21st Century Learning

“How can the United States continue to compete in a global economy if the entering workforce is made up of high school graduates who lack the skills they need, and of college graduate who are mostly ‘adequate’ rather than ‘excellent’?’ — Are They Really Ready to Work?

Scott McLeod blogged about some pretty startling statistics contained in a recent poll by The Partnership for 21st Century Skills.

The poll, Beyond the Three Rs Voter Attitudes Towards 21st Century Skills, reinforces much of what we have been discussing in the ed-tech community for the past few years. Quite honestly, I was surprised at just how much the poll respondents supported the argument for greater inclusion of educational technology and recognized the growing gap between U.S. graduates and their global counterparts. Of course, the study was conducted by an organization whose purpose is to advance the implementation of 21st century skills . . .

Yet, I still find the data significant. Here are some of the items that caught my attention:

At the same time, voter attitudes clearly have shifted away from the “back to basics” movement that was a strong theme for school improvement during the 1990s. Today, the majority of voters (74 percent) say they believe schools should place at least an equal emphasis on 21st century skills and basic skills. About one-fifth of this majority (21 percent) believe schools should place a total emphasis on 21st century skills.

I am intrigued by the Framework for 21st Century Learning advocated by the Partnership 21st Century Skills.

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills has developed a unified, collective vision for 21st century learning that can be used to strengthen American education. The key elements of 21st century learning are represented in the graphic and descriptions below. The graphic represents both 21st century skills student outcomes (as represented by the arches of the rainbow) and 21st century skills support systems (as represented by the pools at the bottom).

The Framework is incorporated into a larger policy tool called Route 21. On Route 21, users can create a free account to access information a wealth of resources about 21st century literacies and skills, support systems, exemplar programs, and much more.

I think that The Partnership for 21st Century Skills Route 21 would be an excellent resource for district leaders and policy makers to investigate and chart their paths to continuous school improvement.


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