Way back in 2009, the Partnership for 21st Century Skills developed a Framework for 21st Century Learning. Many educators and schools in the U.S. and abroad have used P21’s Framework for 21st Century Learning to guide their teaching. Now, eight years later, with students’ lives becoming more connected to technology, does this framework still hold up to the test of time?
The Four Elements of 21st Century Learning
The Framework for 21st Century Learning consists of four elements, or “student outcomes:”
1. Content Knowledge and 21st Century Themes:
- Global awareness
- Financial, economic, business and entrepreneurial literacy
- Civic literacy
- Health literacy
- Environmental literacy
2. Learning and Innovation Skills:
3. Information, Media and Technology Skills:
- Flexibility & Adaptability
- Initiative & Self Direction
- Social & Cross-Cultural Skills
- Productivity & Accountability
- Leadership & Responsibility
Are These 21st Century Skills Still Relevant Today?
Who better to ask than Google, Pinterest, and Twitter, three of the largest employers in the United States and abroad? In a recent article and podcast by EdSurge, three employees – Drea Alphonso (Program Manager for Google Education), Trisha Quan (Software Engineer at Pinterest), and Ryan Greenburg (Software Engineer at Twitter) – were asked “In the year 2017, what hard and soft skills should students be developing in order to succeed in the 21st century workplace? What about in the year 2020? 2050?”
Top 5 Skills Students Should Be Developing
Based on the interview with Alphonso, Quan, and Greenburg, the Framework for 21st Century Learning is still applicable today. Here are the skills they believe students need to be successful in the future:
- Communication: public speaking, the ability to write well
- Critical thinking: what you’re doing, what you want to learn, where you want to go
- Technical Skills: coding, how computers work and what they’re capable of
- Problem solving and the ability to learn anything
- Resiliency: having a growth mindset, being able to bounce back from failure
Sound familiar? P21’s Framework is just as relevant in 2017 as it was in 2009. But educators are still struggling with how to integrate the necessary technology components into their curriculums.
How can educators successfully integrate 21st Century skills into their teaching?
Drea Alphonso (Google), Trisha Quan (Pinterest), and Ryan Greenburg (Twitter) offered these suggestions:
- Develop skills in tandem with what the students are interested in or curious about.
- Provide access to coding.
- Provide access to professionals in the real world.
- Provide access to computers beginning at a very young age.
- Create content that’s relevant to different cultures.
- Connect content to the community.