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 (http://www.21stcenturyskills.org/) 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)
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 http://www.21stcenturyskills.org/
Partnership for 21st Century Skills. (n.d.). A report and mile guide for 21st century skills. Washington DC: Author. Retrieved from http://www.21stcenturyskills.org/downloads/P21_Report.pdf
Thornburg, D., & Davidson, H. Skills for the 21st Century (Laureate Education, Inc. 2008).