Thursday, October 11, 2012

21st Century Skills...Now!

Back in 2008 or so, I was asked to serve on my schools' Iowa Core Curriculum implementation team. It was a really interesting team to be a part of, and as I worked to become more familiar with the Iowa Core, I found nothing objectionable in it, and much to celebrate.

As you might expect, the standards include information about teaching math, and language arts, and even science and social studies (which are notably absent from the Common Core State Standards), but the part that I found most interesting--and still find interesting--is the part about 21st Century Skills.

What skills are critical for students at the beginning of the 21st Century? The State of Iowa would say:
  • Civic Literacy
  • Employability Skills
  • Financial Literacy
  • Health Literacy
  • Technology Literacy
I'm in favor of these! And I think they should be woven into the rest of the curriculum.

As a former Technology Coordinator, I'm especially interested in technology literacy. I'd love to see more schools embrace technology literacy not as a subject unto itself, but as a tool to enhance learning in all the disciplines. I've blogged some about this before here and here.

At the teachers' convention I attended last week, I was part of several sessions that were about teaching technology skills--developing technology literacy--in ways that embed the learning within the "regular" disciplines.

Best quote of the convention:

"It's 2012, people. We need to stop talking about 'planning for teaching 21st Century Skills' and start teaching them! That's like saying, 'It's October 1...what am I going to teach this year?'"

(Thanks to my friend, Mr. Glenn Vos, Superintendent of Holland Christian Schools for this gem.)

So, teachers, how are you teaching 21st Century Skills, right now? Specifically, where are you incorporating technology literacy into your classroom practice?

Students, how could your teachers do a better job of this?

1 comment:

  1. Great last question, Dave. One I am trying to figure out myself. Problem I am facing: How do I balance using all the technology and keep up with the curriculum? Not an easy thing to figure out...