Do you have a diverse mix of cultures in your classroom? Do you think they have a strong understanding of their own culture and those of their peers? How do they communicate across these cultures and overcome differences? Many people tend to think that “kids will be kids”. They will find a way to communicate. Though, quite often, they are under equipped and lack support to try and understand cultural differences.
Almost 40 years since the discussion about 21st-century skills (21CS) started, where are we now and what exactly is the general consensus in 2021? Whilst there are so many frameworks and definitions out there, how do we define 21st-century skills?Read More
During the last year, we’ve all found our own ways to adapt and this is also the case for how and where we learn. Some students have had the luxury of their own room, a desk, whereas others have had to share the kitchen table or sit on the bed. What’s the connection between student engagement and learning environments?Read More
In this month’s employee spotlight, we’re highlighting one of our many, talented producers Aine Carlin! Aine is one of the O.G. producers at Makematic. She’s been working at the company since it began in 2016 and has been involved in multiple projects. We caught up with her this month to talk about her role at Makematic!Read More
I’ve tried to focus this month on finding some good news stories from the world of EdTech. Some of us might be in another lockdown, facing (more or continuous) school closures and other uncertainties, so we can all use some good news. I’m glad to say I’ve managed to find some.
First up is a story from Estonia, a country which is excelling at digital learning. Turns out the key is in early adoption and routine, so we’ll all be experts soon enough.
With knowledge from the above, it’s no surprise that Estonia ranks very high again in the list of countries which are best preparing their children for the future of work. “The best education systems are those that encourage students to analyze and think for themselves and create the right learning environments” according to the report. Developing critical thinking skills is crucial in this. For those of us who are worried about our children spending too much time online gaming. Rest assured, those critical thinking skills can also be developed playing fun games online!
For some educators and students, it’s been difficult to make the transition to an online virtual learning environment, especially when it comes to social-emotional learning. There are educators, however, who use EdTech to develop social-emotional skills such as collaboration. Some teachers are convinced using platforms like Microsoft Teams and Google Classrooms in a non-restrictive way teaches students flexible thinking and self-control. Have a read here.
The main thing though is that students are engaged in learning and we all know EdTech can achieve that!
It can be quite challenging to gain work experience as a young person, and especially during this pandemic.
In this episode, I organised another Zoom call that I did not prepare for. You’d think after one screen recorded Zoom chat in episode 4, I would have it all figured out by now. This episode is also a lengthy one, so I recommend getting comfy.
This Zoom call features our work experience student Amelia, who worked at Makematic during the month of July. I asked her about her time at Makematic, including questions about the benefits of work experience, the skills she has learned and if she enjoyed her time. I don’t mean to spoil it for you, but she did, in fact, enjoy her experience and has been re-acquainted with spreadsheets this month.
Even though Amelia only worked at Makematic for a month, she did, in fact, make a huge difference. From being featured in the vlog to helping Tara and I get organised, and even writing a fantastic blog – Amelia has definitely been an amazing work experience student, who – hopefully – has gained some valuable experience that will help her future career.
Here is what Amelia had to say about her experience at Makematic:
“Honestly, this has been a really interesting and insightful experience. It was great being able to have hands-on experience in the media field and let me truly know that I want to pursue this sector of work. I have been able to hone many skills and I don’t feel as worried about working in a team anymore, or communicating in general (it’s a process). Being able to do real work like spreadsheets and researching curated content really made me feel part of the team! I feel like this whole experience has made me grow more as an aspiring adult and I really encourage any fellow teenager wanting to dip their feet in work experience, to just do it! It really is a lot more insightful than just listening to your teacher talk about it or searching it up on Google, and it really does open a lot of doors for you. Take your step into the working world and figure out what you want to do!“Amelia Knopik
As mentioned above, it is quite challenging to find valuable work experience. Luckily for you, this vlog will provide you with 3 tips on how to secure work experience. However, I should point out that I am not a careers teacher or leader. Nor am I qualified to tell you that these tips will work because I cannot guarantee that they will. I am an individual who has received an abundance of rejections and, “I regret to inform you” emails but has still managed to gain valuable experience over the years.
If these tips and Amelia’s experience are not enough, you can always check out our careers resource Skillsumo, where you can find free bite-sized careers videos to better understand the world of work and the key 21st-century skills that are relevant to the workplace.
I could never have become an entrepreneur. I’ve never had the interest nor motivation. That said, I wonder if I’d been introduced to entrepreneurship in my youth would things have been different? More than ever though, young people of today need to have not just an entrepreneurial mindset but critically the confidence, to create their own paths.
The world they’re growing up in is vastly different from the one I grew up in. There aren’t jobs for life. According to one popular estimate, 65% of children entering primary school today will end up working in a job that doesn’t even exist. If young people are to succeed, they’ll need to have an entrepreneurial spirit as well as the ability to deliver on it.
