So . . . What is 21st Century Learning?


"To successfully face rigorous higher education coursework and a globally competitive work environment, schools must align classroom environments and core subjects with 21st century skills." (Paige Johnson, Partnership for 21st Century Skills)
The 21st Century Skills Movement (P21)
  • focused on integrating 21st century skills into the education system
  • involves educators, community groups, & business leaders
  • overall goal to increase student achievement at school and in the work force

21st Century Skills

1. Core Subjects (LA, Math, Science) and 21st Century Themes (Global Awareness & Financial Literacy).
Haldane Elementary - we are the Number 1 Green School in Canada and have reached Earth Status Level 10 for all the global and environmental activities we have completed.

2. Learning & Innovation Skills (Critical thinking, creativity, problem solving)
Alberta Learning's document Focus on Inquiry outlines the steps to implement these higher level cognitive skills while developing authentic, meaningful inquiries that the students are completely involved in. Many activities carried out by "The Green Kids Club" at Haldane integrate these learning and innovation skills. An example of an inquiry unit I did with Mrs. Mudry's grade 3 class was finding and selecting information on honeybees, creating a wiki using this information, and then extending our thinking by asking an authentic, real-world inquiry, "Why is the honeybee population declining and how will this affect our world?"

3. Information, Media, and Technology Skills
Implementation of these skills will be a crucial part of my role over the next few years. Visit the Information Literacy and the Technology in the Classroom pages for further information on these topics.

4. Life & Career Skills (Initiative and Self-Direction)
How do we instil these important traits into the make-up of our students? Students who possess initiative and self-responsibility will have the best opportunity for future successes.

The AASL Standards for the 21st Century Learner
The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) has also created standards for the 21st Century Learner, skills which they believe teacher-librarians are key in providing instruction. "School librarians collaborate with others to provide instruction, learning strategies, and practice in using the essential learning skills needed in the 21st century." The four leading skill-sets are:
  1. Inquire, think critically, and gain knowledge.
  2. Draw conclusions, make informed decisions, apply knowledge to new situations, and create new knowledge.
  3. Share knowledge and participate ethically and productively as members of our democratic society.
  4. Pursue personal and aesthetic growth.

How Do These 21st Century Skills Relate to the SD #73 Information Literacy Continuum?

Information Literacy Continuum - SD #73 Document (Document being revised 2015/16 school year to support new curriculum)
A group of librarians and educators in the Kamloops/Thompson District have created an Information Literacy Continuum specifically for teachers to meet existing learning outcomes through the use of inquiry learning and integration of technology across the curriculum. As Teacher-Librarian I am willing to work with staff to meet these information literacy outcomes by using 21st century skills across the existing curriculum.
  • meet existing learning outcomes using higher level cognitive skills (critical and analytical thinking) and multi-media presentations.
  • collaborate with the classroom teacher to design, implement and assess the project/activity.
  • provide support and access to a variety of digital media and technology tools.
  • share project with school, parents, community, and global friends.
  • reflect with classroom teacher about the success and concerns of activity to build upon for the future.
  • share successes with school administration and all staff to advocate for teacher-librarian/classroom teacher partnerships.

The Three R's and the Four C's
We all know the three R's - readin', ritin', and rithmetic, but what do the four C's stand for? The P21 website defines the four C's as - Critical thinking and problem solving, Communication, Collaboration, and Creativity and innovation. Ken Kay, president of P21, explains in a short video clip below the importance of fusing the three R's and four C's to ensure student readiness for the 21st century. He describes how in several US states, teachers are being given Professional Development on, "How to teach and assess the four C's in the context of the three R's." One of my role's as Teacher-Librarian will be to begin implementing the Information Literacy Continuum across the curriculum, working together with classroom teachers.