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Collaboration, Communication, Critical Thinking, and Creativity

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”  ― W.B. Yeats

I am just amazed how much education has changed in a decade. I earned my Masters of Education in Instructional Technology in 2004. This was three years before I took on the dual role of part-time Science Teacher and part-time Instructional Technology Coordinator. (I might argue that both are full-time jobs, but that may be a post for another day.) I earned my degree in the 21st Century, but I honestly don't remember any of my classes focusing on 21st Century Skills. 
Much of my learning was focused on the creation of tools, technical skills,  and technology resources. EdTech was only a for substitution, not for enhancement. I learned very little about the skills needed to support learners in a student-centered classroom. 
The tools were cool, but I'm not sure I could name more than a handful that I used to complete my Masters.  While the tools have faded, my learning and philosophy has continued to evolve. 

I first began to think a bit about the 4Cs and 21st Century Skills in 2008 when I stumbled on the Partnership for 21st Century Skills Website. P21 was a game changer for me as a teacher and learner.
  • I've heard many a keynote speaker or read a blog post mention how important 21st Century Skills are for schools. 
  • On the flip side I often hear or read about teachers and students already being in the 21st Century so we need to stop talking about 21st Century Skills. 
I stand firmly in the middle of these two statements. I think the 4Cs are essential and should blanket everything we do in every classroom. I don't think we need to sell them as something new and innovative. I believe that the 4Cs have been supported by most good teachers throughout educational history. We just sometimes need a reminder about how essential these skills can be for the future of our students and our world. We cannot get to trapped in our content. 

My recommendation to all educators: 
Remember that the 4Cs are skills students can use in any classroom at anytime. More importantly, they can use them outside of the classroom in their daily lives. I challenge each of you to to design and develop classroom experiences that fit your curriculum, but also support student mastery of the 4Cs. I've embraced this challenge, and it has made all the difference in my love of teaching. 

Do you want to learn more about tools and ideas to support 21st Century Skills in education? I've created a site dedicated to the 4Cs. The site provides resources and digital tools that I use to influence teaching and learning in my classroom. 

Checkout the tools and resources I use to support the 4Cs in my classroom:

Above and Beyond - 21st Century Skills and the 4Cs

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