Skills for the 21st Century

Cognitive and Literacy Skills for Success in a Fast-Paced Technological Age

Archive for March, 2010

Shift Happens – Revisited

Posted by durencls on March 31, 2010

At the very end of the Shift happens video, there is a web site address –

So I went exploring there – and I found:

◊  Two additional versions of the video – one mostly like the 2007 version with kickier music & graphics (version 3.0 from Sony BMG Music Entertainment) and one with a strong focus on digital media and social networking (version 4.0 advertising a digital media conference). Interestingly, I felt that neither of these really spoke to education as well as the 2007 version.  Sort of like the focus was ONLY on change – not so much on what to do about it.

◊   A list of ideas for what to do with the video – how to inspire others, use it for instructional purposes, etc.

◊   A list of other videos to “further the conversation.” (I’m still working my way through these – some I know we’ve seen before.)

◊   A discussion of the video and how folks have used it. (Reading these is on my to do list…man, keeping up with a community of practitioners can be hard!)

◊   And way down on the bottom, a link to a blog post named “Shift happens – Now What?”  And in that post they have the folowing quote:

“Too often, the initial response [to Shift Happens] is to look for money to buy more computers. Some educational leaders may say “Let’s make sure we have laptops in the hands of EVERY student!… SmartBoards in EVERY classroom!” While it is nice to have administrative support for new technology purchases, a “technology purchasing frenzy” is simply NOT the correct response to the realization that our schools are not doing enough to prepare students for their futures. This is really about changing adult perspectives and adult behaviors to create student-centered classrooms that exemplify research-based best practices around learning. It’s not about buying the latest, greatest, and most expensive tech toys on the market. Expensive tech in the hands of educators who haven’t made changes to their behaviors and instructional practice are no better than the good old chalk board, pencil, and paper. Even worse, expensive tech that the teachers see no use for will end up just collecting dust in a storage room. [Emphasis added]

Which confirms our assumption  “Planning for Technology” really means ‘making a paradigm shift’ – which is about training and professional development – not necessarily about investing in new/cool tech. 

How do we create pradigm shift in adult education? Ideas?  Our first suggestion is to read the entire “”Shift happens – Now What?”” post – within the post the author has some (strong) opinions about how educational organizations and educators need to change to make this paradigm shift. And at the end they have a list of suggested other blog posts with ideas for creating 21st Century learning environments.


Posted in Changing the AE field, Pace of Change, Teaching Ideas | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Nothing’s Untouched

Posted by wrmcnutt on March 29, 2010

This weekend I went to see a friend of mine in a community theater production of “Peter Pan.” “Peter Pan”is an old story, originally published in 1904, and updated to a musical in 1954, most people have been exposed to it, either in childhood or as the parent of children.  And while it remains true the the author would easily recognize his play produced today, I think he would have been taken somewhat aback at appearance of Tinkerbell.

Back at the turn of the twentieth century, Tinkerbell was “played” by a stagehand holding a round mirror, reflecting the light from a powerful kerosene lantern.  In my own childhood, Tink was portrayed by a focused flashlight or a leco. This weekend I got a little shock when Peter flew into the Darling’s nursery accompanied by  . . .

. . . an emerald green laser pointer.  Later, when Tinkerbell is poisoned, the laser pointer turned red, and faded.

When I saw the show, I couldn’t help but think of how technological change touches all the parts of our lives, no matter how small and out-of-the way.  Can ya’ll share with us in the comments, other areas where technological change has caught you by surprise?

Posted in Pace of Change | Leave a Comment »

Rise of the Machines – at the Gas Pump

Posted by durencls on March 26, 2010

During our session we quoted economist Stuart Elliott (National Research Council) as stating:

“Given the progress of computer abilities over the past 50 years, it is reasonable to expect that computers will surpass human workers in effectively all occupational skill areas during the course of the 21st century.” Projecting the Impact of Computers on Work in 2030 (2007)

This is the dreaded “computers will take over all jobs” prediction of many science fiction stories and films, and is easy to dismiss.  Yet we have for you today, a very current illustration of this issue:

On the way back to MS from the New Orleans airport (returning from COABE to our exotic vacation hot spot in Lumberton MS), at about 11pm in the middle of no-where on I-10 in Louisiana, Bill and I stopped at a Shell station for gas and hopefully food (we, and the van, were all on EMPTY). When we pulled in, our hopes for food were dashed, as the mini-mart looked vacant, and was indeed closed.

