Friday, October 19, 2007

21st Century Skills Poll

A poll taken by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills shows that "80 percent of voters say that the kind of skills students need to learn to be prepared for the jobs of the 21st century is different from what they needed 20 years ago." That wasn't the debatable part of the article.
There are many reasons for incorporating technology into our school curriculum, the least of which would be our need to prepare them for life outside of a classroom (wow, novel idea). But as we've discussed in the past, too many times technology was seen as an addition to reading, writing, math, etc. This is the part of the poll where I would question the voters:
  • "Fifty-three percent say they believe schools should place an equal emphasis on 21st century skills and basic skills."

You have to be very careful how this is interpreted by teachers. I could very easily read this and say "So half of my day needs to be spent on 21st Century Skills and the other half is reading, writing, math, etc." If I am required to do an hour of reading, writing and math, that's three hours. Social studies and science? Yeah right.

You must present a plan to INTEGRATE ICT (information and communication technology) skills so that teachers don't feel as if they are continually being piled on. Unfortunately, you still have to convince them that assessing students with technology and project-based learning opportunities will better benefit their class than the way they've done it for the past 10-15 years. Being progressive is not always the positive step, but if we are going to make our students ready for the 21st century, it's a step we need to take.

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