conference in Las Vegas this past week, I heard a lot about 21st Century Skills.  I posed the question on Twitter, “Why do we still call them 21st Century Skills?”  I got one response, but it made total sense.

I like the way that Mickie put it.  We are 13 years into the 21st Century, they are just skills that every student must have.  Not only for school and their career, but to be successful in life. I go back to the question at the beginning of this post and I will answer it myself in a different way.  To me the connotation of “21st Century Skills” is technology based.  But the skills that students need to be successful are more than technology skills.  Don’t get me wrong, technology skills are important, but so are many other skills that students need to be successful.  Collaboration, communication (verbal and non-verbal), critical thinking, and creativity don’t need technology.  Technology helps, but it isn’t necessary.

If you haven’t had a chance to look at the P21 organizations Framework for 21st Century Learning, you need to at least glance at it.  You can find it here.  This give you a good idea of the Skills that students need.

As for me, I am no longer going to refer to them as 21st Century Skills, they are now and forever more SKILLS.  If I happen to use this term, call me out and remind me of this post.  Take me to task, I am sure that I will deserve it.