21st Century Learning
Intrapersonal (e.g., growth mindset, self-efficacy, resilience) and interpersonal skills (communication, collaboration, conflict resolution) are critical for 21st century success.
“I think a large part of engagement includes that collaborative discussion piece, not just passively listening, but the ability to converse about a project—to listen to your partner and ask those clarifying questions.” Other focus group participants built upon this contribution and shared that the ability to engage in this way was becoming more critical as lessons were more commonly providing opportunities for collaboration and group work. While the primary focus of the field research was to understand engagement in the digital learning environment, the importance of these intrapersonal and interpersonal skills continuously emerged as essential for success in the classroom today.
In order to be successful today, students need to develop the critical-thinking and problem-solving skills required to exercise agency and self-direct their learning.
Whether explaining the need for students to be able to evaluate the quality of a cited source, to know where to go to learn a new math skill, or to be able to set relevant learning goals, participants in the field research reiterated the need for students to develop the critical-thinking and problem-solving skills necessary for self-directed learning. One of the ways schools are doing this is by making grades more transparent and readily available online. When explaining the goal of increasing availability of assessment scores, one school leader explained, “It puts the ownership back on them. There is not this mystery as to why you’re failing. This way, we can promote ownership of learning by teaching them to be more responsible.”
Teaching digital literacy to students includes a broad spectrum of skills.
As teachers considered the number of skills necessary to succeed in the future, digital literacy emerged as a common trend; however, the definition and examples of digital literacy spanned a wide spectrum. At one end of the spectrum, there were educators focused on the physical skills of using a mouse, and at the other end, there were administrators focused on developing the awareness of nuanced social norms for different platforms. One school leader explained, “I mean, just like literacy—a life literacy, like digital literacy. You know? Like, are you able to engage and understand the impact that this information is having on you and the impact you are having on it?” In this instance, the school leader was no longer identifying digital literacy as a distinct literacy, but rather an integral part of interacting with information and navigating the digital world today.