My initial reaction to the Partnership for 21st Century Skills was one of relief that there really was a written comprehensive plan to address the essential skills students will have to be able to understand do for the 21st century. In a collaborative effort, this partnership of educators, business, community, and government leaders proactively seek to close the gap between what students learn at school and what they need to know to meet the needs of the globally competitive workforce.
The organization of this website was comprehensive but sometimes difficult to navigate. The tabs were explicit and content specific. The route 21 page provided resources related to 21st century skills. The reader is able to browse by support system, by skill or by knowledge. Detailed information relating to standards, assessment, professional development, curriculum and instruction is easily accessible. Links were available in all areas on all pages. The website was comprehensive including a mission statement and explanation, desired learning outcomes, assessment tools, individual state reports on progress toward their goals, and professional development Navigating from one page to another was challenging at times. I was also disappointed that when trying to access the videos some did not work.
The symbolic rainbow framework on the overview tab appropriately interconnects all of the outcomes and support systems necessary to ensure 21century readiness for today’s students. Required outcomes include the core subjects of 21st century themes, learning and innovation skills, information, media and technology skills and life and career skills. In the article Learning for the 21st Century (nd., p4), essential learning skills were similarly listed, but on this website under the overview tab I was able to gain a better understanding of the meaning of Life and Career Skills
According to the website, the essential interpersonal attributes required by today’s work and life environments include adaptability and flexibility, initiative and self-direction, social and cross-cultural skills, productivity and accountability and leadership and responsibility. These skills represent the personal attributes that allow individuals to navigate the life and work environments in the competitive information age. Reflecting on my teaching practices, I now recognize the necessity to directly teach life and career skills. It will be up to me to research and create lessons that will foster this learning.
When investigating the state initiatives, on the website, I noticed the absence of California. My biggest disappointment is that the site does not address states that ignore the need to teach 21st century skills. In my district, although we have recently received some smart boards, there is no initiative to revamp our teaching. Teachers have received minimal instruction on how to use the new equipment, and as a result do not use it to develop 21st century learning skills. Professional development to teach the new literacies, as described by Miners and Pacopella (2007), does not appear to be on the horizon at my school. Instead foundational literacy continues to be the standard. As a result of my districts failure to embrace 21st century learning skills, it is my responsibility to independently make the transition. I will self-initiate changes in my assessment practices, instructional delivery, and my use of technology to foster 21st century learning (Partnership for 21st Century Skills, n.d., p4). Utilizing real world contexts and infusing them into classroom learning will demonstrate respect for students’ intellect as well as prepare them to be successful contributors to the workplace of tomorrow.
Miners, Z., & Pascopella, A. (2007). The new literacies. District Administration, 43(10), 26–34
Partnership for 21st Century Skills. (n.d.). A report and mile guide for 21st century skills. Washington DC: Author. Retrieved from http://www.p21.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=254&Itemid=119
Partnership for 21st Century Skills. (n.d.). A report and mile guide for 21st century skills. Washington DC: Author. Retrieved from http://www.p21.org/images/stories/otherdocs/p21up_Report.pdf
Partnership for 21st Century Skills. (2007). 21st century curriculum and instruction. Washington DC: Author. Retrieved from http://www.p21.org/route21/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=13&Itemid=228&limitstart=1