There have been a number of articles, books, and documents created that talk about 21st Century learning skills. Most of these can leave the administrator puzzling of what exactly it is that students need to learn. Bernie Trilling of the Oracle Education Foundation and Charles Fadel global leader of education at Cisco Systems have published a book entitled 21st Century Skills: Learning for Life in Our Times. This book fulfills a very specific need for school administrators. It describes in a concise and direct manner what 21st Century learning should look like. Trilling and Fadel provide a combination of brief definitions of skills and examples of those skills throughout this book. They also provide a framework into which to place these skills. That framework includes 21st century learning skill groups called learning and innovation skills, digital literacy skills, and career and life skills. They also provide the following pictorial representation of how these skills fit into what would they term the “21st Century Learning Outcomes.”
Trilling and Fadel’s 21st Century Learning Outcomes
Throughout their book, Trilling and Fadel provide a concise, no-nonsense discussion of 21st Century learning. Eventually, they condense these skills down to what they call the “7Cs of 21st century learning.” These skills include: 1) critical thinking and problem solving, 2) creativity and innovation, 3) collaboration, teamwork, and leadership, 4) cross-cultural understanding, 5) communication, information, and media literacy, 6) computing and ICT literacy, 7) career and learning self-reliance. This is one book every school administrator needs to add to her/his collection. I might even buy some tabs to stick to pages of my copy to make the individual topics more accessible. The copy of the book I purchased also including a DVD of mini-documentaries that discuss the themes of 21st Century learning. The Partnership for 21st Century Skills web site address is here: Partnership for 21st Century Skills.