Teaching 21st Century Concepts and Skills, K-12

Each Iowa student must graduate with the 21st century skills necessary for a productive and satisfying life in a global knowledge-based environment. Descriptions of the new global reality are plentiful, and the need for new, 21st century skills in an increasingly complex environment is well documented. In one form or another, authors cite (1) the globalization of economics; (2) the explosion of scientific and technological knowledge; (3) the increasingly international dimensions of the issues we face, (i.e. global warming and pandemic diseases); and (4) changing demographics as the major trends that have resulted in a future world much different from the one that many of us faced when we graduated from high school (Friedman, 2005 and Stewart, 2007). The trends are very clear that each Iowa student will need essential 21st century skills to lead satisfying lives in this current reality.

Listed below are professional books that provide an excellent research base and rationale for the importance of teaching 21st century concepts and skills. These are the five book titles that were shared with district leadership teams in Module six of the Iowa Core Curriculum training. All titles will be available for checkout through the Heartland library.

The Global Achievement Gap: Why Even Our Best Schools Don't Teach the New Survival Skills Our Children Need--And What We Can Do About It by Tony Wagner Based on interviews with business leaders and observations of classes in public schools, Tony Wagner argues that there is a disconnect between what potential employers are looking for in young people today (critical thinking skills, creativity, and effective communication) and what our schools are providing (passive learning environments and lesson plans that focus on test preparation and reward memorization). He explains how every American can work to overhaul our education system, and shows examples of schools that teach all students new skills. Interviews with college graduates show how teachers, parents, and employers can motivate the net generation to excellence. Wagner will be presenting in Iowa in September.

A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the World by Daniel Pink (CD audiobook, #256001,or hardcover) The author claims the workplace is changing and power will shift to people who possess strong right brain qualities. He reveals the six essential aptitudes for professional success and personal fulfillment. A series of tools, tips, and hands-on exercises are included for each aptitude. Unabridged audiobook. 5 CDs.

Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives by John Palfrey and Urs Gasser The first generation of “Digital Natives” – children who were born into and raised in the digital world – are coming of age, and soon our world will be reshaped in their image. Our economy, our politics, our culture and even the shape of our family life will be forever transformed. But who are these Digital Natives?

Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns by Clayton Christensen, Michael Hern, and Curtis Johnson According to recent studies in neuroscience, the way we learn doesn't always match up with the way we are taught. If we hope to stay competitive-academically, economically, and technologically-we need to rethink our understanding of intelligence, reevaluate our educational system, and reinvigorate our commitment to learning. In other words, we need “disruptive innovation.”

Caught In the Middle: America's Heartland in the Age of Globalism by Richard Longworth The Midwest has always been the heart of America - both its economic bellwether and the repository of its national identity. Now, in a new, globalized age, the Midwest is challenged as never before. With an influx of immigrant workers and an outpouring of manufacturing jobs, the region that defines the American self - the Lake Wobegon image of solid, hardworking farmers and factory hands - is changing at breakneck speed. As factory farms and global forces displace old ways of life, the United States is being transformed literally from the inside out.