The 21st Century Skills included in this toolkit come from a range of sources. There is no definitive list of these skills – the eclectic nature of 21st Century skills means that lists and definitions are growing all the time – they are a veritable living list.
The following 21st Century Skills are taken from Ravitz et al. 2012, which is a really interesting paper on a US-based initiative into Project-Based Learning. We include these particular skills and definitions in the toolkit as we found them particularly helpful:
Collaboration and Communication skills refer to “students being able to organize their thoughts, data and findings and share these effectively through a variety of media, as well as orally and in writing” (Ravitz et al. 2012)
Creativity and Innovation skills refer to “students being able to generate and refine solutions to complex problems or tasks based on synthesis, analysis and then combining or presenting what they have learned in new and original ways” (Ravitz et al. 2012)
Critical Thinking skills refer to “students being able to analyse complex problems, investigate questions for which there are no clear-‐cut answers, evaluate different points of view or sources of information, and draw appropriate conclusions based on evidence and reasoning” (Ravitz et al. 2012)
Self-direction skills refer to “students being able to take responsibility for their learning by identifying topics to pursue and processes for their own learning and being able to review their own work and respond to feedback” (Ravitz et al. 2012)
Global and Local Connections refers to ” students being able to understand global, geo-political issues including awareness of geography, culture, language, history, and literature from other countries” (Ravitz et al. 2012)
Technological Fluency refers to “students being able to manage their learning and produce products using appropriate information and communication technologies” (Ravitz et al. 2012)
Other skill types we took from The Glossary of Educational Reform – this is a great resource for educators and all the content is available for sharing, remixing, transforming and building upon using a Creative Commons License. We have added definitions to these based on ones we found helpful from other sources:
Conservation Literacy skills refer to “ability of participating effectively in the conservation of tangible and intangible heritage and to respond to the continuing threats facing all cultural heritage” (adapted from the World Heritage Education Programme).
Research Skills and Practices refer to “the skills required to search for answers to questions, to construct reasoned arguments or theories based on evidence and to increase understanding in a particular field of inquiry” (Higher Education Academy).
Scientific Literacy skills “means that a person can ask, find, or determine answers to questions derived from curiosity about everyday experiences. It means that a person has the ability to describe, explain, and predict natural phenomena. Scientific literacy entails being able to read with understanding articles about science in the popular press and to engage in social conversation about the validity of the conclusions. Scientific literacy implies that a person can identify scientific issues underlying national and local decisions and express positions that are scientifically and technologically informed. A literate citizen should be able to evaluate the quality of scientific information on the basis of its source and the methods used to generate it. Scientific literacy also implies the capacity to pose and evaluate argument” (National Academy of Sciences).
Equality and Diversity refers to “Equal opportunity and diversity are interdependent. Diversity builds on equal opportunity and embraces its principles of equity but has a broader focus… This is because without valuing difference, communicating this and ‘walking the talk’, our work will not be premised on communicating respect for others – the wide range of others that we as teachers of English invariably engage with in many countries and cultures” (Adapted from: Equal opportunity and diversity workshop handbook, British Council 2007:8).
Ethical Literacy skills refer to “assuming reading and writing with a critical thinking, with respect toward the position of others, with conscious use of the information, and with respect to the intellectual property, and to rescue the moral principles and the values established in the information society” (IGI Global).
Flexibility and Adaptability refers to”include responding and adjusting to situational needs, and changing to meet the challenges of new roles, paradigms and environments. Flexibility and adaptability include the thoughtful balance between an individual’s core beliefs and appropriate reaction to change. These dispositions are nurtured through life-long learning and continuous improvement” (Heartland Area Education Agency).
Public Speaking and Presentation skills refer to “the art of effective oral communication with an audience” (Merriam-Webster) in light of informing, “persuading or entertaining a single person or a group of people” (Stand up, Speak out: The Practice and Ethics of Public Speaking, 2011).