||PARTNERSHIP FOR 21ST CENTURY SKILLS RELEASES UPDATED FRAMEWORK FOR 21ST CENTURY LEARNING
New framework provides states with comprehensive guide to develop 21st century educational outcomes
WASHINGTON, D.C. – August 2, 2007 – The Partnership for 21st Century Skills, a national education-business coalition which developed the country’s first Framework for 21st Century Learning, today released an updated version of its framework that addresses two key questions of the U.S. education system:
What are the skills, knowledge and expertise today’s students must master to compete globally and become successful 21st Century citizens?
What are the critical support systems schools need to produce 21st century teaching and learning outcomes?
The newly revised framework addresses these key questions by developing a clear vision for 21st century student outcomes in the new global economy. It also for the first time defines how school systems can best support these outcomes by focusing diligently on 21st century standards, assessments, professional development, curriculum and instruction, and learning environments.
Karen Cator, chair of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills and director of education leadership for Apple, explained that while the Partnership’s new framework outlines a clear distinction between the 21st century student outcomes and the critical school support systems that are needed to help students master the multi-dimensional capabilities required of them in the 21st century, “all the components must be fully interconnected in the process of 21st century teaching and learning.”
This new framework provides a “compelling roadmap for the entire education system to help students learn the skills they need to thrive in an increasingly global, interconnected workforce and society,” said Bernie Trilling, Partnership board member and senior director of the Oracle Education Foundation. “The education system must move beyond its current focus on basic competency in core subjects to promoting deeper understanding and real-world applications of content. Weaving 21st century interdisciplinary themes and learning projects throughout the core curriculum will go a long way toward engaging students in acquiring essential 21st century skills.”
An example of these skills can be found in a new framework category, created by the Partnership, called learning and innovation skills. These skills are increasingly recognized as distinguishing those students who can thrive in the complex life and work environments of the 21st century. The Partnership’s framework advocates for a focus on creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration as essential to preparing students for the future. Mastery of information, media and technology skills is also an essential part of 21st century skills outcomes, said Charles Fadel, Partnership board member and global lead for education, Cisco Systems Inc.
“We live and work in a technology and media-driven environment, marked by access to an abundance of information, rapid changes in technology tools, and the ability to collaborate and make individual contributions on an unprecedented scale. To be effective in the 21st century, today’s students must be able to exhibit a range of functional and critical thinking skills related to information, media and technology,” Fadel said.
Another key element of 21st century student outcomes, life and career skills, such as flexibility, innovation, self direction, social and cross cultural skills, as well as leadership and responsibility, are increasingly being identified by U.S. employers as the skills they need from their 21st century workforce. According to a 2006 workforce survey sponsored by the Partnership, The Conference Board, Corporate Voices for Working Families and the Society for Human Resource Management, the majority of recent hires are not demonstrating these essential skills.
“Today’s life and work environments require far more than thinking skills and content knowledge. The ability to navigate the complex life and work environments in the globally competitive information age requires students to pay rigorous attention to developing adequate life and career skills,” said Partnership President Ken Kay.
Kay stressed that the importance of the proper school support systems cannot be overlooked or undervalued if we want to produce 21st century outcomes for our students. “21st century standards, assessments, curriculum, instruction, professional development and learning environments/essential conditions must be aligned to produce a support system that guarantees 21st century outcomes for today’s students,” he said.
For more information on the Partnership’s expanded framework, click here.
Partnership for 21st Century Skills