Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Why 21st Century Skills are Important

Dr. Scott McLeod, someone that I follow on Twitter, read his blog posts, and learn from, has recently posted the first in a series about 5 key levers he feels like will move schools forward. He is specifically speaking about schools in Iowa because that is where he lives and works; however, I feel as thought the same applies for schools everywhere.

The very first lever he wrote about is 21st century curricula. As a society we will be unable to move education forward without understanding what it means to give our students a 21st century education. This blogs has focused on defining 21st century skills and even given my readers some practical 21st century tools; however, Dr. McLeod's blog post, Iowa - 21st century curricula, does a wonderful job of answering the why. He states:

Why are these skills so important? Because the rise of digital information
and communication technologies such as e-mail, instant messaging,
videoconferencing, and the Internet have virtually eliminated the workplace
barriers of geography and time. It is now about as easy to work with people
halfway across the globe as it is with folks halfway across town. As a result,
information, money, and ideas criss-cross the globe at dizzying speeds and
work moves to the location of lowest cost or greatest expertise. This puts an
extraordinary amount of pressure on the Western wage premium: why pay an
American worker such a high salary when someone in another country will do the
same work for less?

Basically we are doing a disservice to our students if we are not preparing them for the workforce they will join. The best thing we can do for our economy is teach our children to be competitive.

I would highly encourage you to read the rest that post. He's got some wonderful statistical graphics and goes on to answer the "how." I also encourage you to subscribe to his blog, Dangerously Irrelevant. Make him a part of your PLN (personal learning network).

Are you preparing your students to be competitive in the 21st century workforce? If the answer is no, you need to take a step back and reassess.


Scott McLeod said...

Thanks so much for the kind words. We all need to work together to make this happen. Let me know how I can be of help!

KirkFan said...

Yes! Being ready means learning to read the signs of the present for the future. Teachers get too stuck in their subject and comfortable with status quo. As a digital immigrant myself, I have learned to push myself as a student with humility. Never be afraid to seek out answers. There is always a better way.

I teach middle school students to be FEARLESS in their navigating and to learn from each other. I cannot be all to them in this big world. This teaches collaboration with respect. I am so fortunate to be in that side that will help them with REAL WORLD SKILLS.

Two of my favorite physical books are Don't Bother Me Mom, I'm Learning by Marc Prensky and Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms, by Will Richardson.