Essential 21st Century Skills Identified in the Literature
Basic Literacy Skills
  • Read, write, listen, speak and comprehend various forms and genres
  • Read, write, listen, speak and comprehend in hyper-mediated, hyper-linked environment
  • Brainstorm and create concept maps
  • Skimming and scanning
  • Paraphrasing, summarizing, recalling, and extending
  • Decipher meaning
Information Skills
  • Assess prior knowledge
  • Define needs for information
  • Framing a search for information
  • Recognize where to look for information
  • Ask effective and relevant questions
  • Generate search terms and keywords
  • Be aware of and perform and use multiple search strategies
  • Choosing suitable resources for information needs
  • Access a variety of types and resources
  • Cite and document references to avoid plagiarism
  • Narrow and broaden inquiry questions
  • Navigate and browse the internet effectively
Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Skills
  • Evaluate information for quality, reliability, authority, accuracy, timeliness, and bias
  • Recognize relevance and pertinence of information to an inquiry
  • Recognize fact, opinion, misinformation, disinformation and propaganda
  • Understand the impact of information on the decision making process
  • Think critically about information by questioning its intent and assessing how it fits with what is already known
  • Use information to solve problems and create new knowledge
  • Know and use multiple and varied problem solving strategies
  • Use information to make judgement and decisions
  • Reason effectively
Creativity and Innovation Skills
  • Use creativity when seeking, accessing and creating information
  • Be open to new ideas
  • View failure as an opportunity
  • Act on creative ideas
  • Use information and knowledge in creative and innovative ways
  • Express ideas through a variety of forms and media
  • “Decipher, interpret and express ideas using images, graphics, icons, charts, graphs and video” (Lemke, 2002, p. 13)
  • Use visualization tools to represent and communicate ideas, data and learning
Collaboration and Teamwork Skills
  • Communicate effectively using a variety of communication modes and methods
  • Understand the best form and format to communicate the desired message to a particular audience
  • Collaborate virtually and digitally
  • Have knowledge of multiple Web 2.0 tools to facilitate ease of digital and virtual collaboration
  • Appreciate the diversity of people and cultures (Lemke, 2002)
  • Cooperate to achieve a goal
  • Strategize to divide work load
  • Solve problems and conflict within the group
  • Work collaboratively in person AND at a distance
Multimedia Skills
  • Use multimedia tools in new and creative ways
  • Use multimedia to extend and expand understanding
  • Use multimedia tools to create new meaning
  • Use multimedia to communicate to various different audiences
  • Use multimedia appropriately for selected audiences
  • Use multimedia in collaboration with others
Technology Skills
  • Have an understanding of technological systems and operations
  • Able to work with multiple and varied technologies
  • Apply technology skills in the context of learning and solving problems
  • Adapt to new technological situations and systems with ease
  • “Transfer current knowledge to learning of new technologies” (ISTE, 2007)
  • Understand the benefits and applications of certain software, hardware and various other technologies
  • Choose the appropriate technology for the task
  • “Select and use applications effectively and productively” (ISTE, 2007)
  • Use technology to solve problems
  • Troubleshoot technological problems
Ethical Thinking Skills
  • Consider how information and data are obtained and can be obtained ethically
  • Consider how information and data can be used ethically
  • Apply ethical thinking when searching, using, communicating, remixing and reusing information
  • Cite sources appropriately
  • Consider privacy and ownership when using images, information, video, audio and other multimedia
  • Consider the impacts of one’s actions when using, reusing and remixing information
  • Develop respect for open source and open knowledge principles which allow for equitable distribution and access to knowledge for all” (Asselin & Doiron, 2008, p. 9)
Note. Adapted from Asselin and Doiron (2008), ISTE (2007), Lemke (2002), OECD (2009) and Trilling and Fadel (2009).