21st Century Skills

Helping students to become global digital citizens

Growing Tomorrow’s Citizens in Today’s Classroom: Assessing 7 Critical Competencies

Categories: 21st Century Skills, Assessment

[VIDEO]  Based on Growing Tomorrow’s Citizens in Today’s Classrooms

Being able to recall the states and capitals, solve routine problems, identify causes of various wars, or name and describe characters in a novel used to be enough—learning content and developing basic reading, writing, and mathematics skills used to be the end goal. Collaboration, critical thinking, communication, self-regulation, and other critical competencies, or 21st century skills, were often the means by which students learned content deemed necessary. Students would collaborate to analyze a character in a novel, talk about the evidence in the text to support their thinking, and then be assessed on identifying and describing characters from the discussion; this is no longer sufficient. Read more

How to Differentiate Curriculum

Curriculum Differentiation: Making It Happen

Categories: 21st Century Skills, Instruction

Systems Thinking and Curriculum Differentiation

We recently visited an amazing South American tapas restaurant and were greeted with an extraordinary assortment of delicious and diverse foods. When presented with each subsequent platter, we could have taken one of two attitudes: eagerly welcome the array of these delicacies and appreciate their unique presentation and flavor or hesitate and refrain from indulging. To us, the more distinct the dish, the more we wanted to experience it. As educators, we feel the same about the dynamic and diverse individual needs we find in today’s classrooms. Read more

To Increase Student Motivation, Focus on Real-World, Project-Based Learning

Categories: 21st Century Skills, Instruction, Technology

Based on Implementing Project-Based Learning

When Hurricane Harvey flooded neighborhoods and destroyed property in Houston, Texas, teachers didn’t take long to turn the natural disaster into meaningful learning. In schools across the Humble Independent School District, students engaged in a wide range of projects that focused on protecting and restoring the Lake Houston Watershed—using drones to survey riverbanks, inventing devices to filter drinking water, and participating in hands-on conservation efforts.

These students have no reason to ask the tired question, “When will we ever need to know this?” Read more

Skills: Problem solving, critical thinking, literacy, creativity, accountability, productivity, social, communication

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Skills Are as Important as (and May Be More Important than) Content

Categories: 21st Century Skills, Instruction

Teachers have been teaching what they’ve been asked to teach; the curriculum commonly taught, and that we expect students to learn, in classrooms today—for better or worse—reflects the standards in place up until 2010.

However, the policy documents, frameworks, and standards in place since 2010 are qualitatively distinct—and this is a very good thing. Depth and skills are increasingly emphasized and encouraged to be taught and learned. Read more