Sunday, October 21, 2012

21st Century Fluencies

My October 19th, PSA day was spent with a group of teachers at a session on Professional Development Online (Creating PLNs) We started the day by watching the keynote speaker for CUEBC, Ian Jukes, via live-streamed video. His focus was on change: changes in our society, changes in in our workplace and as a result the need for change in education. 

He started with some interesting statistics from  the world of work. He explained that creative class jobs have increased since the 1980's. Those jobs were defined as those that are facilitated by technology, but can't be replaced by technology. He went on to say that the economy is eliminating standardized jobs, but schools are still focusing on standardized tests and curriculum. In fact by 2012, 50% of jobs will require creative abstract skills. In answer to why these skills weren't being taught more he quoted Tom Peters, 

"What gets measured gets done. What doesn't get measured doesn't get done."

Ian referred to 6 new "21st century fluencies" that educators need to incorporate when teaching traditional content. 

1. Problem solving

2. Creativity

2. Analytical Thinking
4. Collaborate
5. Communicate
6. Ethics, Actions, Accountability

At this point I had two thoughts: One,  I think there are a lot of teachers out there who are teaching 21st century fluency skills , who are getting them done, but yes, the skills don't get measured. My second thought was how would you go about measuring those skills?  The next thing I know this a link came up via Twitter from @margoflower of a shared google doc. which is working on just that. 
By the end of Jukes' fast-paced, visually stimulating presentation, generously injected by humour, the following are some "nuggets" I wanted to make sure to remember. Admittedly, none of this is necessarily new information, but things that can easily be forgotten in the day to day minutiae of teaching if we aren't careful, if we don't constantly remind ourselves of the big picture. 

"How do we get the content to stick? Interest and Relevance is essential to the learner. It is not about what you teach but how you teach."

"Activities that are multi-sensory, about the real world are the most effective learning environments. "Make learning matter" 

This formula that Jukes supplied made all of this "stick" much better for me: Interest & Relevance + HOTS (Higher Order Thinking Skills) + Real World = 21st Century Learning.

And best of all, at the end of this inspiring keynote, we were provided with some swag to take home.  app.fluency.21. com is a link to sign up to a beta project which is  unit planner tool as well as access to public plans already made via The 21st Century Fluency Project

At the closing we were asked to do three things:
1. Write down three things you know now.
2. Write down two things that you are going to share with colleagues.
3. Write down one action that you are going to take.

and so...... this post and then back to that unit planner! 


  1. Thanks for highlighting all the key points from our PLN session. I have followed up by reading the first three "free chapters" of Understanding the Digital Generation ~Jukes, McCain and Crockett. It specifically looks at the students:how, why and the effects of digital information and communication on our students learning.
    Thanks for initiating! Holly

  2. Thanks for your comment! I'm going to add the book you mentioned to my "to read" list.