Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Reactions to The Partnership for 21st Century Skills Website

Students of today need educators and tools that can meet the needs of a accelerated, technology-driven world. Unlike a previous decade ago students are seeing more and more computer time in their everyday lives. Most forms of communication they use are driven by the use of technology. "The nation needs a compelling vision for education that will inspire education leaders, teachers, parents and students alike" (Partnership n.d. pg. 2). The Partnership for 21st Century Skills offers just this. It is "a unique public-private organization of leaders and educators in business and education" that has been formed to address the needs of today's learners. (Partnership n.d. pg 2)

Recently I spent some time on The Partnership for 21st Century Skills website ( and gathered the following information. Twelve states have thus far joined in creating a partnership to better educate their students for the skills they will need for the future. These skills include items such as:

Information and communication skills (information and media literacy skills; communication skills)
Thinking and problem-solving (critical thinking and systems thinking; problem identification, formulation and solution; creativity and intellectual curiosity)
Interpersonal and self-direction skills (interpersonal and collaborative skills; self-direction; accountability and adaptability; social responsibility)
Global awareness
Financial, economic and business literacy, and developing entrepreneurial skills to enhance workplace productivity and career options
Civic literacy (Partnership 2004).

Recently I watched a video titled "Skills for the 21st Century” in which Dr. Thornburg cited similar ideas known as S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) as important skills to keep the students of The United States competitive with other countries who have assumed this approach. (Thornburg 2008)

With each article I read, support is provided towards helping our students become more innovative, creative thinkers. My right-brained background knowledge as an art instructor is further enhanced with a website such as this where I am becoming more knowledgeable.

I was saddened to see that the state and school in which I reside and teach has not become a partner in this intricate concept. As a current educator teaching daily in a small rural school district, I strongly support the concept from the website that "there is a profound gap between the knowledge and skills most students learn in school and the knowledge and skills they need in typical 21st century communities and workplaces" (Partnership 2004).

I feel a movement such as this is essential in preparing our students for the workplace they will be entering in the 21st century. The tools and resources made available on this site provide a pertinent foundation for this movement to be a success. What I found most essential to aiding in the help of educating my students was the professional development opportunities for those partnering with this movement. The groundwork has been laid. It is now up to us to provide for future generations.

(2004). The Partnership for 21st Century Skills. Retrieved November 25, 2009, from

Partnership for 21st Century Skills. (n.d.). A report and mile guide for 21st century skills. Washington DC: Author. Retrieved from

Thornburg, D., & Davidson, H. Skills for the 21st Century (Laureate Education, Inc. 2008).


  1. Robyn,

    I also was not happy about the small number of states who have partnered up with the Partnership For 21st Century Skills organization. If there is research that proves the benefits and need for the teaching of 21st century skills in the classroom, why haven't more states been proactive? I understand that the lack of funds keeps some school districts from obtaining needed tools and resources, but even when the economy was in better shape, there wasn't a real push for technology among U.S. states. I am hoping to see a change soon so all students are receiving the necessary skills to compete for high paying jobs in the 21st century workplace. It is not enough anymore to teach just the core subjects in school. Though subjects such as reading, math, English, and writing are very important, we need to be interweaving them with 21st century subject matter too. I think the website is a wonderful map of what is going on in in our country, and what needs to happen if our society want to see the disconnect between education and the workplace disintegrate.


  2. "We need to build collaboration skills where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts" (Laureate Education, 2008). It is disappointing that only a handful of states have partnered with businesses to integrate 21st century skills into the classrooms. Technology is expensive but necessary if we want are students to be able to compete in the future workplace. As I viewed the website, "Partnership for 21st Century Skills", I noticed there was no data that supported their claim that 21st century skills need to be integrated into education. I also did not see any information from renowned professionals like Dr. Thornburg of Dr. Dede supporting the claim. Do you think that if data was available and professional claims were posted then more states may join?

    Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). 2008. Skills for the 21st Century [Motion picture]. Understanding the Impact of Technology on Education, Work, and Society. Baltimore: Author.

  3. Texas is not currently a part of this program either. When researching how and why different states have gotten involved I realized that their government officials share a common view of the need for technology integration in the classroom (Partnership for 21st Century Skills 2004). As an educator, seeking change can be such a globally difficult task; however I ask the question: "As educators, do we put enough pressure on our government officials to create change?"

    I know that with all of my current responsibilities as an educator, I do not have the time or resources to spark change at a district, state or national level; however, I do have the power to reach out on a campus-wide level. For instance, getting teachers together to teach them how to create a blog or wiki could be one way to reach out. If we continue to reach out on a campus level, could it work up the ladder and create changes in government policies concerning technology integration in education? Any thoughts?

    Partnership for 21st Century Skills (2004). Partnership for 21st Century Skills, retrieved from