Partnership for 21st Century is “a national advocacy organization that encourages schools, districts, and states to infuse technology into education — and provides tools and resources to facilitate that effort” (NEA).
P21’s mission is to serve as a catalyst and collaborative partnerships among education, business, community and government leaders so that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills they need to to thrive in a world where change is constant and learning never stops. P21 has identified six elements schools should incorporate to move toward a 21st century education by strengthening core subjects. Since its formation and publication, two core subjects have been determined as the ones in need of strengthening.
The six elements of 21st century learning are:
Emphasize core subjects
Emphasize learning skills
Use 21st century tools to develop learning skills
Teach and learn in a 21st century context
Teach and learn new 21st century content
Use 21st century assessments that measure core subjects and 21st century skills” ( NEA).
Language arts and math are the focus of the Common Core Standards that have been adopted the majority of the states. “Forty-four of the fifty U.S. states and the District of Columbia are members of the Common Core State Standards Initiative, with the states of Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia, Alaska, Nebraska and Indiana not adopting the initiative at a state level” (Wikipedia).
There is also an emphasis on life-long learning skills. While teachers have traditionally taught lifelong learning skills, these skills need to be deliberately, strategically, and broadly incorporated into learning. It is essential to learn the tools that facilitate everyday living and work productivity in our digital world.
Students need to reach beyond the four walls of school and learn from real-world engagement that can reach them academic skills and increase their ability to learn skills relevant to their lives outside of school; and incorporate content about communities and workplaces by infusing knowledge and skills from these areas into the curriculum.
There is a need for high – quality standardized assessments that can measure the elements of 21st century learning skills. However, state accountability assessments do not always measure the skills needed for a success in the 21st century.
The mission of P21 and the cooperative spirit between teachers, educational leaders, corporations, and other stakeholders has the potential of transforming our educational system through technology proliferation, curriculum and data alignment, opportunities for students to learn in the community and in work environments, and collaboration between school and community to expand and increase learning opportunities through service programs.
This collaborative effort bodes well for schools, educators, businesses, communities, parents, and students with all stakeholders benefiting from this long overdue partnership to prepare students to enter STEM and other technology-based jobs with the 21st century skills they will need to be successful and productive citizens of a global community. Schools and business partnerships forged in the 21st century offer the possibility of pairing learning and work together through technology and opportunity in ways that will completely change the nature and purpose of school.
Common Core State Standards Initiative – Wikipedia, http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/
National Education Associationhttp://www.nea.org/home/34888.htm
Partnership for the 21st Century http://www.p21.org/about-us/p21-faq
Emphasis on Core Subjects
1. PF21 identified core subjects on which to build 21st century skills.
2. These common core subjects include language arts and mathematics currently constituting the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) which have been adopted by 44 states
Emphasize Learning Skills
In addition to knowledge of core subjects students need to develop life-long learning skills in three broad categories:
1. Information and communication skills
2. Thinking and problem- solving skills
3. Interpersonal and self-directional skills.
Use 21st Century Learning Tools to Develop Learning Skills
In order to facilitate living and productively work
1. “Students need to become proficient in ICT (information and communication technology) literacy,
2. defined by the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) as
3. ‘the interest, attitude, and ability for individuals to appropriately use communication and technology tools to access, manage, interpret, and evaluate information, construct new knowledge and communicate with others in order to participate effectively in society'” (P21, n.d., 4)
Teaching and Learning in a 21st Century Context
To reduce the divide between school and real life, students must reach out to
1. The community
3. Community members
Teaching and Learning 21st Century Content
Three significant emerging content areas have been identified by education and business leaders as critical to success in communities and workplaces.
1. global awareness
2. financial, economic, and
3. civic literacy
Use 21st Century Assessments to Measure 21sr Century Skills
Sophisticated assessment at all levels must use technologies for
Timeliness, and to be