What are ‘21st Century Skills’?
You may have heard the term ‘21st century skills’ thrown around in the news, especially in articles about teaching and learning. But what exactly do the phrase ‘21st century skills’ mean? According to Thoughtful Learning, “21st century skills are a set of abilities that students need to develop in order to succeed in the information age”. And so, these skills are a vital inclusion in the learning process.
The entire skill set is broken down into three main areas: learning and innovation skills, life and career skills, and information, media and technology skills. For simplicity, we’ll call them the three ‘L’s— learning, life and literacy skills.
Let’s hone in on L number one— learning.
21st Century Learning Skills
21st century learning requires one to think critically, be creative, collaborate and communicate. These skills are becoming increasingly necessary to negotiate complex life, study and work situations.
Critical Thinking – One definition of critical thinking reads: “Critical thinking means making reasoned judgments that are logical and well-thought out. It is a way of thinking in which you don’t simply accept all arguments and conclusions you are exposed to but rather have an attitude involving questioning such arguments and conclusions.” Critical thinking skills are called upon to reason, make good decisions, and solve various problems.
Creativity – Reasoning out creative and innovative solutions to problems, or as some would put it, “thinking outside the box” is an important skill. This “out of the box” thinking will enable students to propose effective solutions to complex problems in their lives. It will also enable them to make valuable contributions to the fields of study in which they are employed.
Collaboration – Collaboration relates to a person’s ability to work with a diverse group of people in a respectful manner. It involves fluidity and humility, and the ability to yield when another person sees something differently or brings a different idea to the table. The ability to collaborate not only ensures productivity, but it also enriches one’s learning.
Communication – Clear and effective communication, whether it be oral, written or non-verbal, is unequivocally vital to success in range of different situations. Communication is a dynamic process; one that requires a person to adapt to the needs of the situation. For example, you may need to, at times, inform, instruct, motivate or persuade, to name a few.
The MakePad Helping Students Learn 21st Century Learning Skills
So that’s a brief overview of the 21st century learning skill subset. Here at MakePi, we feel strongly about developing these skills in the students of today. In fact, we designed the MakePad with these skills in mind, and we feel confident that the MakePad will be a contributing factor in children acquiring them.
The MakePad is a 100 percent DIY tablet, so kids are building and problem-solving from the outset. No less so when they develop their own apps, games and music! The MakePad also invites students to “think outside the box” as they put their own personality into their creations. Kids will collaborate and share with others, communicating their ideas, successes and failures with friends, relatives or others in their class.