The future depends on what we do in the present. - Mahatma Gandhi

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills

The youth of today will be the workforce of tomorrow. According to Dr. David Thornburg, these students will need to be equipped with a "different skill set than was needed by previous generations." (Laureate Education Inc, 2008) Educators, society, businesses and politicians all know that in order to stay current with technological skills, and maintain a competitive edge in the global arena, that our students need to acquire 21st century skills. An organization called the Partnership for 21st Century Skills is an advocate for realigning education so that 21st century skills can be infused into the classroom curriculum.

Looking over the Partnership for 21st Century skills website, I was surprised to see the list of members that make up this organization. It is quite impressive. Members range from prominent educational book publishing companies like Pearson, to giant international software companies such as Microsoft. The website is easy to navigate, and has a wealth of resources. Many of the resources such as Standard and Assessment guidelines, and Information, Media and Technology guidelines created by Partnerships for 21st century skills, are downloadable and free, which is definitely a plus. Another nice feature to the website is that it also is linked to current articles and press releases regarding education.

Overall this website is a great resource for educators and administrators to use as a tool to get organized and started on integrating 21st century skills in the classroom. The Partnership for 21st century skills "has developed a unified, collective vision for 21st century learning that will strengthen American education." ("The Partnership for." 2004)

I did notice when reviewing the standards and assessments on the website that they seemed to be very generic, with not much detail provided.  If I was a school district wanting to follow the suggested pathways given on the website, as represented by an "arched framework" outline, to integrate 21st century skills, I would expect to have clear and concise information in this area, ready to be implemented instead of having to take additionaly time to recreate or align to standards from other sources.

The implications of converting the classrooms of today to ones that the Partnership for 21st Century Skills is advocating for will be positive for both students and educators. Student learning will be focused on learning "foundational skills", (Laureate Education Inc. 2008) which is essential for them to"not only survive, but thrive" (Laureate Education Inc. 2008) in the ever changing workplace of the future. Teachers will have a learning curve to overcome in learning new technological skills and aligning the new 21st century skills to standards.  Time and professional development opportunities will be required by school districts, and the tradeoff will be that teachers will become better digital citizens and gain greater confidence in using digital tools.

Ultimately, we are all responsible for ensuring the "success of our students, not only in school and work, but in life." ("The Partnership for." 2004)  By ensuring that teachers get what they need, such as equipment, training, and time; in return our students will get what they need, the skills for professional and personal success.  Education is always one of the first areas to recieve budget cuts, but it should be the last. Is education worth the expense?.  Let me ask you this, as you age, what skills would you like your doctor to have, how skillful would you like your lawyer to be?  The students of today are going to be the future citizens of tomorrow.  Lets invest in our future.

(2004) The Partnership for 21st Century Skills.  Retrieved from

Thornburg, D., & Davidson, H. Skills for the 21st Century (Luareate Education, Inc. 2008)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

My First Blog ~ Marcella Lessard

Hello fellow bloggers!  This is my first attempt at having my own blog and keeping it going.  I am in the process of getting my Masters degree, and to be honest, creating a blog was a requirement for one of my classes.  In case you haven't gotten around to reading the "about me" section to the right, I would like to mention that I teach Technology classes at a Career and Technical school in the state of Maine. Mostly Business and Technology classes, such as Desktop Publishing, Intro to HTML, and Microsoft classes. I am Microsoft 2007 certified, and on average 15 to 20  students pass certification each year after taking my classes.  This national certification is not easy to pass, and  last year, for the first time, one of my ELL students passed the certification exam.  We were both ecstatic, he worked very hard for this, and I was especially proud of him.  I would like to have more moments like this.

I have created this blog in hopes that I may find other educators that teach in the same content areas as I do, or have ideas on how to use new technologies.  I would especially love to hear from anyone out there who has ideas on how to make my Microsoft word class more engaging.  I am looking for fun things to do in that class once every other week or so to make the class more energized and interesting.  This is a facilitated class, 9-12 grade students, with a wide range of levels.  I have pondered on how to make this class more appealing, and have been unsuccessful.  I am hoping that someone will see this blog and be able to help.

If anyone would like to share ways in which they are using wikis and blogs in the classroom, I am also open to new teaching ideas in this area too, and my students would be very appreciative.