Lately there has been a fair amount of pressure on tech directors and teachers to cultivate “21st century skills” in their students. But what exactly does this mean? What are 21st century skills?
In general, the term “21st century skills” is used to refer to anything computer or technology related. Specifically however, this term describes the skills and knowledge that go into effectively utilizing technology, today and in the future.
Once out of school, students will enter a world where computers and technology are practically a necessity. Almost every business now relies upon computers to increase the efficiency of its workers. Students need to enter this world possessing the knowledge and skills to succeed.
Traditionally, the computer teacher was tasked with teaching students 21st century skills while the core teacher focused on more traditional subjects such as reading, writing and mathematics. But why should these lessons be mutually exclusive? Why can’t we weave 21st century skills in to core lessons?
21st century skills teach students about critical thinking, problem solving and collaboration, all things that are valued in a traditional classroom. By teaching students how to effectively use computers, they will become digitally literate and better prepared for life beyond the school walls. Teaching our students how to find information on the internet and identify credible sources will make them better 21st century citizens.
When schools are able to effectively integrate the teaching of 21st century skills into the classroom, student achievement increases, dropout rates decline and student attendance improves. Additionally, students become more involved in the learning process and engage with their studies on a higher level.
How are you working to incorporate 21st century skills into your school?