Thursday, October 02, 2008

21st Century Skills and Social Studies Map

I think I missed picking up on an earlier (see previous post) 21st Century Skills publication, which came out in July. The 21st Century Skills and Social Studies Map was developed by the (US) Partnership for 21st Century Skills and National Council for the Social Studies. It "demonstrates how the integration of 21st century skills into the social studies supports teaching and prepares students to become effective and productive citizens in the 21st century." I was rather hoping it would actually be a map, but in fact it is another list of skills: defining each skill, then giving the desired learning outcome (plus an example) at each of the US school grades 4, 8 and 12.
The skills are: Creativity and Innovation; Critical Thinking and Problem Solving; Communication; Collaboration; Information Literacy; Media Literacy; ICT Literacy; Flexibility and adaptability; Initiative and Self-direction; Social and Cross-cultural skills; Productivity and Accountability; Leadership and Responsibility.

The skill of IL is defined as "Accessing information efficiently and effectively, evaluating information critically and competently, and using information accurately and creatively for the issue or problem at hand; and Possessing a fundamental understanding of the ethical/legal issues surrounding the access and use of information."
One thing that struck me was that some of the grade 4 (younger children's) activities seemed "higher order" than the older children's. An example for younger chiildren included doing original research (interviewing people in their community) and producing a report; whereas the examples for Grade 12 were focused on using wide ranges of secondary sources - so with evaluation and synthesis, but less emphasis on creating and presenting new information. Interesting. The pdf is at
Photo by Sheila Webber: rowing skulls on the Nervion, September 2008

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