21st Century Skills: It’s More Than Just Technology

“Given the growing ubiquity of [technology] in schools, as well as the increasing numbers of educators advocating for their use, it can seem as though education may have reached a tipping point when it comes to improving students’ 21st-century skills. According to the Partnership for 21st Century skills, these can be categorized as the 4Cs: Creativity, Critical Thinking, Communication, and Collaboration.” — Beth Holland

Beth goes on to share that she has started to worry about the growing presence of what she calls the Fake Cs.

Source: EdWeek

Our Book Is Now Available

Developing Technology-Rich Teacher Education Programs: Key Issues

Drew Polly, Clif Mims, and Kay A. Persichitte

Developing Technology-Rich Teacher Education ProgramsDescription

Though technology is expanding at a rate that is alarming to many skilled laborers concerned for the welfare of their industry and jobs, teachers should feel safe in their position; however, teachers who refuse to adapt to technology will be left behind.

Developing Technology-Rich Teacher Education Programs: Key Issues offers professional teacher educators a rare opportunity to harvest the thinking of pioneering colleagues spanning dozens of universities, and to benefit from the creativity, scholarship, hard work, and reflection that led them to the models they describe. Contributors from 32 universities from around the world came together as authors of case studies, methodologies, research, and modeling to produce the work that went into this reference work. The target audience for this book includes faculty, leaders, teacher educators, and administrators within higher institution and every level of education.


Teacher education programs, more than ever before, are under severe scrutiny from national and state government, policy, and accreditation organizations. Teacher education programs are being asked to provide evidence of their impact on teacher candidates, as well as the indirect impact of teacher education programs on PK-12 students. Reforms in teacher education programs focus on the integration of 21st century skills, which include knowledge and skills related to information technology, creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, and communication (Partnership for 21st Century Skills, 2004).  Technology is an essential component of these 21st Century reforms.

The focus of teacher education programs is to prepare teacher candidates to effectively teach in 21st Century learning environments. These classrooms have access to Internet-connected educational technologies, including computers, hand-held, or portable devices (U.S. Department of Education, 2010). As a result of the technology-rich nature of PK-12 schools, it is critical for teacher education programs to examine their effectiveness related to preparing teacher candidates to effectively use educational technologies to support teaching and learning processes.

The construct of Technological Pedagogical and Content Knowledge (TPACK) has explicated the knowledge and skills related to technology integration. Candidates develop the knowledge and skills related to technology integration through educational technology courses, methods courses, and technology-rich field experiences (Schrum, 1999). In this book, contributors address all of those contexts and provide examples of how technology-rich teacher education programs have developed TPACK and related skills in teacher candidates and faculty.

The purpose of this book is to provide examples and frameworks related to creating effective models of infusing technology into teacher education programs. This book is intended for faculty and others associated with teacher education programs as a resource of creating technology-rich teacher education programs.  As a result, each chapter has clear directions and implications for adopting their ideas into teacher education programs.  Further, the ever-changing landscape of what constitutes current educational technologies, has led the editors to focus this book on examples and models that address current educational technologies, but are likely to be relevant over the next decade or two as well.

The book is divided into six sections, which focus on:  Frameworks for Technology Integration, Web 2.0 technologies, Teacher Education Courses, Integrating Technology across Content Areas, Field Experiences, and Ways to Support Teacher Education Faculty.


“This book offers professional teacher educators a rare opportunity to harvest the thinking of pioneering colleagues spanning dozens of universities, and to benefit from the creativity, scholarship, hard work, and reflection that led them to the models they describe.  Teacher educators are, indeed, fortunate to have this opportunity to make informed decisions that will transform teacher education at this important moment in the history of education.”

Kyle L. Peck, Associate Dean for Outreach, Technology, and International Programs and Professor of Education at Penn State University, USA

Personal Note

I’d like to thank everyone that contributed to this book and worked with us during the past year and a half. I’d especially like to note the contributions and dedication of my friends, colleagues, and co-authors, Drew Polly and Kay Persichitte.

I hope this work enhances teacher education and technology integration ultimately blessing the education and lives of all learners.

– Clif

Educational Technology Certificate

You can earn a certificate in educational technology with our 4 online courses. Visit http://idt.memphis.edu/certificate for full details and assistance.

Your Feedback Is Requested

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) is in the midst of collecting input on their classroom observation tool for technology integration. You can learn more about ISTE’s Classroom Observation Tool (ICOT) here.

Please share your feedback using the online survey.

Please encourage the participation of others as this feedback is important.

Suggested Reading for 11/15/2008

New ISTE Book on Cell Phones for Learning

Innovative Professional Development Portal Enriches Teacher Education

The END to Copyright Confusion~and a New Beginning

iPod Instructional Uses

Quality and Online Learning

Eleven Interesting Ways to Use Google Docs in the Classroom

My Proposal to Use Google Docs for Online Reporting to Parents

Be the Match, Not a Match

Teacher Tenure: A Battle in the Capital

Publishing Articles in Educational Technology Journals

Deadline for NECC Proposals Approaches

The deadline for submitting proposals to present at the 2009 NECC Conference in Washington, D.C., is this Wednesday (Oct. 8). Note that both “ISTE member and non-member educators and students at all levels, nationally and internationally, are invited to submit.”

This international conference is an excellent opportunity for professional development and allows you to exchange ideas and resources with others that share your professional interests. I encourage you to attend and to consider submitting a presentation proposal. Learn more about submitting proposals here.

Suggested Reading for 10/02/2008

Why Do Teachers Not Practice What They Believe Regarding Technology Integration?

Cover the Material – or Teach Students to Think

2008 DonorsChoose.org Challenge

Embedded Education Reporters

Joint Statement of CoSN and ISTE Hailing Passage of Internet Safety Education Legislation

View my Shared Google Reader for more suggested reading.

Noteworthy from NECC

I’m still trying to catch up from my recent trips to Kannapolis, EduBloggerCon and NECC. I have notes, pod/vidcasts and photos that I intend to share but more pressing matters (Family, research and writing, preparations for professional development workshops and 2nd summer semester courses) have kept my attention. Here are a few things that I want to make sure I at least go ahead and point out.

Measuring What Really Matters: The 21st Century Skills Assessment Project
“…a collaborative effort designed to create viable methods of assessing of higher order learning outcomes, and the higher-order skills required by independent, lifelong learners.”

  • This handout provides a good overview of the project and includes the current iteration of the assessment instrument.
  • SIGTE Forum: Assessing 21st Century Skills–Next Steps – NOTE: I’m interested in exploring this further with those sharing an interest in this. Perhaps we could set up an online discussion group or something. Drop me a line if you are interested.

ISTE’s Classroom Observation Tool (ICOT)
"A FREE online tool that provides a set of questions to guide classroom observations of a number of key components of technology integration."

Ed Tech Action Network
"ETAN provides a forum for educators and others to engage in the political process and project a unified voice in support of a common cause – improving teaching and learning through the systemic use of technology. ETAN’s mission is to influence public policy-makers at the federal, state and local levels and to increase public investment in the competitiveness of America’s classrooms and students."

Possible Federal Funding for Educational Technology
There is a possibility that we will see more funding for educational technology and perhaps even a large funding program similar to the PT3 initiative.