“We have students who are passionate, engaged, and comfortable with technology, yet students are living in silos and not equipped with the 21st-century skills which they genuinely need to be part of the global workforce of tomorrow.”
This statement by Amy McCooe, CEO of Level Up Village, during a recent edWebinar hit home with her two co-presenters, Esra Murray, a fifth-grade teacher at International School Dundee (CT), and Fran Kompar, director of instructional technology and digital learning at Wilton Public Schools (CT).
Kompar expressed her frustration: “We are now 20 years into the 21st century, and we should be preparing our students for the work of their time, not the future–because the future is now.”
The presenters emphasized that the global skill most vital to students is learnability: the desire, passion, and capacity to learn, the ability to synthesize and evaluate information, and the willingness to take on new challenges.
The impact of developing learnability skills will ensure that our young learners apply their knowledge and skills to the global economy and become lifelong learners.
The Four As
We live in a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world, and it is critical to prepare our students to navigate this world and the global economy.
Kompar identifies trans-disciplinary learning as learning that can provide students with navigational tools embedded into the school curriculum and involve everyone in the school.
Four “A” elements should be part of any trans-disciplinary learning: authenticity where students explore essential and relevant questions that are meaningful to them; the agency that empowers students to have a choice, whether it be the topic, how they solve a problem, or how they express themselves; action where students are allowed to take action to solve the problem; and authentic audiences—both locally and globally—where solutions are shared broadly.
Global STEAM education
The question is how to prepare students for the global economy? The good news is that students are way ahead of us. Today’s young citizens have a greater awareness of global issues, such as water scarcity and pollution than any other generation.
To create a generation of problem-solvers for the global economy, Murray identifies steps for incorporating global STEAM into classrooms:
- Ask students to define the problem and give them time to synthesize and evaluate. Please provide them with global collaborative opportunities.
- Using the ISTE standard for Global Collaborator, plan how students can use digital tools to broaden their perspectives.
- Enrich their learning with skills on working effectively in teams locally and globally and teaching them to solve global problems through STEM.
- Support and develop critical skills such as collaboration, communication, and critical thinking to help young global inventors gain agency over their learning and find solutions to global issues that will be wide-reaching and impactful.