Four Questions

From the Trilling and Fadel (2009) book 21st Century Skills, the authors start off in the introduction with what they call the “Four Question Exercise.”

They ask you to imagine if you have a child who is just starting preschoool or kindergarten this year to consider the following questions:

Question #1:  What will the world be like twenty or so years from now when your child has left school and is out in the world?

Question #2:  What skills will your child need to be successful in this world you have imagined twenty years from now?

Question #3:  Now think about your own life and the times when you were really learning, so much and so deeply, that you would call these the “peak learning experiences” of your life.  What were the conditions that made your high-performance learning experiences so powerful?

Question #4:  What would learning be like if it were designed around your answers to the first three questions?

Discussion Question:  Please share your thoughts on any of the above questions.

21st Century Skills-Ch. 3

 In Trilling and Fadel’s book 21st Century Skills,  they identify and describe many of the 21st century skills needed by our students.  In chapter 3 they focused on learning and innovation skills.

In thinking about our 21st century learning expectations, we align closely in this area when it comes to critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication, but in our learning expectations we do not include creativity and innovation.

“Given the 21st century demands to continously innovate new services, better processes, and improved products for the world’s global economy, and for the creative knowledge work required in more and more of the world’s better-paying jobs, it should come as no surprise that creativity and innovation are very high on the list of 21st century skills.

In fact, many believe that our current Knowledge Age is quickly giving way to an Innovation Age, where the ability to solve problems in new ways (like the greening of energy use), to invent new technologies (liek bio- and nanotechnology) or create the next killer application of existing technologies (like efficient and affordable electric cars and solar panels), or even to discover new branches of knowledge and invent entirely new industries, will all be highly prized

Creativity and innovation can be nurtured by learning enviornments that foster questioning, patience, openness to fresh ideas, high levels of trust, and learning from mistakes and failures.  They can be developed, like many other skills, through practice over time.  Though there is no accepted universal test for creativey and innovation skills, hundreds of instruments and assessment tools exist, each one measuring different aspects of creativity in a specific field, from math and music to writing and robotics.

One of the most effective ways to develop creative skill is through design challenge projects in which students must invent solutions to real-world problems, ”  (pp. 56-58).

Discussion Questions:  Please share with your colleauges ways that you integrate both creativity and innovation into your lessons.  Also, should these skills be included in our school 21st century learning skills?