It’s easy to dismiss the 21st Century Skills movement as the latest educational buzzword. On the other hand, many people point out that the main tenets of 21st Century Skills have been focused on by educators for centuries. These two ideas are at odds. Clearly, critical thinking, creativity etc. have always been important in education. So they aren’t just buzzwords. In that case, what makes 21st Century Skills different than what we, as teachers, have focused on in the past?

What 21st Century skills do is provide a framework for teachers. They show how a variety of factors in today’s world (technology, globalization, connectivity etc. etc.) have created a demand for skills that leverage both advanced cognitive processes and the ability to effectively choose and use the technologies that maximize results. This bionic combination, this melding of mind and machine, enables the 21st Century learners to deal with the massive amounts of data, the increased fluidity of information and the increasingly complex cognitive demands of today’s world. Either ability in isolation lacks the exponential power delivered when higher order thinking harnesses the correct technology.

"Henrico 21: Introduction." Henrico 21: 21st Century Teaching and Learning. Henrico County, n.d. Web. 17 Feb 2011.

  *if viewing in HCPS school, must use ethernet*

"Learn to Change, Change to Learn." YouTube. Web. 17 Feb 2011. <>.