Here some short explainations that may help explain 21st Century Skills and their importance.

21st Century Skills - Teaming and Collaboration
Teaming and collaboration means cooperative interaction between two or more individuals working together to solve problems, create novel products, or learn and master content

Students Who Are Adept at Teaming and Collaboration:
Personally
Ø Are willing and able to take on different roles and tasks within the group to accomplish shared ends
Ø Are open and honest with ideas, concerns, and values
Ø Are leaders as well as followers
Ø Apply collaborative skills to a variety of situations
Ø Reflect on group interactions after collaborative activities; use experiences to make future collaboration more productive
Interpersonally
Ø Commit to a shared goal and accept responsibility for group work toward that goal.
Ø Work to match tasks to team member abilities, expanding team membership when necessary.
Ø Share personal understandings and resources with other group members.
Ø Listen respectfully and objectively; offer constructive feedback.
Ø Iteratively design and redesign solutions through honest debate, disagreement, discussion, research, and development.

Why collaborate and team?
Cooperative interaction is essential for survival in today's fast-paced, complex world

Increasing levels of complexity require expertise in highly specialized fields. Time itself has become a commodity, and the net result is a flattening of organizational structures—the transfer of high-stakes decision making from high-level executives into the hands of workers on the front lines.
The adage "the whole is greater than the sum of the parts" has never been more true than when applied to a highly functional team operating within the complexity of today's world—whether in the fields of education, medicine, transportation, finance, politics, or any other. Despite the high stakes, teaming and collaboration are not well understood—in the classroom or in the boardroom. Simply tasking people to work together does not constitute teaming and may not result in collaboration.
Highly effective teams have four key elements:
1. a compelling, shared goal or goals;
2. team members with unique competencies that will contribute to successful outcomes;
3. members that operate within a formal structure, with defined roles that facilitate collective/collaborative work; and
4. mutual respect, tolerance, and trust (Schrage, 1989).
Successful collaboration and teaming begins with collective energy and a shared drive among team members to accomplish a shared goal (Schrage, 1989). To help ensure a team's success, organizations— including schools—must pose problems that inspire collaboration and teaming and then create the workplace or classroom norms that both facilitate and reward such work.



21st Century Skills - Teaming and Collaboration
Teams Have Many Advantages

As Maeroff (1993) notes, experts who advocate the use of teams make the following assumptions:
Ø Those closest to the work know best how to perform and improve their jobs.
Ø Most employees want to feel that they "own" their jobs and are making meaningful contributions to the effectiveness of their organizations.
Ø Teams provide possibilities for empowerment that are not available to individual employees. (p. 514)

Below are additional advantages to working in teams:
Ø Teams tend to be more successful in implementing complex plans.
Ø Teams develop more creative solutions to difficult problems.
Ø Teams build commitment and support for new ideas among staff and community members.
Ø Teams become part of the learning process of professionals in schools.
www.info@ncrel.org
Copyright © North Central Regional Educational Laboratory. All rights reserved.


21st Century Skills – Leadership
So you want to be a leader: Observations from the upstream oil & gas industry
Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Halliburton, Robert Heinemann, outlines conduct, business decisions and transactions based on a foundation of leadership and ethics.
www.researchchannel.org

1. Leaders have strong values that do not change over time.
Ø Communicate (written & spoken)
Ø Ethical Behavior
Ø Respect for all people
Ø Team work
Ø Accountable
Ø Partnership
Ø Personal Drive
2. Leaders earn the opportunity… by performing at a high level
3. Leaders have passion… about what is really important
4. Leaders are competitors… and they thrive on it
5. Leaders drive change… in the face of opposition
6. Leaders must make the hard decisions…and the choice is not always clear.
7. Leaders measure the right things… because it drives the right behavior.
8. Leaders know it’s all about the people… and this is the good part
9. Leaders struggle… to find the right balance in their life
What do leaders do?
Ø Have unchanging core values
Ø Earn the opportunity to lead
Ø Have passion about the right things
Ø Thrive on competition
Ø Drive Change
Ø Make hard decisions
Ø Measure the right things
Ø Know that people make the difference
Ø Balance their family life and career


21st Century Skills – Social & Civic Responsibility
Here are 2 ponderings that we were given to think about and respond to, I am including them for something to think about.
Original post:
I think that most young people do not understand consequences in general. Many do not have good home situations with reliable adults in their lives so they need to learn skills in school. We need to help our young people understand that the decisions they make daily affect everyone and everything around them; both big and small.

Original post:
The one time view that parents and guardians were solely responsible for teaching social skills to their children is no longer the case. The necessity of educators teaching social responsibility (and assuming that role in social and emotional learning, conflict resolution, violence prevention, and group relations) has become essential to that core practice in education so that students develop the convictions and skills needed to shape a safe, sustainable, democratic, and just world.
“Interestingly enough, our district recently revised its "anti-bullying" policy and during the last in-service day faculty meeting, the principal made the statement that we must all completely read this policy as the statements and policy within held true for not only the students in the district but the faculty and staff as well. At the time that he made the statement, I initially thought it was an odd statement until I read the policy over again keeping in mind that it was meant for me as well as the students. Reading it again, in that light, cast a completely different perspective on its contents and served as a reminder that again, we as educators must model the behavior that we hold our students accountable for.”



21ST CENTURY - Life Skills
The elements described in this section as “21st century student outcomes” are the skills, knowledge and expertise students should master to succeed in work and life in the 21st century.
1. Core Subjects and 21st Century Themes
2. Learning and Innovation Skills
a. Creativity and Innovation Skills
b. Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Skills
c. Communication and Collaboration Skills
3. Information, Media and Technology Skills
a. Information Literacy
b. Media Literacy
c. ICT Literacy
4. Life and Career Skills
a. Flexibility & Adaptability
b. Initiative & Self-Direction
c. Social & Cross-Cultural Skills
d. Productivity & Accountability
e. Leadership & Responsibility
Here are three questions that we were given to ponder and discuss.
1. How aware are you currently of life skills as they pertain to 21st Century Skills and the classroom?
2. How are you using or teaching life skills in the classroom now?
3. How would you like to use or teach life skills in your classroom after completing this course?


21st Century – Critical Thinking
Imagitronics Mind-stretching Scenarios
Amusement park rides seem to be getting bigger, faster, and more exciting. There are ways to make them even more exciting without making them more dangerous? Rides become more exciting when the unexpected happens. For example, you think you are heading for a bend to the right but you suddenly fall. Turn the lights out and the ride is full of unknowns. These are kinds of thrills that people are seeking. Some people are just looking for fast or high. Others want to test how extreme they can go.
(Create a new ride- can you create a new ride that is unexpected without getting more dangerous?)

Creative Architecture – create a new kind of town in an unexpected environment. Explain how they would handle food resources, water, sanitation, businesses, homes, schools, etc.
(I did mine on The Tree Houses of Gwilf- life in the trees)

Mind-stretching Scenarios are really great and get minds working on creative problem solving. Some other mind-stretching scenarios are:
Ø Create a new peculiar sport, give a description of the game, the rules, the playing field, uniforms, number of team players.
Ø Create a new musical instrument, draw what it looks like, describe how it is played, what does the notation look like, etc.
Ø Create your own mind stretching scenario - Only your imagination can hold you back.