What does it look like?
Embedding 21st Century Skills in the classroom calls for a transformative shift in the way teachers present information to students, the way students interact with their learning and the way students collaborate and share their learning with others. The 21st century skills are the synthesis of the essential abilities students must apply in our rapidly changing world. Today’s students need a repertoire of knowledge and skills that are more diverse, complex, and integrated than any previous generation.
Colorado 21st Century Skills defined:
Critical Thinking– Critical thinking and reasoning are vital to advance in the technologically sophisticated world in which we live. In order for students to be successful they will need to recognize patterns and relationships, understand and use logic, analyze evidence and draw conclusions, and be inquiry based problem solvers.
Information Literacy– The 21st Century students accesses information efficiently and effectively with tools and habits of mind to organize and interpret data, understand what constitutes reliable sources of information, and clearly communicates thoughts using sound reasoning.
Collaboration– Students will collaborate with each other in multiple settings, offering ideas, strategies, and solutions for others to evaluate, and seeking others’ ideas, allowing them to compare and evaluate the merit of different ideas and fostering a safe environment for discourse.
Self Direction– Learning requires a productive disposition, curiosity and self direction. Students must generate their own questions, and design investigations to find the answers, this involves monitoring and assessing their own thinking.
Invention– Invention takes students to a higher level of metacognition. Applying creative new ways to solve problems students must integrate ideas from multiple disciplines to formulate an understanding of the natural world as they search for patterns and themes, and make connections among ideas, strategies and solutions.
All of these skills are important not only in school, but throughout life, enabling the student to learn and set goals independently and collaboratively.