21st Century Skills

Strategies For Implementing 21st Century Skills Across Your Curriculum

One of the biggest steps before you integrate 21st century skills into courses is that you need to select the rubric or series of 21st century competencies that fits what you are looking to do. I prioritized my search around skill sets that were focused on the connection of soft skills into collaborative projects using technology and also since I am also working with the Business department I wanted something that combined applied technology to student learning. The application of these skills in real world experiences was also an important component. I concluded my search with the use of the 21st Century Skills Standards from the Washington State Office Of The Superintendent Of Public Instruction.

Working with new standards and frameworks with 21st Century Skills

With the release of the relatively new Massachusetts DESE Digital Learning & Computer Science Standards and the continuing work of David Benedetto and the NH Computer Science Standards team the updating of the core skills and knowledge’s of Computer Science and how it can be both embedded and taught as a stand alone course urges us to begin looking at how these skills can cross the curriculum and hold fidelity with other content areas and provide students with the essential skills related to both computer science, 21st Century Skills and the elements of the innovative classroom.


In my process, I believe it is essential to cross reference the strands of computer science and digital learning strands and define what tools, classroom approaches and computer systems are

Being addressed. This can happen in a course review of non digital learning courses as well and be a point of reference for including computer science or digital learning standards in business,entrepreneurship,world language or other content areas. When you begin to review units of study and their outcomes you can begin to highlight whether that content is including the relevant 21st century skills. Additionally a reference point for how the technology and classroom outcomes can be strategically modified can be noted and included in course design.

The Importance Of Targeted 21st Century Language For Students & Educators

One of the more important parts of implementing 21st Century Skills in course design is reducing language to the essential terms and student knowledge expectations. In North Reading this has been done through the use of a shared list of words we are paring to fit grade level implementations of digital learning skills and content areas.These words are used in

Collaboratively developed lesson plans and have also been used in word walls and scaffolding discussions with tiered language. The selection of these words are cognizant of the standards but also take into account the value of collaborative learning, design thinking and maker environments.

Where does competency based education fit with this discussion?

“We must ask students to complete the tasks in their earning that they will encounter in the real world”.  

If we continue with this thinking in the design of courses and curriculum for STEM, 21st Century Skills we need to create challenges that match this goal. We need to set projects that challenge students to work in teams and troubleshoot code as well as reflect and shift perspectives according to conditions.

  • Hands On Building
  • Open Ended Instructions With Opportunities For Innovation
  • Team Evaluation and Reflection
  • Opportunities for students to scaffold their base of skills through participation in the process

What is revealed in the project outcomes and notes from your crosswalk and discussions? What do we expect students to be able to do?

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