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21st Century Skills

Each Iowa student will be empowered with the technological knowledge and skills to learn effectively and live productively.

This vision, developed by the Iowa Core 21st Century Skills Committee, reflects the fact that Iowans in the 21st century live in a global environment marked by a high use of technology, giving citizens and workers the ability to collaborate and make individual contributions as never before. Iowa’s students live in a media-suffused environment, marked by access to an abundance of information and rapidly changing technological tools useful for critical thinking and problem solving processes. Therefore, technological literacy supports preparation of students as global citizens capable of self-directed learning in preparation for an ever-changing world.

Regardless of current realities, literacy in any context is defined as the ability “…to access, manage, integrate, evaluate, and create information in order to function in a knowledge society…” (ICT Literacy Panel, 2002) “….When we teach only for facts … (specifics)… rather than for how to go beyond facts, we teach students how to get out of date.” (Sternberg, 2008) This statement is particularly significant when applied to technology literacy. The Iowa essential concepts for technology literacy reflect broad, universal processes and skills.

Although it is important that current technologies be integrated into all teachers’ classroom practices and all students’ experiences, it is also important to understand the broader implications of the transforming influence of technology on society. For example, creativity, innovation and systemic thinking are requirements for success in this environment. Technology is changing the way we think about and do our work. It has changed our relationships with information and given us access to resources, economic and professional, that were unimaginable just a few years ago.

Technological advances also present societal challenges. It is essential that students have a deep understanding of technology literacy concepts in order to deal with technology’s challenges and implications. It is also essential that educators partner with “…digital natives”…, teaching ways to mediate the challenges, and to realize the potential of technology literacy. (Palfrey and Gasser, 2008)

Note: The technology literacy essential concepts and skills are from the International Society for Technology in Education's National Educational Technology Standards for Students.

Iowa Core 21st Century Skills

Review the Iowa Academic Standards for 21st Century Skills.