YOUR Classroom for the Future
Chris Champion
Mike Baker

What are 21st Century Skills? How can you meet your school's curriculum goals
and also give your students skills they'll need for the future?



Core Subjects and 21st Century Themes

Mastery of core subjects and 21st century themes is essential for students in the 21st century. Core subjects include English, reading or language arts, world languages, arts, mathematics, economics, science, geography, history, government and civics. We believe schools must move beyond a focus on basic competency in core subjects to promoting understanding of academic content at much higher levels by weaving 21st century interdisciplinary themes into core subjects:
  • Global Awareness
  • Financial, Economic, Business and Entrepreneurial Literacy
  • Civic Literacy
  • Health Literacy

Lesson Ideas

  • Videoconferencing
  • Virtual Field Trips
  • Service Learning - cradles to crayons, OLPC, lemonade stand
  • ePals
  • Research on cultures
  • Multiple types of presentation
  • Support and Instruction on the technology (we need to know how to use it)
  • Auctions and Student Stores
  • Create Your Own Business
  • Government Education
  • School Elections
  • Search for Famous Speeches
  • Give Photos a voice with Blabberize and VoiceThread
  • Create your own Fitness video
  • Research health habits of other countries


Learning and Innovation Skills

Learning and innovation skills are what separate students who are prepared for increasinglycomplex life and work environments in the 21st century and those who are not. They include:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
  • Communication and Collaboration

Lesson Ideas

  • Mini movie trailer on conflict
  • Celebrity Interview Podcasts
  • Travel Brochures with multimedia resources
  • Self-directed project on a theme from literature
  • Physics project - build a product
  • Business Plan and a commercial / website to sell a product or service


Information, Media and Technology Skills

People in the 21st century live in a technology and media-driven environment, marked by access to an abundance of information, rapid changes in technology tools and the ability to collaborate and make individual contributions on an unprecedented scale. To be effective in the 21st century, citizens and workers must be able to exhibit a range of functional and critical thinking skills, such as:
  • Information Literacy
  • Media Literacy
  • ICT (Information, Communications and Technology) Literacy

Lesson Ideas

  • PhET
  • WISE
  • Google Earth to teach/learn triangulation
  • Creating and Editing commercials for content
  • Gabcast to have kids respond to answers
  • Timeliner / VIYGO (online timelines)
  • Create online books through MixBook, or create portfolio book for project, etc
  • Ustream their projects/skits for review and display
  • Create a wiki


Life and Career Skills

Today’s life and work environments require far more than thinking skills and content knowledge. The ability to navigate the complex life and work environments in the globally competitive information age requires students to pay rigorous attention to developing adequate life and career skills, such as:
  • Flexibility and Adaptability
  • Initiative and Self-Direction
  • Social and Cross-Cultural Skills
  • Productivity and Accountability
  • Leadership and Responsibility

Lesson Ideas

Life and Career Skills
  • Cyber safety lessons
  • assigning roles
  • proper netiquette
  • proper use
  • keeping parents informed
Flexibility and Adaptability
  • Use of Web Quests
  • sharing jobs Working on global collaboration projects
  • time constraints
  • staying on task
  • Working cooperatively within various groups
  • Webkins
  • Virtual tours
  • Video conferencing
  • Webinars
Initiative and Self-Direction
  • Choices of projects
  • choosing presentation method to share knowledge
  • Use of Web Quests
  • Cafe Press - design your own project and sell it
Social and Cross-Cultural Skills
  • Celebrations for various events (Cinco de Mayo, Xmas...)
  • using collaboration with students from other countries
  • Working on global collaboration projects via email (epals ) or skype
  • Virtual tours
  • Twitter
Productivity and Accountability Leadership and Responsibility
  • Self reflection on group/ self assignments
  • recognizing others' strengths and differences
  • building strengths and working creatively/ positively
  • Sharing Responsibility
  • Voice threads
  • working together
  • Glogster
  • Powerpoint
  • Photostory
  • Wikis and google docs
  • Blogging
  • Using Excel for math related items and graphing
  • Celebrations for various events (Cinco de Mayo, Xmas...)
  • using collaboration with students from other countries
  • Working on global collaboration projects via email or skype
  • Maintaining organization of documents and projects
  • Virtual tours
  • Simulations
  • Videoconferencing webinars

More Information:

Kristin Hokanson's 21st Century Classroom wiki page