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What are 21st Century skills?

What are 21st Century skills?

What are 21st Century skills?

In an interview for Education Week Press Magazine, Karen Cator director of the Office of Educational Technology, U.S. Department of Education said: 

Success in the 21st century requires knowing how to learn.

Students today must develop strong critical thinking and interpersonal skills in order to be successful in an interconnected and complex world.

In this setting, educators can leverage technology to create an engaging and personalized environment to meet the emerging educational needs of this generation. No longer does learning have to be one-size-fits-all. 

By Elizabeth Rich Published online in October 11, 2010 


Are our students prepared for the challenges of 21st century college, career, and life?


The 21st century is quite different than the 20th in the capabilities people need for work, citizenship, and self-actualization.  21st century skills are different primarily due to the emergence of very sophisticated technologies states Chris Dede a graduate Harvard student from the School of Education in his article entitled ¨Comparing Frameworks for 21st Century Skills¨.  He also mentions that in today´s modern world students need adaptable skills they can apply in all areas of life! 

In the early 1980´s government, educators, and major employers issued a series of reports identifying key skills and implementation strategies to enable students and workers to meet the demands of the changing workplace and society nowadays. 

This 12 skills are:

  1. Critical thinking
  2. Creativity
  3. Collaboration
  4. Communication
  5. Information literacy
  6. Media literacy
  7. Technology literacy
  8. Flexibility
  9. Leadership
  10. Initiative
  11. Productivity
  12. Social Skills

Each skill is unique in how it helps students, but they all have one quality in common. They’re essential in the age of the Internet. in this video you can see more about what 21rs century skills are.



Each 21st Century skill is broken into one of three categories:

  1. Learning skills
  2. Literacy skills
  3. Life skills

Along with initiative, 21st Century skills require students to learn about productivity. That’s a student’s ability to complete work in an appropriate amount of time. In business terms, it’s called “efficiency.”

There’s one last skill that ties all other 21st Century skills together.

Social skills which are crucial to the ongoing success of a professional. Business is frequently done through the connections one person makes with others around them.



American Association of Colleges and Universities. (2007). College Learning for the new global century. Washington, DC: AACU. 

Cronbach, L. J., Linn, R. L., Brennan, R. L, & Haertel, E. H. (1997). Generalizability analysis for performance assessments of student achievement or school effectiveness. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 57, 373-399.


EdLeader 21 a network  www. battelleforkids.org

The glossary of education reform.  www.greatschoolspartnership.org