"Technology can connect us with people around the world who offer different perspectives and experiences. These opportunities will result in many types of learning. It is up to classroom teachers, instructional designers, and program developers - essentially every individual involved in education - to ensure that these technology-facilitated opportunities benefit learning and every child’s future." (Marshall 2002, p. ii).

"In today’s world, it isn’t what you know but rather what you can know - and how fast you can know something new." (Marshall 2002, p. ii)

Technology Day at ABC Middle school was an action packed, technology rich learning experience for our sixth graders. Our students were able to experience new and innovative technology as well as tried and true technology. One of our main goals at ABC Middle School is to equip our students with the skills necessary to perpetuate life long learning. We live in a world where there are technological advances every day. Through the use of technology we are able to teach our students important 21st century skills that will prepare them for the challenges of tomorrow.

Our Technology Day was the perfect opportunity to demonstrate what we strive to teach our students each day - that technology can present new knowledge and support the task of making connections between what is known and new knowledge (Marshall 2002). With each lesson our teachers hope to bring opportunities for new experiences, growth, and challenges that allow students to build skill sets for the 'real world' tasks of the future.

Framework for Learning in the 21st Century:

Core Subjects

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 identifies the core subjects as English, reading or language arts; mathematics; science; foreign languages; civics; government; economics; arts; history; and geography (Partnership for 21st Century Skills Website, 2009). Lessons for all nine academic content areas were created for Technology Day using the Ohio Department of Education Standards for sixth grade. Students were able to learn through the use of a variety of software such as PowerPoint, PhotoShop, Audacity, WebEx, iMovie, iTunes, and BeFit. The lessons also introduced the students to creating digital media, WebQuests, wikis and blogging. 

21st Century Content

Our Health and Physical Education lessons were aligned with the second goal of learning in the 21st Century which includes Health and Wellness Awareness. They PE class taught students about the relationship that exists between exercise, food and a healthy lifestyle. The class also focused on life long exercise and activity. The Health lesson guided students through making healthy food choices. The math lesson met the second goal in the area of Global Awareness with it's topic of census. The students discussed population and projected changes that may occur between now and the year 2030.

ICT Literacy

All of the day's activities met the fourth goal of Learning in the 21st Century which is Information and Communications Technology (ICT) literacy. 

Using a wide variety of technologies serves several purposes: to expose students to new technology, to make them more comfortable using these technologies, and to encourage them to seek out new and innovative technologies on their own.The following chart shows each of the nine content areas and the technology used during the corresponding activities.

 Content Area  
 Technology Computer Software
 Art     Digital Cameras
 Foreign Language
 Digital Video Camera    
 Health     Internet PowerPoint
 Language Arts
 Video Conferencing
 Mathematics Internet, Podcasting Audacity
 Music Digital Video Camera, Internet
 Physical Education    
 iPod, Internet
 iTunes, Safari, BeFit
 Science     Blogging
 Lego Mindstorms
 Social Studies    
 Web Quest, Internet

Learning and Thinking Skills

Learning and Thinking Skills is the third goal of Learning in the 21st Century. Many of our lessons were drawn from this goal. The Science class developed Creativity and Innovation skills as they built and programmed Lego Mindstorm robots during Technology Day. The students discussed how robotics technology is changing the American workforce and can be used to improve our quality of life. The music class focused on Collaboration as they worked together in groups to create a composer project. Communication skills were the focus of the Language Arts activities as they used WebEx to communicate with another group on the topic of literature. The Art lesson for the day used Creativity as well as Information and Media Literacy Skills.

Life Skills

Our Social Studies and Language Arts lessons both met the fifth goal of Learning in the 21st Century. Through a Web Quest activity the Social Studies class focused on Self Direction. The Language Arts class dealt with People Skills through their use of WebEx to interact with another class.

Framework for Learning in the 21st Century

1. Core Subjects  The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, which reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, identifies the core subjects as English, reading or language arts; mathematics; science; foreign languages; civics; government; economics; arts; history; and geography.

2. 21st Century Content  Several significant, emerging content areas are critical to success in communities and workplaces. These content areas typically are not emphasized in schools today:
    • Global awareness
    • Financial, economic, business and entrepreneurial literacy
    • Civic literacy
    • Health and wellness awareness
3. Learning and Thinking Skills  As much as students need to learn academic content, they also need to know how to keep learning and make effective and innovative use of what they know throughout their lives. Learning and Thinking Skills are comprised of:
    • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Skills
    • Communication Skills
    • Creativity and Innovation Skills
    • Collaboration Skills
    • Information and Media Literacy Skills
    • Contextual Learning Skills
4. ICT Literacy  Information and Communications Technology (ICT) literacy is the ability to use technology to develop 21st century content knowledge and skills, in support of 21st century teaching and learning

5. Life Skills  Good teachers have always incorporated life skills into their pedagogy. The challenge today is to incorporate these essential skills into schools deliberately, strategically and broadly. Life skills include:
    • Leadership
    • Ethics
    • Accountability
    • Adaptability
    • Personal Productivity
    • Personal Responsibility
    • People Skills
    • Self Direction
    • Social Responsibility

6. 21st Century Assessments  Authentic 21st century assessments are the essential foundation of a 21st century education. Assessments must measure all five results that matter:
    • Core Subjects
    • 21st Century Content
    • Learning Skills
    • ICT Literacy
    • Life skills. 
To be effective, sustainable and affordable, assessments must use modern technologies to increase efficiency and timeliness. (Partnership for Learning in the 21st Century, 2004).

APA Citation

Partnership For 21st Century Skills. (2004). What is the Framework for Learning in the 21st Century?, Retrieved November

Marshall, J. (2002). Learning with Technology: Evidence that technology can, and does, support learning. A white paper
prepared for Cable in the Classroom, San Diego State University. Retrieved on November 12, 2009, from

Image source: Technology & Learning. Retrieved on November 15, 2009, from

Image source: Brain. Retrieved on November 15, 2009, from