What are “21st Century Skills”?

Whether you love, dislike or are indifferent to the kinds of technologies that we are increasingly exposed to each day, you must admit that they are here to stay and that they have a profound effect on many areas of our lives.

Along with these constantly emerging technologies comes the need to adapt and learn the skills needed to use the technology efficiently.

These are sometimes called “21st Century skills”.

Here are a few example of what many consider to be 21st Century skills:

  • Critical thinking, problem solving, reasoning, analysis, and interpretation of the constant flow of online information, in other words, higher order thinking skills
  • Online research skills and practices
  • Ability to access and use Social Media
  • Leadership, teamwork, collaboration, cooperation, facility in using virtual work-spaces
  • Information and communication technology (ICT) literacy, media and internet literacy, data interpretation and analysis, computer programming
  • Understanding of digital citizenship

(Abstracted from http://edglossary.org/21st-century-skills/)

What is a  21st Century Teacher?

How have technological advances that have happened in the last 10 years affected you personally? Even if you don’t consider yourself to be particularly “techy” you have probably absorbed some new methods and routines in how you communicate and interact with information using technology.  For example you may use a smartphone to text or to read online content.

How have you adapted the learning environment that you create for your students? Some of the hallmarks of a 21st Century learning environment are:

  • A “Student-Centered” classroom.  Either face to face or online, the student-centered classroom gives students more freedom to make choices about how they learn
  • Students learn about new technologies and use them to produce information, projects, and digital artifacts such as video, podcasts, online group projects
  • Students can and do use mobile technologies
  • Students are aware of and use multiple ways to get information digitally
  • Student learn to collaborate and cooperate with each other, which is also a 21st Century work skill

Whether you have gone willingly, or unwittingly, into the 21st Century teaching mode, there is no doubt that this area of our communication and teaching will continue to evolve.  As teachers we have a responsibility to prepare students for the modern workplace, and modern workplace methods, such as the almost constant communication and collaboration that is now considered commonplace.  Information about digital citizenship and how to be a responsible consumer of online information is also vital for success for our students.  In addition, it will continue to be important for teachers to keep updating our own skills and proficiencies, to refresh and maintain a 21st Century teaching repertoire, and hopefully to stay one step ahead of our students.

If you are interested in learning more about 21st century teaching skills, the USF Instructional Design team would love to chat with you. You can reach us by filling out a consultation request form at: https://myusf.usfca.edu/its/ets/requests

Resources

What are 21st Century Skills?

Tech Literacy II: Skills for the Online Instructor

15 Characteristics of a 21st-Century Teacher

10 Hallmarks of 21st Century Teaching and Learning

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