Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Basic Skills or 21st Century Skills - Not an Either/Or Issue

This week's RSS feeds led me to an Education Sector article titled Measuring Skills for the 21st Century. While the article focused on testing challenges and current initiatives to revise assessments, there were several other research-based points we need to keep in mind.

The Measuring Skills for the 21st Century article noted that "the best learning occurs when basic skills are taught in combination with complex thinking skills". We don't have to exclude 21st Century skills to focus on the basics. Instead, we need to incorporate approaches that allow students to utilize analytical thinking skills to practice basic skills. Let's harness the power of technology and 21st Century tools to join knowledge and thinking to help students acquire core content.

To be successful, district level personnel must value the combination of basic and advanced learning for all students. Training and on-going support for research proven techniques must be a priority. School level administrators must encourage implementation of integrated approaches powered by Web 2.0 tools. Teachers must be willing to explore options, work with new strategies and offer students new choices and opportunities. All educators have to accept the fact that we are living in the 21st Century. Students who master only the basic skills have no future in a workplace where fewer and fewer tasks require only routine skills.

Join us in the adventure of living and working in a global community. Let's take down the walls and remove the barriers holding our children back. Educators must lead the way to a future we cannot image by helping students become creators, thinkers and problem solvers.

"It is an emphasis on what students can do with knowledge, rather than what units of knowledge they have, that best describes the essence of 21st century skills."
Measuring Skills for the 21st Century

Visit to access the complete article.

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