21st Century SkillsFor so many years, the focus of education has been on acquiring knowledge in specific content areas: parts of speech, algebraic formulas, foreign governments, parts of a cell, etc.However, over the past decade, a need for a new set of skills has slowly crept into our school districts: 21st Century Skills. These skills are viewed as essential to the ever-changing global workplace. Skills like communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking (the 4 C's)are being assessed in the same light as knowledge of math or science. As a result, schools are paying closer attention to how the 4 C's are being integrated with the traditional 3 R's.
Here at Queensbury, we have found that the 4 C's are enhanced through the use of technology. Units and projects have been developed that are infused with technology and emphasize the development of communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking skills.
Employer NeedsPercentage of employers reporting that they have a "high need" for training programs in these skills:
Source: The Ill-Prepared U.S. Workforce, 2009. The Conference Board, Corporate Voices for Working Families, American Society for Training and Development, Society for Human Resource Management.
How does technology play a role in the development of 21st Century Skills?Communication: Students use a webcam and Skype to conduct an interview with a local business leader in a foreign country.
Collaboration: Students work together to build a 3D model of the "school of the future" with each student taking on a specific role on the development team.Creativity: Students build a simulation of a simple machine using programming software.
Critical Thinking: Students solve a real-world problem by using multiple sources available on the internet.Self-Direction: Students use a digital briefcase filled with project calendar, assignments, and notes to work their way through a project calendar.
- Additional resources: Partnership for 21st Century Skills
21st Century Technology Skills CourseTo further develop our students' digital literacy skills, every 6th grade student in our middle school participates in a 10-week technology skills course. The course focuses on four primary topics: Digital Citizenship, Digital Literacy, Cyber Safety, and Understanding Computers.