Posts Tagged ‘21st century skills’

INDTO 501-02 Week 2: 21st Century Skills vs Core Knowledge

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

21pedagogy  OR Capturecommon

With an ever-changing society using technology devices in almost every atmosphere of life, educators are left with an overwhelming question.  The question may seem simple to other but when it boils down to the accountability of a teacher, how the students learn and how the teacher can teach the students to make sure they understand the lesson, choosing a common core knowledge instruction based method or 21st century skills instruction method becomes baffling.

The Common Core Knowledge Foundation started by a professor at the University of Virginia is very well thought of and organized.  Sequence knowledge plans for the 7th grade, including English, history, science and math are very well detailed, giving exact knowledge that students need to learn in order to move to the next grade.  This idea reminded me too much of a traditional approach to learning, as John Dewey stated in his Experience and Education book, as well as a SOL curriculum guide.  With the common core knowledge foundation there are strict common cores that teacher must teach students.  It leaves no room for outside experience, real data, or relating the lesson to something outside of the classroom.  It follows the idea of a traditionalist model that students will learn x at this given time.  There is little to no room for more emphasis on a subject, or time to be taken for students who do not understand this method of teaching.  It’s critical that a teacher can develop different ways to teach his/her students, however with this model of instruction it seems to rely on lecture, notes and a textbook to teach the lesson.  What if students cannot learn this way? What if they need to be able to see this lesson play out in History, maybe a student can’t just say the civil war happened without knowing all the details leading up to the Civil War.  The common core foundation sequence does not allow for a self-guided individual.  How will this help students prepare for the real world? Those who cannot work together, be self-directed or interact with others in a learning or workplace environment will surely lose a job to other candidates.

P21 seems like a promising instruction method.  The website offer detailed information, examples, charts and guides to how instruct lessons to ensure that the core subjects, innovative skills, technology skills and life and career skills are present in every class, in every grade.  P21 reminded me very much so of a Progressive Model of instruction.  With P21 you have real world data; the teacher is teacher through outside sources (one lesson showed that an outside expert teachers a lesson on business once a week and the students develop their own product to sell over a semester), students are actively engaged in how they learn and work as a team with peers and their teacher to learn everything they need.  Critics state that the P21 foundation does not teacher the core knowledge that is essential to being “smart”, but how can smart be measured? Is it passing grades, or is it knowledge that the student can carry with them once they graduate to use to help achieve a career? P21 focuses on using technology due to society at this given time.  If we look back to the Harrison School example, this is essentially what that school is doing.  The video showed the students engaging in learning about the subject through real world examples (throw of the softball pitch, speed of cheerleading drop, etc).  This example seems to stress the idea that technology is essential in today’s world in order to compete for a job.  I know from experience that most interviewers ask “can you work in a team”, “do you know how to operate a computer, the internet, Microsoft tools”, and sure one could google how to use these tools, but if you learn them in a classroom it is bound to carry with you all your life.  I think the P21 method would allow for more room to learn and adapt in today’s world.


Since History is my subject area, I think it’s important for students to have some type of common core knowledge, that way especially in alignment with the SOLS, students are guaranteed to learn the skills that the need in order to pass the SOL.  However some type of 21st century skills should be incorporated into the learning process. It’s especially hard to decide between a strictly 21st century learning style or a common core learning style because of the accountability on myself as a teacher.  Of course I would love for my students to be actively engaged in my classroom.  I would love for them to be able to use research tools, podcasts, video software and smartboard everyday; however I do not know if they would be learning exactly what they needed to learn.  Upon talking to other students History is one of the most boring subjects. It would be up to me to involve the students as much as possible, but I need to be aware of how students learn, and process information.  Perhaps with some lessons a lecture and notes is essential, but then a mini-lesson of the same subject can be used through some technology resource in order to reinforce the idea and present it in another way for students who cannot simple learn by taking notes.



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(n.d.). Reading standards for literacy in history/social studies 6–12. [Print Photo].
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