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21st Century Skills: Learning for Life in Our Times

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  419 ratings  ·  43 reviews
The new building blocks for learning in a complex world

This important resource introduces a framework for 21st Century learning that maps out the skills needed to survive and thrive in a complex and connected world. 21st Century content includes the basic core subjects of reading, writing, and arithmetic-but also emphasizes global awareness, financial/economic literacy, an

Hardcover, 240 pages
Published October 5th 2009 by Jossey-Bass
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Jun 09, 2011 rated it liked it
This book details (with some redundancy)skills schools should be helping children develop in order to become successful adults. Schools need to move beyond traditional school skills (reading, writing, math)and focus on helping students develop critical thinking and problem solving skills. Students will need to work collaboratively, and be innovative, flexible, and self directed. They will also need well developed technology and digital literacy skills. The authors painstakingly outline how schoo ...more
Too much information on how we *should* be teaching 21st century skills, but not enough information on how we can *actually) teach them.
Eric Kalenze
I usually don't record any thoughts here, but can't resist.

Though this book is dressed up as a work to help American Education, it's basically a heap of junk thought justifying why American schools must design themselves to become more tech-driven. Worse, it's brought to you by--you guessed it--very ed-concerned and -expert employees of Cisco and Oracle, a couple of the world's largest technology companies.

As long as American Education allows vendors to dictate the conversation according to the
Jun 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Really dig the premise. The book developed a series of skills and attitudes young people need to succeed that differ from those of previous generations. The authors then suggest implementing new ways of teaching to develop those skills along side content mastery.

I liked it a whole bunch because the use of technology was always highlighted as an effective way to develop these new skills. Unlike the other texts I had to read for this grad school, the focus was on recognizing that our students need
Mar 06, 2012 rated it did not like it

I read along with a group of teachers in an Internet blogging book club. It was a dry commentary on the technological skills that students need in the 21st century. Why I don't disagree with the basic outline the author diagrammed out, I think it also discounted intrinsic motivation, home expectations, and discipline.
Nov 28, 2010 rated it liked it
This book was ok. It provided some great insight into what needs to be changed in education today to better prepare our students for today and tomorrow. I liked it, but the other book I read on 21st century education for this course was much better.
Kevin Hall
Jan 07, 2014 rated it did not like it
There is an important message at the root of this book, but the redundancy and dryness buries it. This book would make a better 2 page article.
Gordon Eldridge
Ostensibly about 21st century skills, the book is more an attempt to persuade educators of the benefits of project-based learning. This would be fine if there enough depth to the explanations about exactly how project-based learning truly fosters the acquisition of the skills. Both the book and the DVD are far too shallow to achieve this, however. Rather than really dissecting projects to show how they can be used to explicitly teach and assess skills, the book DVD simply give shallow descriptio ...more
Jan 31, 2020 rated it it was ok
Too much of Why and What and not enough How
Feb 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: education
21st Century Skills: Learning for Life in Our Times is a great very accessible articulation of a vision for modern schools. Authors, Trilling and Fadel, co-chairs of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills' Standards, Assessment, and Professional Development committee, articulate a rationale for an expanded curriculum that encompasses what Frank Levy and Richard Murnane named expert thinking and complex communication in The New Division of Labor as well as the habits of mind that are explored by ...more
Apr 19, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-science
The focus on this book is how schools need to change the way 20th century skills and curricula which primarily focused on critical thinking and problem solving, are taught. These skills are still very important and highly sought after by employers but with the overwhelming amount of information and technology, the authors argue that the method of teaching and learning these skills needs to change.

