Even Napoleon Dynamite recognized the need for skills. As a history teacher I teach the content of American history, but just as important are the skills that I teach to prepare thoughful and engaged citizens of the 21st century. Finally, there is a curriculum map that helps to determine what skills should be taught in a social studies classroom of the 21st century. This map goes beyond reading, writing, and communication skills (although it includes all of those) to include creativity, information literacy and adaptability skills. With technology and information changing at warp speed students need these new skills to be prepared for the reality of the world we live in today. Many people have seen the video "Did You Know? 2.0", but if you haven't take a few minutes to watch this thought provoking video that demostrates how today's world is far different than it was just 10 years ago and the impact it has on all of us.
(Created by Karl Fisch, Scott McLeod, and XPLANE)
So, in July, the Partnership for 21st Century Skills and the National Council for the Social Studies unveiled the very first 21st Century skills curriculum map. The document includes student outcomes and outcome examples for grades 4, 8, and 12. There are twelve specific skills contained in the map, they include:
- creativity and innovation;
- critical thinking and problem solving;
- information literacy;
- media literacy;
- information and communication technologies;
- flexibility and adaptability;
- initiative and self direction;
- social and cross-cultural skills;
- productivity and accountability;
- and leadership and responsibility.
I am generally not a fan of curriculum documents (one only needs to look at the Pennsylvania History Standards and the minutiae it contains to understand my way of thinking), but this document seems to meld the NCSS (National Council for the Social Studies) national standards to the ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) standards. This melding is what makes this curriculum map so intriguing and potentially valuable for social studies teachers.
What are your thoughts?