The Entrepreneurial Generation
Post-millennials, young people born after 1995, are set to be an entrepreneurial generation. According to a recent Nielsen study, about 54% of post-millennials indicated they wanted to start their own company. What is driving this? For a generation who has grown up in uncertain times and a financial crisis, it’s unsurprising. It’s a pragmatic approach to security and a way of recession proofing their jobs.
Orientated towards salary and security, post-millennials seem hungry for money. They have high regard for money earners and are drawn to YouTubers and Instagram creators who are paid and sponsored. Many even have a business centred Instagram accounts. Pretty cool huh?
It’s Time For A Mindset Shift
So why aren’t we teaching entrepreneurial skills at school? For me, it comes back to how we view education, and how we measure success. Much of the focus in schools is now on league tables, which are made up of exam results to the detriment of broader skill sets. Inquiry-based approaches, developing resilience and key entrepreneurial or employability skills are deemed important, but not essential. This is despite the fact that employers are seeing these skills as increasingly more desirable than technical skills, and more people are choosing to be entrepreneurs.
Teachers understand that students need to be innovative and enterprising, but often feel that they are constrained by the demands of their already overflowing curriculum. That’s where working with industry and local entrepreneurs, and the explicit teaching of entrepreneurial or employability skills comes in.
Industry Engagement And Explicit Teaching
Industry and local entrepreneurs provide the context and experience, and the explicit teaching of skills lay the foundation. The explicit teaching of skills need not be an onerous task and has cross-curricular applications. Resources like our series the 4Cs can help educators teach key entrepreneurial or employability skills to their students. Providing young people active learning opportunities at school and in their local communities will further help them develop these skills. This is a generation of social entrepreneurs, after all, so let’s use what we know about them, and the things they care about to make their learning experiences meaningful.
Right across the world more and more young people are standing up and challenging the status quo. Handfuls of teenagers are coming together and starting a movement to tackle things like political uncertainty, climate change, gun laws and equality. We need to foster this spirit in all our young people and encourage them to get involved and take the opportunities available to them. Getting students to engage and act should be our war cry. It all starts with knowing they have the ability to make a change, encouraging their entrepreneurial spirit and giving them the confidence to take action.
Research by The Sutton Trust found that 94% of employers, 97% of teachers and 88% of young people regarded ‘life skills’ as being at least as important as academic grades to future success. These life skills include what we commonly refer to as the 4Cs – communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity.
Developing these key 21st-century skills is an ongoing process and mastery takes many years to achieve. Research has shown that two things can really help these skills – explicit teaching of these skills and extra-curricular activities. Whilst we can’t help with extra-curricular, we can help educators develop these skills to be explicitly teaching them in the classes.
That is why we worked with Participate to develop the series – The 4Cs. Part professional development part classroom resource, the series will help educators:
- Understand how to teach these skills in their classes on a daily basis,
- Understand how these skills are used in the workplace
- Better prepare lessons to develop these skills with those they teach.
Educator Professional Development
Series 1 – What are the 4Cs?
8 live-action videos with educators explaining what the 4Cs are and how to teach them in every classroom.
4 educator podcasts case studies where educators talk about how they have implemented the 4Cs into their everyday teaching practice.
Series 2 – In the workplace
4 live-action videos with people talking about what the 4Cs look like in the workplace.
Student Facing Resources
Series 3 and 4 can be used in so many ways. They can be used as whole class activities or as part of a blended or flipped learning experience. Whilst series 3 and 4 have been created as standalone resources, they can be used as a sequence.
Here’s an example:
You’ve decided that you want to develop your student’s creative thinking skills by introducing them to lateral thinking
You can engage your students with the skill by watching How To Be More Creative With Lateral Thinking from series 3. Following watching and discussing the contents of the video, as a class or on their own, students could develop this skill by completing any of the following activities from series 4:
- Questioning basic assumptions
- Rebus puzzles
- Recognising patterns
- The alternative uses test
- The elevator problem
Series 3 – How can …?
12 animated explainer videos that give the audience an understanding of how and why each of the skills can be developed by focusing on different sub-skills of each of the Cs.
|Communication and Collaboration||Critical Thinking and Creativity|
|Giving and Receiving Feedback|
Understanding Body Language
Creating clear messages
Being Opening minded
Series 4 – Activities
12 animations designed for individuals to develop skills on their own. These can be used in a classroom as a whole class, as part of a blended or flipped classroom methodology.
|Communication and Collaboration||Critical Thinking and Creativity|
Are you a good listener?
Funnelling questings technique
Relaxation for public speaking
The subject line pitch
|Questioning basic assumptions|
Brainstorming on your own
The alternative uses test
The elevator problem
Access the entire series here.
We’ve been really privileged over the last few months to work alongside the amazing team at P21 – the Partnership for 21st Century Skills – to develop a series of short animations aligned to their new framework for Early Years 21st Century Skills.
Back in June we had the chance to attend P21’s Strategic Council meeting in Washington DC and the meet the truly impressive team and members from organisations like Crayola, Fisher Price and Pearson. P21 are driving the message of 21st Century Skills in education and provide a range of resources and services that every educator needs to know about.