Museums, Libraries, and 21st Century Skills Report

[tweetmeme source=”librarianbyday” only_single=false]The Museums, Libraries, and 21st Century Skills Report from The Institute of Museums and Library Services looks at the role of libraries and museums in 21st Century Skills. It offers a plethora of useful information and suggestions in a concise readable format (only 40 pages) and it includes case studies and an interactive online assessment.

It includes a list of 6 steps with suggestions to build involvement, engagement and momentum:

  1. Engage with Community.
  2. Establish the Vision.
  3. Assess Current Status.
  4. Implement a Prioritized Plan.
  5. Focus on Comprehensive Alignment.
  6. Track and Communicate Progress

There is a nice (and extensive) break down list of 21st Century literacies and skills along with definitions.

Learning and Innovation Skills

  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
    • Reason Effectively
    • Use Systems Thinking
    • Make Judgments and Decisions
    • Solve Problems
  • Creativity and Innovation
    • Think Creatively
    • Work Creatively with Others
    • Implement Innovations
  • Communication and Collaboration
    • Communicate Clearly
    • Collaborate with Others
  • Visual Literacy
  • Scientific and Numerical Literacy
  • Cross-disciplinary Thinking
  • Basic Literacy

Skills like critical thinking and problem solving are not only relevant for K-12 students and schools. There are millions of adult learners not in formal education programs looking to refine workplace skills. Even school-aged children spend the overwhelming majority of their waking hours in non-school settings, and increasingly they spend this time in organized out-of-school settings such as afterschool, museum, and library programs. In these settings, they develop important skills—such as problem solving, collaboration, global awareness, and selfdirection—not only for lifelong learning and everyday activities, but also for use back in K-12 schools and college classrooms.

Information, Media and Technology Skills

  • Information Literacy
    • Access and Evaluate Information
    • Use and Manage Information
  • Media Literacy
    • Analyze Media
    • Create Media Products
  • ICT (Information, Communications, and Technology) LITERACY
    • Apply Technology Effectively

Competencies like critical thinking, global awareness, and media literacy are no longer simply desirable—they are necessary. If 21st century skills are the new design specifications for national and individual success, our nation’s libraries and museums are well-positioned to respond to this need.

21st Century Themes

  • Global Awareness
  • Financial, Economic, Business and Entrepreneurial Literacy
  • Civic Literacy
  • Health Literacy
  • Environmental Literacy
Concerted action is required to meet the educational, economic, civic, and cultural needs of the community.Establishing a compelling vision around 21st century skills is critical.

Life and Career Skills

  • Flexibility and Adaptability
    • Adapt to Change
    • Be Flexible
  • Initiative and Self-direction
    • Manage Goals and Time
    • Work Independently
    • Be Self-directed Learners
  • Social and Cross-cultural Skills
    • Interact Effectively with Others
    • Work Effectively in Diverse Teams
  • Productivity and Accountability
    • Manage Projects
    • Produce Results
  • Leadership and Responsibility
    • Guide and Lead Others
    • Be Responsible to Others
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Wired – Clive Thompson on the New Literacy

[tweetmeme source=”librarianbyday” only_single=false] You often here people bemoaning what Twitter and texting are doing to our writing skills and language.  This article from Wired magazine offers a different perspective. It quotes Andrea Lunsford, a professor of writing and rhetoric at Stanford University:

“I think we’re in the midst of a literacy revolution the likes of which we haven’t seen since Greek civilization,” she says. For Lunsford, technology isn’t killing our ability to write. It’s reviving it—and pushing our literacy in bold new directions.

Lunsford collected 14,672 student writing samples from 2001 to 2006 —”everything from in-class assignments, formal essays, and journal entries to emails, blog posts, and chat sessions” and analyzed them.

The first thing she found is that young people today write far more than any generation before them. That’s because so much socializing takes place online, and it almost always involves text.

An interesting observation on writing in general.

Before the Internet came along, most Americans never wrote anything, ever, that wasn’t a school assignment. Unless they got a job that required producing text (like in law, advertising, or media), they’d leave school and virtually never construct a paragraph again.

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Chief Executives of Netflix and CommonSenseMedia Comment On the Digital Divide

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This New York Times piece Will the Digital Divide Close by Itself? From the Google’s Breakthrough Learning in a Digital Age provides a look at and arguments about the digital divide from two different perspectives.

From Jim Steyer, chief executive of CommonSense Media and co-sponsor of the event

“every kid needs to be digitally literate by the 8th grade” and called for a major public education campaign to make that happen. He argued that technology and learning are synonymous and that schools, parents, and kids must get up to speed in the next five years.

On the other hand:

Reed Hastings, the founder and chief executive of Netflix, contradicted him directly, saying it would take well more than five years to bridge the divide.

Mr. Hastings, an avid education philanthropist and proponent of school reforms, argued that at the advent of any new technology — television, cars, even rockets — people get riled up and wring their hands over a growing gap between the haves and have-nots.

He said that gaps narrow naturally as the market evolves and prices drop, enabling more people to bring new technology into the home and schools.

Most interestingly:

“We need to shift our expectations,” Mr. Hastings said. “This is a natural part of the evolution of technology.”

If I understand this correctly he is saying that the digital divide is part of an evolutionary process where technology and access to technology will be ubiquitous. I’m not sure I make the connection.

Most importantly:

Failed school reform might point to the need for more efforts outside of the classroom.

This is where libraries need to step in. We need to help students close the digital divide because what that means, what were talking about is the same thing as transliteracy. Becoming transliterate closes the digital divide. If schools can’t or wont, libraries need to step forward. We’ve done it for years with literacy, we need to do it now with transliteracy.

Originally blogged at Commentary On the Digital Divide from the Chief Executives of Netflix & CommonSenseMedia | Librarian by Day.

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