I recently had the amazing opportunity to travel to Singapore to visit schools and assist with the 2008 Apple Distinguished Educator Asia Institute. A more comprehensive blog post about my experiences will follow one day (I'm still mulling over everything I experienced), but I was really struck by the attitudes of the people I encountered. It seemed to me, from my conversations with administrators and teachers from Singaporean and international schools, that many agreed with the basic idea that students and teachers today are require to employ a different mindset and set of abilities in this changing world. There was no ongoing debate; it was accepted that education had to change in light of this, and that this change happened through collaboration and exploration of global best practices.
In my opinion, U.S educators need to stop arguing semantics on this topic and need to get down to the business of educating our peers about teaching and learning in the 21st century. Here we are, nearly 10 years into this new millennium, poised to start making meaningful, substantive change happen. Let's get on with it, people! We've got hard work to do!
That said, I'm off my soapbox and I recommend the following resources for investigating the idea of 21st Century Skills:
1) The Global Achievement Gap by Tony Wagner (Tony's website: http://schoolchange.org)
2) The Partnership for 21st Century Skills
3) 21st Century Literacies: Tools for Reading the World
4) 21st Century Learning
5) The Emergent 21st Century Teacher, Mark Treadwell
6) The Metiri Group: What's So Different About the 21st Century?
Feel free to offer any other recommendations in the comments here!