21st Century Skills

“Simply adding technology to K-12 classrooms doesn’t necessarily improve learning. What matters most is how teachers and students develop knowledge and skills.” (Zucker and Light, 2009)

When I came across this quote in Pinterest, I couldn’t help but nod frantically at the screen. I keep reading and listening to people talking about incorporating technology at schools. Granted, it is a valid goal. After all, kids will live (and are living) in a world permeated by technology and they need to learn how to use it wisely and effectively. But I keep thinking that the focus is not put where it should be: on the skills they will need, rather that on the elements they will use. Since I am kind of in the “quote” mood, I’ll resort to another one that I think truly expresses what I am trying to say. Perry Marshall very wisely stated”No one who ever bought a drill wanted a drill. They wanted a hole” We should not be teaching our students to use a computer for the mere sake of using it, but rather teach them to use technology to suit their needs and purposes.

I have posted about collaboration before, one of the skills many authors have come to call the “21st century skills”. These are the necessary competences students need to develop in order to successfully interact in this world. These skills include the “Four ‘C’ Skills:” critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration, and creativity and innovation.

Technology provides us with numerous ways to foster the development of these skills. But what we need to keep in mind (and what I need to keep in mind, too) is that technology is just a means to an end.

Picture from @Edtechmorah’s Twitter
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Project Based Learning

Collaboration is a critical skill in today’s world. I have already written a bit about it in a previous post.

This is an interesting video about Project Based Learning from BIE.

As the video states, in a problem-solving world we need skills which are not normally taught in a traditional school environment. Skills such as critical thinking, collaboration and communication have become essential in today’s world.

Collaboration

Wordle

I start my post today with an experiment. I did this wordle to reflect the topic I wanted to write about today. It is beyond clear that our students not only differ greatly from those in the past but they also live in a hyper connected world. In order to succeed in such a world, certain skills are necessary and it is up to us to help them acquire and develop them.

But collaboration is a skill that should not be circumscribed just to students. Teachers can benefit tremendously from collaboration. Be that through Twitter, Facebook groups, Google+ communities or Edmodo, there are countless opportunities to share queries, ideas, resources and more. No matter where you live or where you teach. It’s just a click away.