Effective Use of 21st Century Skills – EDTC 6105


Flickr - Caroline Buckey
Flickr – Caroline Buckey

When I first heard of 21st century learning it was this nebulous concept that at the beginning felt overwhelming and I wasn’t sure what elements about it related to technology.  However, the deeper I have researched the more I’m starting to understand how this learning model contributes to more in-depth understanding and engagement during learning activities.  This excites me yet I have a tendency to want to dive into the deep end before I am able to swim.  There are so many possibilities and avenues to explore with this model that I needed a way to make it easier to approach for both myself and my learning partner.

My triggering question for this learning module is:

What is a concise definition of 21st century learning and how can I use to collaborate with my coaching partner in a way that is accessible?

The whole concept of 21st century is learning is that we give students the necessary skills to succeed in all aspects of life once they leave school.  It’s about acknowledging,rather than ignoring, cultural shifts and giving students tools: such as, creativity, innovation, technology, and career skills (H. 2013).

What I’ve found most useful in developing a definition for 21st century learning is the framework from www.p21.org.  It encompasses Key Subjects (3Rs), Learning and Innovation Skills (4Cs), Life and Career Skills, and Information, Media, and Technology Skills. The link above shows a more in-depth look into each of these areas.  (Framework for 21st Century Learning).

It’s also not enough for me to understand what it is about.  As I approach coaching another teacher I want to be able help them come up with a way to incorporate these skills into their classroom.  In the book “Peer Coaching: Unlocking the Power of Collaboration (Foltos 2013), there is a 21st century learning activities checklist that puts the above skills into four different categories.  This tool makes it easier to see what kind of activities can be done to approach 21st century learning.

The activities listed are straightforward, however, it is a rather large list and would be overwhelming if faced with the task of tackling even a couple of items for one lesson.  Foltos (2013), continues to discuss in his book that peer coaches believe that it is better to take small steps towards improving a lesson and may even wait awhile to introduce the checklist and instead have them come up with their own ideas first.

We also talked about this during my cohort’s weekly hangouts.  Part of the discussion was on having teachers pick one or two areas they want to focus on for a specific lesson and to go from there.  I agree with the idea that this would provide a less intimidating way to begin this process.

ISTE Coaching Standards 1 

Teaching, Learning, Assessment

f. Coach teachers in and model incorporation of research-based best practices in instructional design when planning technology-enhanced learning experiences

As I am looking into more about 21st century skills I am constantly thinking about how I would use this to coach a colleague.  This module has made me think about what aspects of 21st century learning would be most beneficial to other teachers as I have mentioned above.

P.E. and 21st Century Skills

As a P.E. teacher, I thought I would include this video focused on social skills using the 21st century model.  Sometimes I find myself thinking that it is hard for me to incorporate the things I am learning about different models in my classroom in physical education, but I find people like this that remind me that there are a variety of ways to include these skills.  I encourage people to think outside the box when incorporating new learning models.


So What is My Concise Definition?

My conclusion is not so much a concise definition, but more of a collection of ideas that form the whole picture for me.  The P21 Framework for 21st century learning gives a great overview of the learning model and I believe that using that along with the learning activities checklist is a great start to working with others.  I am finding a theme throughout this quarter that the simple approach tends to be the most effective and it is what I’m sticking to for now.


21st Century Skills: Social Skills – Support & Inclusion [Video file]. (2014). InYouTube. Retrieved November 6, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nixqqRwquts

Foltos, L. (2013). Peer coaching: Unlocking the power of collaboration. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.
Framework for 21st Century Learning. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.p21.org/our-work/p21-framework

H. (2013). 21st Century Learning is Not A Program. Retrieved November 08, 2016, from http://www.teachthought.com/uncategorized/21st-century-learning-is-not-a-program/

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