The authors discuss how different learning models - such as "authentic learning" and "internal motiv
Claudia  Fett
Jun 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
When answering four questions: 1) What will the world be like twenty years from now? 2) What skills will your child need in the future you painted? 3) What were the conditions that made your high-performance learning experiences so powerful? 4) What would school be like if it were designed around your answers to questions 1-3?, it is clear that education must look different than it does currently in many of our main stream schools. Building 21st century environments for each child involves chang ...more
Jul 11, 2013 rated it it was ok
I completely believe in the need to teach 21st Century Skills; however, this book didn't really speak to me. It was OK and there was some good information but it didn't really pertain to me and where I am as an educator. I am well on my way to understanding 21st Century Skills and the basics were a little too basic for me. As an early childhood teacher none of the examples applied or were anywhere near anything in the primary grades. I do think a middle school or high school teacher would get mo ...more
Dec 07, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: education
You know that feeling you get when a consultant is invited to speak at your office and he tells you about the problems that you are already aware of and are already working towards fixing? This book feels a lot like that. It flashes catchphrases like "thinking" and "digital" without giving any substantive coverage to the application and implications of the issues being discussed. If you have any involvement with education or human resources, there will be absolutely no new information here for y ...more
Jul 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
I heard co-author Charles Fadel speak (with Sandy Kelly) at MSLA a couple of years ago. He and Bernie Trilling do a good job of identifying some of the flaws in our current educational initiatives and providing insight into what needs to change. I like the way they precisely define "21st century skills" and also describe a model for inquiry, the Project Learning Bicycle, to replace curriculum instruction.
Jul 31, 2010 rated it liked it
If you are looking for an introduction to P21, then this book will suffice. If you are already acquainted with P21 and you want to go the next level, then this book will be a handy guide. I ended up skimming most of the end of the book because most of this was common sense to me. I am very familiar with the standards and I have been in education for almost twenty years. But I do plan on using this book to help me set up the PD plan for the staff of the school where I teach. It has great lists an ...more
Robin Cicchetti
The Knowledge Age is upon us, and U.S.education was too busy trying to fulfill the mandates of No Child Left Behind to notice. Trilling and Fadel do a great job explaining the global and economic changes that have occurred and putting the impact on our children as future workers into context. Our kids need new skills to survive in the new, global economy.
This is a quick read and well worth the time.
Jul 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
We are getting ready to go into curriculum cycle for our Computer Applications classes. I read this book to get some information in current trends in education. The book was informative and some fabulous examples of project based learning, but like every trend in education, implementing is difficult. I have been reading about collaboration and project-based learning, etc. for awhile now. It will take a massive alteration of current school system to implement this type of program in our schools.
Nov 11, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: education
Going by the star system: it was ok.

I didn't think this book really added much to the conversation about what students need to know. The basic skills we want our students to develop haven't changed much at all, it's just the tools that have changed.

Weak writing, lots of fluff, unnecessary figures all hamper the book's argument. Their point was made much more effectively through several articles published on education websites. Read them and save yourself the time.
Jan 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a great overview of the skills our children will need in the 21st century. Our educational systems need to change to meet these needs. There is a great opportunity for industry and education to partner and make this happen. I've seen these skills in action within the insurance industry where carriers, agents and vendors come together to solve industry problems. It's amazing to see this in action and the end result of the collaboration. ...more
Aug 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was a very inspiring book that detailed a strategic overview of the skills necessary to teach in schools so that students can live and work in the future. I was impressed by the resources in the appendix at the end. The one shortcoming, as in many books that provide such optimistic frameworks of education, is the classroom level day-to-day planning necessary to achieve the strategic objectives.
Andrew Rothstein
Mar 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: education
Full disclosure. I know Bernie Trilling and am glad he wrote this book. It is a very good description of what we need to be looking to accomplish in our educational systems. It captures the key areas and takes the conversation beyond the Common Core State Standards. There are also some excellent graphics that illustrate key concepts.

Well done.
Jun 29, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: adult
I read this book as a part of a class I was taking at the same time I served as a rep on a district wide technology design team. It was reassuring to see how well the text complimented the topics being discussed and decisions being made in our district regarding technology and functional spaces especially.
Jun 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: education
The book is a good overview of 21st century skills and a fairly quick read. I was going to give it three stars until I watched the DVD that was included. These examples, especially the first few, were extremely helpful at seeing 21st century skills being used in the classroom.
Jul 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: academic
A good, accessible explanation of the oft used term, "21st Century Skills." It clearly shows us where we were in education, where we are and where we need to be. This should be read by school administrators and the rest of us interested in the best ways to prepare our students for the future. ...more
A great unpacking of what the 21st century learning model is all about. The DVD enclosed was very helpful to me. Very "21st century." I like to see and hear so this was helpful to my learning and reflection regarding the book's main points. ...more
Jul 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
Great for those people who are just beginning to explore the meaning of teaching 21st century skills. It was a quick read that I would recommend to new teachers or teachers that are beginning their journey into the digital world. I enjoyed the four question exercise at the beginning of the book.
Jonathan Cassie
May 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
A lucid introduction to the idea of 21st century skills in the American and global classroom. Accessibly written using good resources. Provocative without being intimidating. A great place to start if you're interested in 21st century skills. ...more
Apr 18, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: education
I'm all about 21st century teaching & learning, so I had hoped this book would be right up my alley. While there is some valuable information in this book, it's very dry, dull, and redundant. If I wasn't reading it for a class, I wouldn't have finished it. ...more
Mar 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
If I had read this book when we started our homeschooling journey I might have done things completely differently. Why are we using educational models from 100 years ago in today's digital and information age? This will definitely shape our homeschool plans for next year. ...more
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