21st Century Fluencies - What We Should Be Teaching Our Students


I've been reading Living on the Future Edge: The Impact of Global Exponential Trends on Education in the 21st Century by Ian Jukes. It 's a fascinating look at technology and its current and future effect on education. Jukes carefully examines the exponential growth of technology, our current state of affairs in education, and where we need to focus efforts to prepare our students for their future.


Jukes bluntly points out that our current educational institutions are based on an industrial society and on outdated paradigms. After illustrating the rapid growth of technology, Jukes clearly states the case for change in how we teach. In my favorite passage from the book (thus far), Jukes states that "we need to prepare our students for their future not our past." (Jukes, Kindle Location 2385) 


In his chapter on "New Skills for a New World", Jukes outlines the skills today's youth will need to succeed in their future - they are the skills he calls "The 21st Century Fluencies." They are:
  • Solution Fluency - creative problem-solving skills
  • Information Fluency - being able to access and evaluate information from a variety of sources
  • Collaboration Fluency - the ability to work with others both physically and virtually
  • Creativity Fluency - visual creative skills and imagination, and
  • Media Fluency - the ability to create digital products and analyze others' digital messages
Surprisingly, technology is not mentioned in the  list of fluencies. But Jukes offers this excellent explanation of its absence:
"Many people think 21st-century fluencies are about technology, but they are not. This is because technology has become ubiquitous. It’s everywhere, and the digital generation assimilates it as fast as manufacturers can produce it. Give any of them a new digital gadget and they will figure out how it works before you can finish reading the safety precautions in the manual. Technology isn’t the problem anymore, so the 21st-century fluencies are not about technology, but what to do with it." (Jukes, Kindle Location 2438)
So, how are you doing addressing these needs for your students? And, how is your own 21st century fluency?

Jukes, Ian, Ted D. E. McCain, and Lee Crockett. Living on the Future Edge: Windows on Tomorrow. Kelowna, BC: 21st Century Fluency Project, 2010.

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