The above video, entitled "Shift Happens," presents some fascinating and thought-provoking statistics on how the world is ever-changing and what the implications are for our students that will soon be entering the workplace. This video has been making the rounds since 2006 and is available in many different versions on YouTube.
I have used this video in staff meetings to get teachers thinking about a hot topic in education right now: 21st century skills. What exactly is meant by "21st century skills"? These are skills that most employers define as essential for workers to be successful- for today's jobs and those that have yet to exist. These skills have been detailed in recent years in works such as Thomas Friedman's The World Is Flat and Daniel Pink's A Whole New Mind. These skills include: critical thinking and problem solving, collaboration and leadership, agility and adaptability, initiative and entrepreneurialism, technological literacy, effective written and oral communication, the ability to access and analyze information, and curiosity and imagination. Many of these skills are clearly not new, as he have been talking about infusing more critical thinking into the curriculum for decades. However, much of it is new as far as the inclusion of skills such as collaboration, adaptability, and entrepreneaurialism into schooling. The implications of 21st century skills for school curriculum, instruction, and assessment are broad-reaching. How exactly does a school integrate these skills into the curriculum of all content areas? And how exactly does a school assess how well students have mastered these skills? We have begun that conversation at MHS.
The national conversation is being supported by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, a coalition of 13 states (Massachusetts being one of them), the US Department of Education, the National Education Association, and several large tech-based corporations, including Dell, Cisco Systems, Apple, and AOL Time Warner. The organization's mission is to serve as the catalyst to position 21st century skills in K-12 education nationally be fostering more partnerships between schools, business, community, and government.
I'll have more postings on this important topic soon!