Thanks to Julie Harabedian for a copy of 21st Century Skills, Learning for Life in Our Times by Bernie Trilling and Charles Fadel. As agreed, this is a short review in context of connections to Manson Northwest Webster. Before I do that, I’d like to suggest the book for any district that is studying 21st century learning. It’s based on the P21 Framework, and I think it has a lot to offer Iowa schools in terms of implementing the Iowa Core and the Core’s identified 21st Century Skills and Universal Constructs.
The authors talk about the 21st century skills all students must develop to be successful beyond high school. They focus on critical learning skills and innovation. In my opinion, these are essential and should be infused into all content areas. MNW is focused on doing just that. Our Iowa Core and professional development plans focus not only on the Characteristics of Effective Instruction, but also 21st century skills and technology integration. As the authors say, these skills are at the heart of what it takes to unlock a lifetime of learning. MNW's leadership believes all students need to experience learning environments in which they have many opportunities to solve problems, collaborate, communicate, create, and innovate within and across each content area.
I like the authors’ description that our time in education is the “perfect learning storm” for developing new ways of learning. They suggest that Knowledge Work, Thinking Tools, Digital Lifestyles, and Learning Research are all merging and in doing so, will cause us to teach and learn differently. How exciting! I like the big picture look and the analogy they created. Now the challenge comes in making the most of that perfect storm in every district, building and classroom!