Press Release: Learning for Life in Our Times

A practical guide to the learning our students need to thrive in our times

San Francisco, CA – Imagine a classroom where students are exploring the question, “Is nuclear power a good alternative to fossil-fueled power?” One group of students studies Marie Curie’s and others’ early discoveries in the physics of radioactivity, while another group researches how modern nuclear fission and fusion works, and a third analyzes current French politics and policies on nuclear power, including an online discussion of the issues with students in France. With the aid of appropriate digital technologies, the students synthesize and share their findings with each other and propose creative alternatives and possibilities.  Then the entire class holds a debate on the issues in front of parents and members of the community, and posts its findings on the internet for other classes around the world to share in and comment on. In the process, in addition to Science, Math, History and Economics, students learn to become better analytical and synthetic thinkers, more effective collaborators and communicators, better users of digital technologies, globally aware, environmentally literate, and civic-minded.  Their projects develop in them a number of life skills as well, ranging from flexibility to initiative to cross-cultural communication to leadership.

Students acquire skills necessary for everyday life and its success through the application of their knowledge of traditional core subjects (math, language, etc) to global, health, economic, environmental and technological issues.  And in doing so, the relevance brought to traditional subjects, and the engagement of students via projects, reinforce their knowledge while developing their skills, to achieve deep competencies. This is what the authors of 21st Century Skills: Learning for Life in Our Times (Jossey-Bass; ISBN: 978-0-470-47538-6; October 2009) contend are the key positive directions where 21st century learning is headed. Authors Bernie Trilling and Charles Fadel begin with why and how the global landscape for learning is reshaping itself – from accelerating technological advances to the rising need for knowledge and skills in a more interconnected world – then proceed to show how learning and education systems are already moving toward learning models more in tune with our times.

21st Century Skills serves as a comprehensive, practical and useful guide to what educators, parents and policymakers need to do to help prepare students for success in school, work, citizenship and a lifetime of learning. Learning for today and tomorrow means mastering a number of 21st Century Skills while acquiring essential knowledge and understanding in core subjects and themes:

  • Learning and Innovation Skills: Creativity and Innovation, Critical Thinking and Problem Solving, and Communication and Collaboration
  • Information, Media and Technology Skills: Information Literacy, Media Literacy, and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Literacy
  • Life and Career Skills: Flexibility and Adaptability, Initiative and Self-Direction, Social and Cross-Cultural Skills, Productivity and Accountability, Leadership and Responsibility

Complete with video mini-documentaries of learning in 21st century schools (on the DVD included with the book), international examples, research summaries, and schoolwork samples, 21st Century Skills provides an exciting overview of the global movement toward 21st century teaching and learning.

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