Friday, November 5th, 2010 | education
Simply put – 21st century skills are those competencies a person needs to survive and succeed in this complex century.
Business processes in most companies are changing. In the past many people were used to manufacture goods – this required skills to operate and maintain factory machines. As these machines are becoming more sophisticated, less human interaction is needed. The major role for people now is to handle information and to come up with innovative ideas.
Basic skills such as the 3 R’s – reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic – are still important, but teachers must also help learners to develop skills that meet modern demands. Some of these skills are:
Sound computer skills: Most jobs require the ability to use computers. A person entering the work force in the 21st century without these skills is at a great disadvantage.
Information handling: Information is needed to make complex decisions. This information comes from different sources, such as market research, the internet and other media. The challenge is to make sense of all of this. How does one locate accurate information? Analyze it? And then synthesize it?
Knowledge creation: This is a complex skill, which refers to the ability to take existing information, apply one’s mind to it and then create a new body of knowledge, which can then be used to benefit the organization you’re working for or to your own advantage.
Communication and collaboration: Workers with complementary skills, but living in different parts of the world, are often required to work together on a project. Survival in such an environment is only possible if you are able to use different modes of communication and have acquired the skill to collaborate with others.
Innovation: Contrary to what many believe, this is a skill that can be cultivated – but it takes lots of practice. The earlier you start the better. Companies are searching for people who can come up with innovative ideas to work for them.
The way in which education departments view curriculum matters does not always encourage the development of these additional skills but basic literacy is no longer sufficient to prepare learners for the workplace – new literacies are required.
As a teacher, do you understand what these new literacies demand of you?
For more technology tips for teachers click here.
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