In the last few years, teaching 21st Century Skills has become a primary focus in education. Also known as the four Cs, communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity are becoming more and more integrated into our daily teaching routines. Activities like BreakoutEDU, Hour of Code, Mystery Skype and MakerSpace have grown in popularity as our profession searches for innovative ways to incorporate the 21st Century Skills into the classroom.
In attending the Best Prep Technology Integration Workshop this week I was able to hear and see first hand how valuable these skills are to business leaders. Our day started with a panel discussion with business leaders from four large cooperations. Through this discussion we learned what employers are looking for, what young people bring to the workforce, and what skills we should focus on to best prepare our learners for success in the real world.
Employers are looking for employees who can participate in face to face communications, able to handle personal conflicts effectively and respectfully, accept and grow from all feedback, able to share the how of what they learned and accomplished not just the what, and the ability to collaborate with teams. The panel shared they find students today come to them with a willingness to be challenged, ability to flexible and agile when it's time to move on or make a change, able to quickly adapt to new platforms for communication, and a willingness to change paradigms.
Aside from today's panel discussion, all participants in the Technology Integration Workshop participated in a job shadow experience. I was able to spend the afternoon shadowing the Director of Technology at Anchor Bank. Through team meetings and a tour of the office areas, I was able to see collaboration among team members that involved critical thinking and purposeful and respectful communication. The variety in their workspaces showed how collaboration and creativity is valued when working on projects. The department I was in had a SCRUM room that is used for project planning and management. This room had whiteboard paint on the walls which were covered in writing, diagrams and post-its. The writing and post-its also covered the large windows of the room.
The panel and job shadow experience was an incredibly validating experience. I was able to see how these skills are truly valued and necessary for success in today's workforce. In addition to attending keynotes, discussion panels and participating the job shadow opportunity, we are given time to create a lesson with support from technology integration specialist. The 21st Century Skills Project is my focus during this time. My goal for this year is to help provide all teachers with innovative ways they can truly integrate (not add) 21st Century Skills into their current teaching plan. During this week I am working on enhancing and refining the project in order to provide a comprehensive and valuable resource for our district.
For more information about BestPrep and Technology Integration Worskhop (open to all educators) please see links below:
Technology Integration Workshop