in a broader sense, however, the idea of what learning in the 21st century should look like is open to interpretation—and controversy. the research, to date, has provided no evidence that having either computers or whiteboards in schools has any positive effect on students’ reading and writing proficiencies. instead, the 21st-century learning paradigm offers an opportunity to synergize the margins of the content vs. skills debate and bring it into a framework that dispels these dichotomies. in this setting, educators can leverage technology to create an engaging and personalized environment to meet the emerging educational needs of this generation.
twenty-first-century learning will ultimately be “learner-driven.” our old stories of education (factory-model, top-down, compliance-driven) are breaking down or broken, and this is because the internet is releasing intellectual energy that comes from our latent desires as human beings to have a voice, to create, and to participate. students still need to know and deeply understand the history that brought them and our nation to where we are today. we need to move past mile-wide and inch-deep coverage of ever-expanding content in the classroom. it’s time to let go of polarizing debates, consider the evidence, and get to work.
this is part of a growing international movement focusing on the skills required for students to master in preparation for success in a rapidly changing, digital society. the skills have been grouped into three main areas: many of these skills are also identified as key qualities of progressive education, a pedagogical movement that began in the late nineteenth century and continues in various forms to the present.  they argue that the success of the u.s. economy will rely on the nation’s ability to give students the “foundational skills in problem-solving and communications that computers don’t have.
skills identified for success in the areas of literacy and mathematics: following the release of a nation at risk, the u.s. secretary of labor appointed the secretary’s commission on achieving necessary skills (scans) to determine the skills needed for young people to succeed in the workplace to foster a high-performance economy.  in 2015, the world economic forum published a report titled ‘new vision for education: unlocking the potential of technology’  that focused on the pressing issue of the 21st-century skills gap and ways to address it through technology. multiple agencies and organizations have issued guides and recommendation for implementation of 21st century skills in a variety of learning environments and learning spaces.
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