Sunday, May 24, 2009

21st Century Skills!!!

It's been awhile since I've posted anything but I'm back and have lots to say about incorporating 21st century skills into our schools. I just finished viewing the website "partnership for 21st century schools and I thought it was AWESOME! I am no stranger to the concept of creating 21st century schools. Earlier in the school year my principle emailed everyone a report about New Jersey and 21st century skills. New Jersey (state I live and teach in) is in the process of turning its highschool into 21st century schools. Unfortunatetly our schools today are still geared towards 19th century life/jobs. How are we preparing our students for their futures if we are two centuries behind? Answer is simple: WE'RE NOT!!! Many college professors and businesses have complained about how ill prepared our students were once they reached their schools or businesses. The best solution to the problem is to find out what our students were lacking and find a way to make it better and right for our future graduating seniors. New Jersey like a few other states are busy rewriting curriculum and redesigning schools that will produce better quality students.
Regardless of whether we like it or not, the world is changing and education has to get on the bandwagon of change. Our students are living in an age of technological innovations and its only going to keep on changing and getting more technical! When it comes to the website and their mission I agree with them 100%! We must change all of our schools for the better and make sure that all students regardless of their socioeconomic status have access to this new 21st century learning. They must be taught to think critically, think on their feet, and be literate not in only in reading and writing but in technology. Once our schools begin changing our students will be placed in a position where they can better compete in our global society. Any thoughts? Please share.


  1. I love your enthusiasm! You are so right about the United States competing in the global markets. As I said in another posting, I keep thinking about us catching up in the space race back in the late 50's early 60's...yes, I am old enough to actually remember Kennedy's speech. We as a nation cannot afford to lose a foothold in the global economy and positioning for the future. When I compared the standards and frameworks at P21 with my own state's, Georgia, I was surprised at the parallels. But after reading your posting and thoughts, I realize just as you pointed out that by the time the state has put the standards into action, they are already outdated. I really liked what Ken Kay said in his podcast, "We cannot afford the luxury of dialogue on this issue."
    I really like the way your website looks. I am going to have to ask you for some pointers to help me fine tune my own.

  2. Mrs.C,

    I enjoyed your enthusiasm and thinking of this site. I too, agreed 100% with the mission and the 21st Century Skills. It is nice to see that your state is already rewriting curriculum to meet the needs of these skills. My thinking after viewing this site is that I need to work on making my students literate in technology, work on collaboraion and problem solving skills. It is a small step, but one that I think will make a difference. Where or what changes will you make within your own classroom in regards to these skills?


  3. Hi Ladies!

    Thank you for enjoying my post and I'm glad it got you thinking. I am looking forward to seeing the changes NJ and your states will be making. Over this summer I may have the opportunity to work on the curriculums being worked on in NJ to move our education system into the 21st century. Go onto your state websites to find out what they are doing to help our future generations prepare for the 21st century and beyond. Keep in touch!

  4. I am impressed with New Jersey. I think it really takes some forward thinking to go ahead and start making changes/addressing real issues. I think many states and school would rather continue to keep the status quo, but obviously that hurts our students.

    I'm curious about what New Jersey is doing. Are they adding on to current curriculum or adding additional knowledge and skills that must be addressed in order to be effective in the 21st century?

    I enjoyed the post comparing the space race in the 1950's and 1960's to our current educational situation. There are some definite similarities, but it is going to take strong leadership and plan in order to succeed, and really, failure is not an option. We must do what we can to prepare our students for the 21st century.

  5. New Jersey is setting the tone for education! That is great to hear. Unfortunately, many of our states have not focused on the reality that is so badly needed to put our educational system in the forefront or at least in the race. Maybe this is why P21 is trying to initiate collaboration among the many leaders in our our various states. There are far too many states that obviously is satisfied to hang on to the antiquated procedures that are retarding the educational growth of our children.

    Jennifer, congratulations to you and the state of New Jersey for stepping up to the plate!

  6. You should feel privileged and proud of what New Jersey has set as its technology goal. What a huge task, but one that can be reached successfully providing you have the financial and educational support of all stakeholders. Keep us posted what steps you are making toward your goal.

    Dr. Howe

  7. Hello Everyone,

    New Jersey has currently employed Grant Wiggins who you may have heard about from a previous course to help with our curriculums. Our state is adding, removing and simplifying the curriculums. Wiggins is very big on the idea of power standards and creating objectives that allow the teacher to utilize more than one standard in a lesson. I know that history is currently being revised as well as English. Currently NJ high schools will be undergoing a 4yr transformation to get our students and schools on track with 21st century education. We are definitley seeing more technology in our schools with the help of NCLB funding. I am very proud to be a teacher in NJ where a lot is going on. Our commissioner of education Lucille Davis (i'm pretty sure that's her name) is a strong advocate for rigorous instruction in the classroom that will intellectually motivate students to do better and become better prepared for the future. My best advice for all is to stay as current as you can with your state standards and positions on education.

    Thanks for sharing and engaging in some GREAT conversation!