As I browsed through the readings and the delicious posts of this week, there were many different ideas about 21st century skills and how to implement them in the classroom. There are many skills that the articles deemed “21st century.” One of the skills the articles discuss is the different forms of technology that are used in the world today. Students need to be familiar with them when they graduate so they will be marketable employees. 21st Century Skills, Education and Competency Guide discusses how other countries are teaching their children the technologies required, which mean children of other countries will be more marketable for 21st century jobs than American children. If our children are not marketable once they graduate, then our country will slowly fall behind in the global market and economy, which is something no one wants (21st century skills 2008).
The job market today requires their employees to have a different skill set than past generations. Today, employers want their workers to be able to work out complex problems, both individually and in groups, communicate with others effectively, both locally and over long distances, and be able to efficiently manage information. All of these skills could require some type of recent technology, such as Skype, facebook.com, blogging tools (i.e. wordpress.com) or wikispaces (Nielson 2009). We need to prepare students for this essential skill set for their future.
In order to help students learn how to use these tools appropriately and effectively, we should work on incorporating these technologies into our lessons. For example, we could have students record a phone call on Skype at home, where they are using all the elements, including vocal communication, instant chatting, and sending documents, pictures or videos. They could collaborate on a project, each doing one part and then sending those parts to each other. They could keep a log of their collaboration (chat does this automatically) and record their vocal communication. In another project, students could collaborate on a wiki or blog to present a concept for their peers. The project could involve students creating their own website, viewing and commenting on their peers’ sites.
This idea has huge implications for education. If we want to ensure that the next generation of Americans is on par with the rest of the world, we may need to create laws and policies to guarantee that every classroom provides the technology training for the students. If policy dictates that we must provide this technology training, we must be provided with the resources to give students experience with these technologies. This will probably require a lot of money, and may not even be possible in the current economy. If we do not have the support money however, it will be very difficult to ensure that are students will graduate with the skills to operate some of these technologies. We need to do the best we can to introduce, and possibly demonstrate these technologies, even if we cannot provide students the opportunity to individually experience them.
Nielsen, Lisa. (2009, August 14). Ten Ideas for Getting Started with 21st Century Teaching and Learning. Message posted to http://www.techlearning.com/
(2008). 21st century skills, education and competitiveness. Retrieved from http://www.21stcenturyskills.org/index.php