Friday, May 27, 2011

Partnership for 21st Century Skills website

At first glance the site for Partnership for 21st century skills ( was overwhelming.  The site hold approximately 162 videos that range from short public service announcement type spots that proclaim the importance of the sites mission to snippets of key note speakers, panel discussions, and teachers.  There are a multitude of links that lead you to articles regarding the need for these skills along with skills maps and readiness guides.  There are also pages that refer you to professional development opportunities. 

A person needs more than a week to thoroughly investigate all the facets of this site.  What I found to be most useful was the resource 21st Century Skills Arts Map found on the Publications page (

The map dedicates a page to each 21st century skill (critical thinking and problem solving, communication,  creativity and innovation, collaborative, information and media literacy skills, and contextual learning skills).  Within that page there is a definition of the skill, an interdisciplinary theme, and samples of student outcomes.  The pages are divided into grade levels of 4th, 8th, and 12th to show a progression.  Each outcome is labeled to identify which art discipline the example covers, visual art, music, theater, or dance.

This publication is easily downloaded as a PDF file.  It goes a long way to providing excellent examples of how to integrate these skill sets into the art content.  To my surprise, not all of the examples were necessarily technology based.  Some involved collaboration and communication away from that resource.  This was reassuring as my access to technology is slight given my placement.  I do what I can to horn in on the computer lab schedule as my room only has one computer (mine).  This document gives me somewhere to start.  My only disappointment for this document was that they did not provide an example for each discipline for every skill.  I suppose the critical thinking and problem-solving portion of my 21st century skills will have to come to the forefront for those areas.

All in all, this site is easy to navigate and jam packed with information.  I will continue to explore and save those documents and videos that best fit my current situation and use them as a springboard for my own professional development. 


  1. When first looking over this site, I was also very intimidated by the amount of information that was at my disposal. I agree that in order to fully appreciate all that this website has to offer, one would need a good deal of time to explore and take it all in.
    I have a difficult time accessing technological resources as well as they recently took away our one student computer (one in each classroom). It is frustrating because I would love to be able to implement things to the fullest but find myself struggling to fight for a spot in the computer lab like my colleagues. It is nice that you are able to meet the demands of the 21st century skills while not adding anymore stress to the day-to-day challenges we all face as teachers.

  2. Mary,

    Yes, the website was overwhelming. However it does have a lot of good information and support for teachers on how to teach the 21st century literacies to our students. In addition, the website provides a good amount of professional development for teachers. That's one aspect that always seems to be missing, but this website provides us educators. Overall I think the website is very beneficial.


  3. Hi Mary,
    I am glad you found the resources helpful. I think you raise a great point--while technology can be a vital tool in supporting the development of higher order thinking and problem solving skills, it isn't necessarily imperative to develop these skills. I find that the way we question-and how we encourage our students to question--to work together to solve a problem--can set the stage for the development of creativity and problem solving. My experience has been that students don't always have enough experience making decisions--seeing the ramifications of an action--noting cause and effect. While technology is invaluable for providing these opportunities, I find that even in its absence, students can get practice with these strategies and skills.

    I enjoyed your posting.