Tough question there Vanessa - schools that are open to innovation and aren't tied to test scores:)
Did you see this article - interesting - but not in our interest..... The Latest Doomed Pedagogical Fad: 21st-Century Skills
Very interesting article. In a way, I agree with the author, that sometimes schools focus on "21st century skill" in a vacuum. For example, students will do activities like collaborate to solve a problem like what kinds of people should go on a space flight or think critically about what they would take to a deserted island. In my opinion, these kinds of activities aren't very useful.
The fact is that people think critically about something, they collaborate about something. Those important 21st century skills don't matter if they're not connected to content. And the skills may even look different in different contexts. I imagine that collaborating on a math problem might take slightly different skills that collaborating while discussing a poem.
As educators, we need to make sure that when we tout some new kind of idea, we always tie it to content learning. That way something like emphasizing 21st century skills enhances science, math, or social studies learning. It doesn't take away from it.
Some of those issues can be addressed by changing the way we educate our teachers. In many universites and colleges professors are still teaching using traditional metods; lecture and tests. Ultimately these students graduate and follow the same practices. It is so important that we reach out to our administrators and provide staff development on best teaching practices for the 21st century classroom; global collaboration using programs like skype to communicate with our neighbors, blogs to enhance reading and writing skills, wikis to share and collaborate, problem based activies to encourage higher order thinking skills, team building, research, self-directed learning, etc. In order to create these types of schools we must start at the top; superintendent and work down to the administrators and teachers. Change does not have to be slow, but it has to happen.
Thank you for the article. Interesting view point. Although, I have to agree with the question, "How are millions of students still struggling to acquire 19th-century skills in reading, writing and math supposed to learn this stuff?" I have always thought the 21st Century skills were the same as the 19th Century skills; done with different tools.
I read these Top 10 list for 21st Century Skills posted by dhasings in The Apple.com site. They made me laugh, so I thought I would share them.
10) Driving in the fast lane instead of using it as a passing lane.
9) Talking on your cell while shopping.
8) Knowing where all the buttons are in the dark and what they do on 4 remotes,
7) Talking on your cell while backing out of a driveway and negotiating through turns, lights and traffic.
6) Working with the public in a customer service related job and speaking while never opening your mouth or articulating and/or never using standard English.
5) Walking with a friend while talking to another friend on your cell phone.
4) Listening to rap, enjoying it, rapping along with it and understanding it.
3) Knowing where all your tatoos are and what they mean.
2) Doing your homework/ business in a noisy crowded coffee house and staying there for 4 hours after only spending $2.
1) Avoiding cell phone camera exposure when doing bong hits on a university campus.
We need schools that are open to change and embrace new technologies as tools for today's world. Open classrooms that allow students to connect with others to collaborate and comunicate on content rich projects. These projects should address real world concepts or things that students are passionate and concerned about. Learning through an environemnt such as this will last a lifetime and prepare our students for the future. These students will be our doctors, lawyers, social workers....our future!
Vanessa, I read the article and found it interesting. One quote that jumped out at me was "My final exam would be applauded today by promoters of 21st-centuryskills. We had to plot a course on a Boston Harbor cruise ship,strategizing, analyzing, collaborating. I don't recall understanding any of what was going on, but I turned something in. As I expected, Igot a good grade and a bachelor's degree, despite learning no science." Mr. Mathews states that he didn't learn any science, but he got a good grade anyway. If he didn't understand the concepts how could he have gotten the correct answer. I would suggest that while he may not have known the "scientific terminology", he certainly did understand the concept. And, it's that what we want our students to know. When I was still in the classroom I would teach my kindergartners a skill but wouldn't put a concept or term to it until needed. That way, I could say "Do you remember when we did.......", and they remembered and understood the technical music terminology.