Never in time have the words, “21st Century Skills” been so overused and less defined, as least by dictionary standards, than at this time, the year 2007. The phrase lends itself to a very broad set of criteria. What are 21st Century Skills as applied to the population at large and what does it mean to have them? More deeply, when we talk about having these skills, what areas do they apply to? Are we referring to social skills needed in this century? educational skills? technical skills? skills needed in business? communication skills?…Where does the process begin in defining it? Can it be defined completely or does the phrase, like the process of determining it, by its nature lend itself to being undefined, unrefined, and an example of the embodiment of change?
Google “21st Century Skills” and the first site you’ll see is “The Partnership for 21st Century Skills”. Yes, officially “google” can be used in a sentence, as strange to some as that may be to imagine! “Google” has made it into the MerriamWebster dictionary!
The Partnership for 21st Century Skills was established in 2005 and has emerged as the senior advocacy leader in establishing guidelines and protocols for students in the 21st century. Through relationships with partners, business and educational, political and non-for-profit, they have established a framework of skills deemed necessary to be successful, productive citizens in the 21st century.
However effective, the question still remains of how to educate the “rest of us”, how do we as citizens, become more literate in today’s society. How do we become more productive, more engaged, and how do we pass on our knowledge to the generations to come? Perhaps in this age of easier communication and open dialogue, there’s still lots to talk about in terms of what our expectations should be of ourselves, and what they can be for our children.