Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Partnership for 21st Century Skills

The Partnership for 21st Century (P21) is an organization that is working with other companies to put together a plan to better prepare students with what they consider 21st century skills. They believe these skills are essential for students to be ready for the future workforce. Their web site provides some tools and resources for educators to use to integrate more technology into the classroom. They encourage teachers to infuse the 3 R’s with their 4C’s (critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity). P21 has built partnerships with educators, businesses, and community and government leaders in an attempt to get the information out there for educators to use to improve classroom instruction.
What amazes me about this site are the numerous companies that have joined in the partnership for the education of American students; Dell, Apple, Microsoft, LEGO and even Walt Disney have had input into what they believe is crucial for students to be able to do by the time they graduate from high school. They believe educators need to integrate these “new” skills into the core curriculum. The part I found most useful as an educator are the 21st century skills maps for the content areas. It gives the standard and an idea of how to incorporate these standards into each subject area. I plan to use these as I attempt to include more of the 4 C’s into my curriculum.
In looking at the standards P21 discusses blending into the curriculum, I believe it will lead to more rigorous and higher order thinking lessons. Students will be more engaged and will create more individual projects that demonstrate their understanding of the content using more technology and other innovative methods. Integrating these standards into the curriculum will take time, training and money. Only a handful of states have bought into the program. I am surprised not to see my state. Hopefully as its program expands it will span the entire country so that we will see it across the board, even in our state assessments. If the world is really changing at the rapid rate I keep reading about, then we must change the way we are educating our students if we are expecting them to succeed as adults. This partnership is working to get America there.


  1. • Hi, Judy--I liked what you said about 21st Century's standards and skills maps. They're quite good, and incorporating them will be interesting and fun, I think. It was nice that they included some ideas about how to use technology in specific disciplines and at specific age levels. Did they give you any new ideas about classroom activities, or strengthen you resolve to use any particular technique? I was also impressed by the list of sponsors--what a great list. I'm glad they're thinking about training our next generation of workers. Now, if they would only put a little of their money into this cause, we might actually get somewhere.

  2. I love your point about corporations giving input on “The Partnership for 21st Century” curriculum. On the hand, I completely agree with you. As we move forward and reshape our curriculum to meet the needs of the next generation keeping a pulse on typical job skills is crucial. What better way to achieve this that to see what their needs are directly? However, I also believe that there is a conflict of interest when individual organizations start to have input on curriculum. Public education needs to be current in needs, but not specific in training. Ethically, I think we should lay groundwork for skills, but not become the first step in corporate training. What do you think?

    Nick Nohner