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21st Century Skills: Learning for Life in Our Times Paperback – February 7, 2012
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From the Back Cover
Praise for 21st Century Skills
"Trilling and Fadel describe in very readable, practical terms how to infuse 21st century skills from standards all the way into the classroom. The DVD is full of wonderful 'a-ha' moments to illustrate the possibilities. A terrific traveling companion for educators, parents, and business and government decision makers concerned about the future of our kids." Paige Johnson, 2009 Chair of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills; Global K12 Manager, Intel Corporation
"Hooray to Bernie Trilling and Charles Fadel for demystifying 21st century skills. Thisbook makes clear why education must change: to help prepare students to meet complex challenges, fulfill their civic responsibilities, and live fulfilling lives. Full of crisp descriptions, 21st Century Skills persuasively shows why policymakers and educators should runnot walkto implement 21st century learning designs. As Trilling and Fadel simply put it, it's time to give all students the chance to learn how to build a better world."John Wilson, executive director, National Education Association
"Trilling and Fadel lay out a comprehensive understanding of what is meant by 21st century skills. Read this book with a note padyou'll be jotting down ideas for how to use the information in your school district. A must-read for superintendents, curriculum directors, and teachers." Anne L. Bryant, executive director, National School Boards Association
"Trilling and Fadel take the 21st century skills debate beyond rhetoric, providing a substantive, compelling, and engaging argument for the skills and competencies that our children need to succeed in a Knowledge Age economy. The skills they describe are the essential lifeblood of a productive, engaged, and intelligent citizenrythis book is a must-read for skeptics and enthusiasts alike!"Margaret Honey, president and CEO, New York Hall of Science
About the Author
Bernie Trilling is the founder and CEO of 21st Century Learning Advisors and former global director for the Oracle Education Foundation. He was the Foundation's board member at the Partnership for 21st Century Skills.
Charles Fadel is a global education thought leader and expert, author, and inventor. He is a former board member at the Partnership for 21st Century Skills and Change the Equation.
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The authors begin be defining what they see as 21st century learning and listing four factors that are coming together to create a “perfect learning storm.” These factors are knowledge work, thinking tools, digital lifestyles and learning research. On page 48 they present the P21 Knowledge and Skills Rainbow, which they then proceed to discuss systematically for the rest of the book. The parts of this rainbow are:
1. Learning and Innovation skills, including critical thinking and problem solving, communication and collaboration, and creativity and innovation.
2. Information, media and technology skills, including information, media and ICT literacy.
3. Life and career skills, featuring flexibility and adaptability, initiative and self direction, social and cross-cultural, productivity and accountability and leadership and responsibility.
In addition the rainbow includes the core education subjects and what is termed as “21st Century Themes. On page 110 they expand this model by listing the support systems needed to sustain it, including standards and assessments, curriculum and instruction, professional development and learning environments.
The last section of the book provides examples of how 21st century learning is applied in practice. The book also contains a listing of a number of resources and comes with a DVD that provides information about various points made in the book.
I think this book is valuable for everyone. Educators will derived the most immediate benefit, but everyone can gain from a better understanding of the kind of education that is needed in the future.
I think that educators should be thinking of these uncertainties as well, and that this book (for me) was an interesting read looking at how students need to be trained to be better adopters of information and knowledge earlier in the learning cycle. This is happening as information technologies are leading this trend in many aspects, but the training of educators to better evolve classroom practices (many dated to antiquity) for the modern world. Individuals are becoming researchers with resources at their fingertips unlike any time in the past, and with technology automating a lot of tasks we "used to do" there is more time to devote to mental development.
I bought, at the same time, 21st Century Skills: Rethinking How Students Learn (Leading Edge), and think that the two books make good companions as the other is a series of essays from prominent educators/philosophers that address this same issue from 14 other perspectives (the invited authors' viewpoints).
The book starts with a brief and basic discussion on eras of education from agricultural times to industrial into 1991 when the possible tipping point for the knowledge era was reflected in economics, and since 1991 we are all too familiar with the change technology is bringing into the world. The old SPSS statistics can now be generated within online calculators, with ease. Google scholar brings a wealth of literature into living rooms, and if that doesn't work there is likely to be a Youtube to support and develop understandings of the concept/ideas under consideration.
It is true, many hold on to the past. They may be correct at some philosophical level, but the fact is, the future is unpredictable and the changes the youth will face (the challenges they will encounter) require a new set of skills to approach the future will a successful mindset. And, if what I am writing is wrong - it is a good thing you are here reading this as you too can become aware of such pressing issues that are being discussed in education today. It's fine to have various views. Its best.
Highly recommend this book