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21st Century Skills - A Reply to Bud Hunt

This morning, on Twitter:

budtheteacherTalking to some online educators today about online learning and 21st Century skills. What should I be sure to tell them?
My extended tweet reply:

Tell them there'll be a day when we can surface data from the Internet pile in a timely and meaningful way. For the time being, we play with tools available and their possibilities. We should expect them to change.

As a consequence, there are no must-have tools. No definite lists.

We do not look at so many tools because we are geeky, but because they show us possibilities we hadn't thought about. And perhaps we should.

Tell them the tools were created neither to aid nor hinder good teaching.

Tools do not make the world more or less human than what it is. It's up to the user. Always.

We can do old things in the old way. We can do old things in new ways. Down this path, we'll just do better or faster. We'll complain when the machine doesn't match our teaching purposes. Stumbling blocks on the road.


We can be bold enough to try doing new things in new ways. The less travelled by road has a drawback, a certainty we do not know where exactly it will take us. What will success look like in your classroom? You will find that whenever a tool seems to be working fluently, the results you get are things we could not do before.

Teacher and students alike feel the motivation level soars.

Right after that, there arises a problem. A pointer or a sign that you, as a teacher, cannot go on doing things in the same way.

So that is when the present (early 21st century) social learning scenario eats up your traditional teaching role, leaving you face to face with the need to re-define what, when and how we teach. Some task.

If you are a passionate teacher, you'll certainly feel more engaged than threatened by the task. We strive at being more precise about the skills we are using to learn in an interconnected way.

It is not easy to put this in words.

The phrase 21st century skills is probably an umbrella term. A sticky name that entails many more things we are simply discovering and wondering about. A handy tag for a conversation worth having.

On a side note
What triggered me to answer this question?
I like the idea of talking by proxy. Writing for two audiences at once: the bloggers I know will nod when they read and the unknown audience of online educators. I assumed Bud has an audience who is online, but not necessarily blogging or twittering. I may be completely wrong. Anyway, if I succeed in expressing myself, this post should perhaps get meaning accross both.

From time to time, I find it useful to re-write about those learning discoveries we've made and hardly question anymore. This post says nothing new to many. Yet it took longer to write than I had thought.

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