Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills Website

Without a doubt, the need to gear our students for skills that in all likelihood we did not focus on in our time in school.  How to get to this point though takes careful planning and construction of a pathway to make the necessary changes.  The Partnership for 21st Century Skills website and initiative is confronting this arduous task and giving teachers and administrators a portal through which they can explore possible solutions on their own.

I think the website has a nice presentation and a load of valuable information, but one of the primary focuses seems to be on a chart I just do not understand: This one-

I understand that the framework for 21st century learning is focused on teaching the core subjects with global and civic ramifications at the forefront, and that collaboration is imperative for the 21st century learner, but I really struggle to see what all of the half-circles below the rainbow-like thing means.  Analyzing this diagram in Route 21 was definitely more insightful, I just did not understand why it was constructed that way.

The fact that only 15 states have taken the initiative is perplexing to me.  It appears that some of the more populated states with stricter guidelines and standards for students and teachers are missing (I.e. New York and California), but on the other end a number of smaller states are also not included.  Why has only about 1/3 of the country jumped on board with this initiative?  Is it because these are the only ones that sought Federal assistance?

There are a number of modern technology interfaces present on the website, like links to Twitter, but there is no blogs or message boards present- really?  It seems almost hypocritical for this website to push such a technology-based agenda and not be completely up to speed on all of the modern interfaces.

Despite missing certain components and having a diagram central to the message that seems confusing, the purpose and message that the website has to offer is not only valid, it is essential.  In order for our students to succeed, they must embrace the new way of learning and the new way that the business world operates and how it will in the future.  Because they must embrace it, we as educators must do the same to properly help them become literate in our new cyber world.


  1. Joe to Richard

    I am really surprised the number of states behind the initiative as well. Only fifteen states have supported 21st century skills in the nine years the partnership has been operating. Only fifteen! What is more perplexing is the relationship of the big names involved like education leaders such as Pearson, McGraw-Hill, and two prominent education unions. It also has attracted giants such as Apple, Adobe, Microsoft and the Walt Disney Company to name a few. I am truly impressed with the caliber of the partnership’s members, however I am uncertain how much or rather in what fashion they contribute. I would imagine these members would be able to draw in more support, but alas there are only fifteen states. Ugh!

    In addition, I completely agree with your point with respect to the message of the website. Educators cannot lose sight of developing 21st century skills using the technology of today. The workforce continues need critical thinkers, problem solvers, communicators, collaborators and leaders. Employers need our students to be innovative when designing and creative when finding solutions. These characteristics are never out of style and are in high demand. I agree that these skills have remained and will continue remain valid in the workforce for years to come. Our job is to instill a desire for lifelong learning, professionalism, ethics and social responsibility by finding critical ways to implement technology in the learning process.

    In your review you mention the absence blogs, social networks and such. Did you notice how parents were completely left off of the “need to know” list? There are absolutely no links for families. I think that if the partnership wants to push the agenda of 21st century skills, the first thing is to not only use several technologies on the website but have a place for parents to learn about what skills their child is expected to develop. Without more of an effort to include parents and invite them as members, the partnership may risk not completing their mission in its entirety.

    ~ Joe Pluskota

  2. I agree that the site needs to have some type of message board or forum. I personally don’t like twitter and would like to make comment or suggestion in a forum. I feel that its time for educators to change their way on teaching to keep up with all the new technology development and to help expose the students to some of it. I’m assuming that the categories under the rainbow arch are needed in order to have an effective 21st century class. My district is in the progress of adapting the 21st century skills and before we were able to reach the rainbow arch we had to go through process below it.
    Alicia Roberts