Bill, however, had no problem at the gas pump. The technology of “pay-at the pump” had enabled this station to extend services overnight – when it is not profitable to keep a human attendant on duty. Interestingly, we realized that if there wasn’t a mini-mart, there wouldn’t need to be a human at all – or one perhaps just to service the pumps – say once or twice a day. Plus of course, the truck to refill the pumps when they became low – and indicator that could be transmitted electronically.

Standing in a pool of light at midnight, with no signs of civilization for miles (other than the cars occasionally zooming by on the interstate), having our refueling needs met by machine alone, it was easy to imagine technology slowly replacing the human employee.



Posted in Futurism, Technology in the Workplace | 2 Comments »

Futurism – Shift Happens

Posted by durencls on March 25, 2010

The web is a fascinating place – connections and ideas linked in an almost infinite variety. Take yesterday – I was composing the post on the AALPD digital literacy discussion and chanced upon a note about the new AALPD Communities of Practice Wiki – which was new to me. Rooting around in there I found this great YouTube video from 2006/7:  

 Shift Happens

Now while this was created in 2006 for a High School staff of 150, and was updated in 2007, it certainly still speaks to the issue of preparing learners (child, youth or adult) for the 21st century workplace.  I was, in particular, struck by two statements made. The first I’ve paraphrased:

In 2007, the amount of technical information was estimated to be doubling every 2 YEARS. It was predicted THEN that in 2010 it will be doubling every 72 HOURS. 

Wow – that is NOW. What will it be in another 2 years? How can I/we/the planet ever keep up?

The second statement is verbatim below:

“We are currently preparing students for jobs and technologies that don’t yet exist…in order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet.”

Talk about underscoring our point!  Flexibility and the ability to not only learn quickly, but problem solve and “wing it” just seems to be an absolute MUST!

Also, these two points really speak to the idea that as a population, we will simply HAVE to rely on each other as a community for information. Web 2.0 indeed.


Posted in Futurism, Job Skills, Pace of Change | 2 Comments »

AALPD Discussion on Digital Literacy in AE

Posted by durencls on March 24, 2010

During our COABE session , we mentioned that AALPD discussion list recently lit up about the topic of digital literacy.  David Rosen had the instigating post  – you can view it here:  The Need for Digital Literacy in Adult Literacy Education .

David notes that  “74% of American adults, ages 18 and older, now use the internet as of December 2009.” (Pew research) and yet that “Many adult education teachers either do not have regular daily access to a computer and the Internet,…” (no citation)

He goes on to present a great list of “what things you can do” to improve Digital Literacy and focus on technology in the field of adult education – as a teacher, program administrator, state level administrator or AE funder.

You can also see most posts for this thread in the Archives by searching for “need for digital literacy” (results in roughly reverse date order, with some miscellaneous mixed in). Feel free to join in on their conversation (or pick it up in the comments here!)


Posted in Changing the AE field, Job Skills | 1 Comment »

EFF Skills Wheel

Posted by durencls on March 23, 2010

In our presentation (near the end) we referenced and handed out the “EFF Skills Wheel” – mentioning that many of the “21st Century skills” we had brainstormed during the session appeared on that wheel.  Here’s a link to an interactive version of the wheel shown below, including teaching ideas for each standard.

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COABE Session Resource Handout with Hotlinks Posted

Posted by wrmcnutt on March 22, 2010

Duren and I are safely back both from COABE and from our vacations.  We hope you all had a fun and productive time at COABE yourselves!

Like you, we are both busily catching up on the professional obligations that cropped up since we last met, but we want to be sure to get you-all the items we promised at the presentation in Chicago.  We have published our presentation resource handout on our Center’s web site.  We’ve also listed it in the Links to the right. We hope to have our slide set with notes online shortly.

Bill and Duren

Posted in Meta-Skills, Teaching Ideas | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Welcome to Skills for the 21st Century Workplace

Posted by wrmcnutt on March 9, 2010

COABE is still going on, so if you’re here already, you’re a little ahead of the game. We should have our handout and our notes available within a few days, and hope you will return and participate in the discussions to come.

Duren and Bill

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