Join Oliver Schinkten for an in-depth discussion in this video What are 21st century communication skills?, part of Communication in the 21st Century Classroom.
- 21st Century Skills. One of the most popular buzz word phrases in the world of education. But what are 21st century skills? The most common or often referred to as the 4 C's. It include Communication, Collaboration, Critical thinking and Creative thinking. Now there are actually a lot of people who dislike the phrase 21st century skills. In talking with them, I found several reasons for this. Some feel that by emphasizing the need for new skills, or implying that education hasn't been working.
I've heard many people say that, "the system worked fine for me." Another reason is that by identifying these skills as 21st century skills, we seem to be implying that they were not important in any other century. It seems ridiculous to think that communication, collaboration, critical and creative thinking were not equally important in every other century. Although these are not the only reasons that people dislike the phrase 21st century skills, I want to quickly address what I believe is an important point. Of course communication, collaboration, critical and creative thinking skills were important in every century.
However, the way that we go about these skills has changed dramatically over the past 10 to 15 years. What is the main reason? The internet. One of the most pivotal inventions in history. Let's consider communication. Although there has been the need to communicate, it wasn't until recently that we had options such as smartphones, texting, tweeting, Skype calls, emails, Snapchat, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Hangouts and more. The methods we have available to communicate has changed a ton in the digital age.
As innovation after innovation continues to add to the number of tools we have available to communicate with. I remember not that long ago when our everyday options for communication were limited to in-person, on the phone, or through a letter sent to the mail. We're quick to dismiss this generation as anti-social, or inept at communicating with one another. Is this true though? Although they sure don't seem to be as experienced at in-person communication, talking on the phone or writing letters, they're definitely communicating.
The level of connectedness and the time they spent communicating is extremely high, likely higher than it has ever been before. The problem however, is that many students do not seem to have a good understanding of the proper medium for communication to use for certain situations. Helping our students to understand which medium is correct to use in specific situations, and how to use that medium appropriately is an extremely important concept. It's our job as educators to help them develop these skills.
- Introducing digital literacy to your class
- Understanding our digital citizenship and digital footprint
- Collaborating with Google Drive
- Implementing an LMS
- Offering video office hours using Google Hangouts
- Gathering student feedback with Google Forms
- Creating audio and video announcements
- Using social media to communicate with the community