• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • You already know Dokkio is an AI-powered assistant to organize & manage your digital files & messages. Very soon, Dokkio will support Outlook as well as One Drive. Check it out today!


What are 21st Century Skills

This version was saved 14 years, 2 months ago View current version     Page history
Saved by Kimberly Young
on April 22, 2010 at 7:54:55 pm

In the last unit you explored how the world is changing and how the 21st century requires new knowledge and skills according to employers.  In this unit, we will spend time learning about those specific skills indepth and explore how the field of social studies can be used as a vehicle for encouraging student development of these skills.




Activity 1 : What are 21st Century Skills? Readings 

Focus Questions:  What are 21st Century Skills? How are they a response to changes in society?


Part A:

Research the 21st Century Education Movement using the resources located below (feel free to browse links within these sites as well).   



Part B: Reflect

This Unit and the activities from Unit 1 are closely connected. Review your thoughts and interviews from unit 1 and reflect on the following questions:

  • How are 21st Century Skills a reaction to changes in society?
  • What similarities and differences does the focus on 21st century skills have with your interviewee's experiences/opinions?  




Activity 2: Identifying 21st Century Skills

Focus Question:  How do 21st Century Skills differ from 20th Century (and earlier!) Skills?


Below there are 2 similar skill sets listed.  Choose which skill set best fits the criteria for 21st century skills and write a brief sentence why.


  • having strong grammar and spelling skills at all times vs. having okay grammar and spelling skills but being able to use a dictionary, Word Processing spelling and grammar check, peers, and other information skills to edit and revise a written piece 
  • working with other people to design and/or implement a project and taking responsibility for a couple aspects of the project while constantly asking for feedback from peers to improve project and providing progress reports vs. working with other people but doing most of the work in isolation
  • reciting the Preamble to the Constitution and identifying all 7 articles and their contents vs. referencing sections from the Constitution while explaining to a peer why its important to play an active role in government
  • developing a PowerPoint Presentation on a specific assigned topic using a preset format (Slide 1: Title, Slide 2: Country, Slide 3: Culture, etc.) and set amount of images, sounds, etc. and presented to the class vs. developing a multi-media PowerPoint Presentation on a topic connected to a central theme or idea in the core subject and then presented to the community.
  • reciting a portion of a Greek Play from memory vs. having a discussion with an English teacher on how a Greek Play is a product of its time and yet is still applicable today


Compare your answers to the answer key located here: insert answer key Review the readings as necessary to improve your understanding.



Activity 3: Locating 21st Century Skills in Social Studies Lesson Plans

Focus Question:  How can 21st century skills be taught, practiced, or encouraged in a Social Studies Classroom?


The Social Studies classroom, like any other classroom, provides many opportunities for the incorporation of 21st century skills.  In this activity, you will analyze a social studies skills map  and then apply what you have learned to sample social studies lessons.


Part A:

Review the lesson ideas for 8th and 12th grade as included in the following Social Studies Skills Map developed by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills and the National Council for the Social Studies. As you are reviewing the document, be sure to reference the 21st century skill(s) that are being focused on in the lesson (found at the top of each page). Notice how the task sample changes as the grade level increases.

Map: http://www.21stcenturyskills.org/documents/ss_map_11_12_08.pdfstudies .


Part B:

Download the attached document (Sample Social Studies Lessons.pdf )which contains sample social studies lesson ideas.  Reflect on each lesson and determine if 21st century skills are present, if so identify which ones and how using the worksheet attached (Identifying 21st Century Skills in the Context of Social Studies Lesson Plans.pdf - use one worksheet per lesson ). Once you have finished, compare your answers to the answer keys below (one provided for each sample lesson). Review Activities 1 & 2 as necessary.


Sample Lesson Global 9 Answer Key:

Sample Lesson US History 8 Answer Key:

Sample Lesson Holocaust Elective Answer Key:

Sample Lesson US History 11 Answer Key


Activity 4: 21st Century Skills and Technology

Most of our schools today have access to some sort of technology ranging from calculators to computers to SMART Boards.  Integrated into a lesson or unit, technology can be used effectively to teach, practice or encourage the use of 21st century skills.


Read the research study on the website linked below. Focus on the "Student Skills and ICT Literacy: Meeting the 21st Century Challenge" and "Different Types of Technology and their Applications" sections. In addition, you may find additional resources to explore at the end of the research project.




Activity 5: Unit Reflection

Now that you have deepened your knowledge on 21st century skills and the connection between 21st century skills and technology, think about them as they relate to your teaching.


1. How are you currently teaching/practicing 21st century skills in your curricula? If you are not currently teaching/practicing 21st century skills, why not? 


2. What technology do you have available in your school? How effectively do you use the technology? 


Units 3 and 4 will introduce you to two technologies that can be used to teach, practice, and encourage the use of 21st century skills that you have learned in this unit.


Unit 3: Using GoogleEarth to teach and practice 21st Century Skills 

Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.