Review of 21st Century Skills

Stephanie Miller


What did you learn from these videos and articles?

One thing I learned from the videos and articles is that school districts, educators, and the community seem to agree on the skills students need to be successful in the 21st Century and work force; however, students are not necessarily being taught these skills in the classroom. This has a lot to do with mandated assessments and the need to teach to the test. It also has to do with the structure of education. Teachers are following what districts are asking them to do, yet all of the new requirements and hoops they have to jump don't fully align with the skills students need to develop. The skills students need include: thinking critically and problem solving, collaborating with others in an effective, respectful manner, adapting to changes and challenges, taking initiative, communicating clearly both verbally and in writing, collecting and evaluating information, and being creative, imaginative thinkers.


Do you agree or disagree?

I completely agree with the information provided in the videos and articles. There are set skills students need in order to be successful. They must be able to communicate, problem solve, access information, and collaborate with others. Dr. Wagner brought up a really good point about students he observed in a science class. A problem occurred and the students did not know how to persevere or make sense of an experiment gone wrong. They were waiting for someone to swoop in and save them. Ideally, we would want them to collaborate, hypothesize, and problem solve on their own without having someone do it for them. I feel that we all have similar visions for what education needs to be and what students need, but it isn't necessarily happening in actual classrooms. A shift needs to happen. Administrators, lawmakers, and parents need to be in the trenches, so to speak, in order to understand what education is all about and what students and teachers need. Teachers want to make things happen, but when requirements and mandates are constantly changing or don't match our overall vision, it’s hard to do that successfully. Teachers need support.


What impact does this have on you as a teacher? What changes will you make?

The impact that technology has on me is that it requires me to understand and implement the skills students need in order to be successful. This requires me to constantly change my way of thinking and teaching in order to meet the needs of my students and prepare them for the future. One change I want to make is to be more of a coach and guide for my students rather than being seen as the person with all of the answers. I want to show them how to learn and find information rather than just giving it to them. I am constantly working on this, but could improve. I also want to work on sparking curiosity within my students. I want them to learn by doing, so they don’t feel burnt out by the time they’re in high school or college, especially about something they were once passionate about.

How can you apply what you have discovered into your instruction? Share some examples of new strategies or ideas you will bring into your classroom.

One way I can apply what I have learned is to create more opportunities for students to collaborate using technology and the internet. I can also pose students with more open-ended questions and give them problems to solve. I can create more opportunities in science for students to work hands-on so they can make meaning of concepts for themselves and then discuss it. Some strategies I would use would be to have students work with partners and in small groups in order to work on verbal and written communication. I will explain to students that failure is okay and that we all have times when we struggle. I want to work with students and provide them opportunities for "struggle time" so they know how to persevere and not immediately look to someone else for a solution or quick fix.

Technology is the future. Our students need 21st Century Skills and an effective education system to get them there.