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Slideshow and transcript from the 2015 ACDLITe Luncheon: Bridging the Digital Literacy Gap: Embedding 21st Century Skills into Coursework, by Lara Madden 2/20/2015


Slide 1:  This talk is based on The Partnership for the 21st Century research, “Framework for 21st Century Learning” found at their website www.P21.org.

Slide 2: According to the P21 group,” The Framework they have created presents a holistic view of teaching and learning that combines a discrete focus on 21st century student outcomes, blending specific skills, content knowledge, expertise and literacies, with innovative support systems to help students master the multi-dimensional abilities that will be required of them as they leave higher education and enter the workforce.” (www.p21.org)

Slide 3:  “The elements described in the framework are the critical systems necessary to ensure 21st century readiness for every student. They standards, assessments, curriculum, instruction, professional development and learning environments must cover the four following essential skills”:

Slide 4: “Critical Thinking as a term came about in the mid-late 20th Century, used as the term to describe what is means to actively and skillfully conceptualize, apply, analyze, synthesize and/or evaluate information gathered by observation, experience, reflection, reasoning or communication, as a guide to a belief or an action.” (www.criticalthinking.org)

Slide 5: Problem-Solving simply defined is the use of cognitive processing to find a solution to a difficult question or situation; to use deep thought to solve a problem. As we all know, the art of problem solving is woven in all academic content, though many only equate the term to solving for x, we know there is so much more to it.

Slide 6: The idea of 21st Century communication leaves can leave us cringing ~  the advent of texting, and posting on social media platforms like Facebook & Twitter have changed the way students communicate, but this does not mean those are the best ways to communicate. In my opinion this gives those of us in higher education more cause to embed true communication skills into coursework as much as possible.

Slide 7: Technology has created multiple ways for human beings to collaborate, not just in face to face study groups but from anywhere in the world. Examples are access to the OWL videoconferencing access in 96 libraries across rural Alaska to students in African and other countries owning mobile smart devices and internet to access information and communicate.

Slide 8: We, in this room, are the content experts in each of our respective areas, and if we analyzed some of our assessments I believe many of the concepts of the 21st Century framework are already woven through. The focus of this talk is to take time to assess our assessments and raise the bar.

 Slide 9: Thinking big picture core literacies: Global Awareness, Financial, Economic, Business & Entrepreneurial, Civic, Health and Environmental Literacies. These 21st Century interdisciplinary themes are critical to student learning outcomes, if our goal is to send students out as globally aware citizens, we must weave the literacies within our teaching.

 Slide 10: Learning and innovation skills are core to upcoming generations ability to be competitive and relevant in the changing world. P21.org calls for students to be “prepared for the increasingly complex life and work environments in today’s world” www.p21.org

Slide 11: The focus then, is to embed creativity, innovation, critical thinking, problem solving and effective communication and collaboration into our assessments. To focus on enhancing assessment tools and encourage relevant and competitive learning outcomes.

Slide 12: A focus for myself, being an instructional technologist and designer, is the area of learning and innovation skills. Each additional semester I teach I become more acutely aware of the multitude of skill levels students arrive with. I for one do not believe any I have met are true “digital natives.” They may be able to text and instagram, but they are not yet equipped to manage academic technologies successfully.

Slide 13: Life and career skills that are needed to manage within the globally competitive information age in which we live, must also be woven into assessment and learning. These are sometimes referred to by management as “soft skills” Flexibility, Adaptability….

 Slide 14: Initiative, drive, social and cross-cultural awareness, which coincides with emotional and cultural intelligence, productivity, and accountability for their actions. Leadership and responsibility, those things that make amazing citizens can be woven into our assessments, no matter what the topic we are teaching.

 Slide 15: Embedding the skills, no HTML code required. Many of us, as I noted earlier may have some of each of the prior listed literacies and skills already embedded into our assessments, but some may not. It is always a good time to reevaluate how assignments/assessments work and align the outcomes with both CCG learning outcomes and these 21st Century core skills and literacies.

 Slide 16: I will give examples in 3 focus points to wrap up this talk: How to review and assignment, adding/embedding technology without having to learn more ourselves and collaboration, think: group projects, video presentations, collaborative learning.

Slide 17: How do we do this? They key is review. Take your course capstone, or final project. And ask, does this project take into consideration the intent of this course? Does it take, at least a few 21st Century skills to create/complete? How does the student present? And finally thinking big picture how can I add instructions that push the bar higher? How do I teach my students to teach each other?

Slide 18: Technology ideas: can my student use a smartphone to record a skill and upload it for me to watch in Blackboard? In Culinary Arts? In math, in Engineering, Role playing in Business? I think there are many uses with the ease of integration of video and our Blackboard CMS. Can students use tools for audio/video and text discussions outside the classroom? Yes, in Discussion Board and VoiceThread. Can students create mashups bringing together video or visual research to share with you and with their class? Yes.

Slide 19: My favorite thing is collaboration.  “Collaborative learning works with kindergartners and graduate students, with students who struggle to understand and students who pick things up instantly; it works for math and science, language skills and social studies, fine arts and foreign languages” (Alfie Kohn). So I say do it!

Slide 20: It really is up to us as faculty in higher education to ready our students for the 21st Century skills by making small changes to how students create and submit assessments. Continuing to add collaboration, require use of technology tools and raising the bar for critical thinking and problem solving within assessment will prepare our graduates for the complex environment that is their future.

Works Cited


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