Talk on 21st century skills given at LABCI conference in Lima 11/07.
Essential skills for 21st century learners
Rapid technological change, shifting job markets and the
increasingly connected nature of society all mean that, in this
century, young people will need new skills to become active
global citizens. In this session we will look at such “21st century
skills”: lifelong learning strategies; information processing and
critical thinking; global awareness; intercultural and interactive
communicative competence; digital literacies.
2013 LABCI CONFERENCE
Which of these skills is the most useful and which is the
least important for 21st century citizens?
a) learn on your own using the technology available.
b) cooperate with people from other cultures.
c) remember a lot of facts.
d) understand global issues.
e) use digital media to communicate.
f) deal with information effectively and critically.
* We voted on this and the following results came out:
Most useful skills (in this order): f) d) b) a) e)
Least useful skill: c) (unanimous vote)
None of the participants had learnt any of the useful skills when at school.
All of us had learnt lots of facts.
Paradigm shifts in western education:
· Middle ages (up to 1500): ecclesiastical/theocratic
(handwritten manuscripts- priests)
· Renaisance (1500-1850): classical/discursive/text-based
(printing press/books- merchant classes)
· Industrial revolution (1850-2000): modern curriculum:
science/geography/history etc. (cheaper books/mass literacy)
· Knowledge-based (2000-): 21st century skills
* In my opinion, we are in the middle of a paradigm shift right now.
21st century skills
· Information handling +
· Self-directed learning
· Global awareness
· Intercultural competence
· Cooperation + digital
CC Marco Arment
1- Is an argument being given?
2- What is it?
3- Should I be persuaded by it?
TRACY BOWELL AND GARY KEMP (2005)
How well can your learners process the information
they get from the Net?
Arthur.C.Clarke: “Getting information from the
Internet is like getting a glass of water from Niagara
1. Look at the photo of Aung San Suu Kyi
and read the profile of her. Which three
facts do you think might not be true
2. Choose three of the websites to check the information in Exercise 1.
CHOICES UPPER INTERMEDIATE
* Checking information online. Cross-checking = a key information processing skill
1 What do you know about the Sun?
2 Write two questions about the Sun.
3 Listen and see which questions you can answer.
* Simple technique for listening/watching/reading:
No need for teacher to produce a task. This is a real-life processing activity.
· It is easier to search using the English version of Google. Look
for Google.com in English at the bottom of each Google
· When you want to find basic information about a person using
Google, put their name in quotation marks and add other
“Nelson Mandela” + very short/brief biography or “Nelson
Mandela” + quick facts/ information
* See Google tips for more ideas.
Other useful search engines:
Dogpile / duckduckgo / Yippy / Flickr (photos)
* The importance of note-taking for reading/listening/watching + for preparation for
speaking and writing.
The use of mind maps/concept maps.
Getting students to show you and their partners their notes. Notes as a final
product and not just a transitional stage.
A great concept map of this talk by Marlies Van Eunen-de Boer (CC)
When evaluating websites in English
to get information, think about:
· The level of language. Websites
for young people or simplified
websites can have more accessible
language (e.g. simple Wikipedia).
Pictures and photos can also help.
· The amount of information.
Depending on the kind and amount
of information you need you should
use different types of websites (e.g.
for basic information = simple
· The organisation of the websites.
Is it easy to find the contents? Are
there summaries of information? Is
there a search facility (usually at the
top right-hand side of the page)?
· Reliability. Is the information up to
date? Is it from a reliable source
(e.g. a well-known encyclopaedia or
Does it give further reference or
3. Evaluate the three websites you
used. Which of the websites:
· was the easiest to understand?
· had the best information?
· was best organised?
· looked the most reliable?
CHOICES UPPER INTERMEDIATE
* The use of critical thinking to evaluate
websites for reliability.
Welcome to the web site for the
Dihydrogen Monoxide Research Division
(DMRD), currently located in Newark,
Delaware. The controversy surrounding
dihydrogen monoxide has never been
more widely debated, and the goal of this
site is to provide an unbiased data
clearinghouse and a forum for public
Dihydrogen Monoxide FAQ
Enviro Impact of DHMO
DHMO and Cancer
Editorial: Truth about DHMO
Evaluate the reliability of this website. What’s wrong with it?
CHOICES UPPER INTERMEDIATE
A useful technique for critical thinking and for evaluating
arguments (written texts/audio/video/multimedia).
Much easier with digital technology than ever before.
- Building up your own personal learning environment
of digital/online tools and links.
- Working on your own and getting immediate feedback
in virtual learning environments like My English Lab.
Communication with your teacher + your activities
being monitored automatically.
Personal learning environment
1 prioritise your bookmarks
2 google expressions/structures to check them
3 use online dictionaries to check
4 use google images as a picture dictionary
5 use spell and grammar check features in Word
6 ask for help/advice on the class forum / VLE
War + terrorism
Global awareness: we live on an interconnected planet – our actions have
consequences that we may not know about.
* Using photos as a way in to key global issues like child labour and modern-day
slavery which is often used to manufacture modern consumer products (e.g. clothes
* Use of graphs and videos for developing global awareness.
CHOICES UPPER INTERMEDIATE
Feel free to use this material, comment on it and send me your own. It‟s open-
source and uncensored, so we can look at topics here that are not covered in ELT
coursebooks like gay rights, religion, society and politics.
Group project work:
Working together to create something (e.g. a poster/ a presentation / a
performance / an artefact.)
The use of digital tools to do this like wikis or other collaborative, open
The use of online educational networks like Glogster (multimedia projects).
What tasks are involved
in this online project?
Example: find good
A great website for multi-
1 How well did you work together as a group?
A-very well B-quite well C-not very well
2 Complete the work report below:
3. Assess the participation of the others:
A-very good B-quite good C- not very good
TASKS SUSANA QUIQUE JUAN ANA
find good websites
make notes / find recordings +
design / writing / recording:
video/audio / solving technical
upload / share class presentation
+ follow-up questions / reacting to
* Tasks in red = digital literacies.
MAP OF TALK
Lifelong learning skills
MAIN ARGUMENT: 21st century citizens will need to acquire
a new set of skills
digital knowledge economy
Reason: Rapid technological,
social + economic change
shifting job market
Cooperation + digital
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