Best Resources You Should Know to Learn About 21st Century Skills

“For teachers, and schools, and classroom learning, there’s an incredibly important role to play which is about giving kids access across the board to a baseline of standards, literacies, expectations, about what they need to participate in contemporary society…to be reflective, and to also take opportunity of the fact that you really have kids and adults in a shared space that’s safe, that’s sanctioned, that gives an opportunity to reflect in every day life….What we’re saying by valuing informal learning is not that we should abandon formal learning, but that we should get those working together in a much more coordinated way.” - Mimi Ito, Associate Researcher, UC Irvine

The 21st century skills are a set of abilities that students need to develop in order to succeed in the ever changing information age. And acquiring those skills will not happen from a particular task but in the process of daily happenings, learning and other activities that we are a part of.

Here is a list of various key resources that you must check to learn about 21st century skills in education.

Blogs to Follow

1. P21 Blogazine

P21 is the leading education advocacy organization working with others to fuse 3 R’s & 4 C’s. The P21 Blogazine puts light on the demand of 21st century skills required by those dealing in education community. There are numerous categories from where reader can chose the topic they want to read about.     

2. Thoughtful Learning Blog

This community develops K-12 resources that help students and learners succeed. This blog features articles 21st century skills and social-emotional learning and other things that play a key role in 21st century education. Insights come from the teachers, writers, and developers at Thoughtful Learning, who have been creating top-notch instructional materials. 

3. 21 K12 by Jonathan Martin

This blog by Jonathan Martin will give you resources on education related stories. Martin is the principal of his educational consulting practice. His mission is to “support educators, schools, districts, and associations in the work of strengthening 21st century teaching, learning, and assessing and in becoming ‘schools of the future.”

 4. Global Digital Citizen Foundation

The Global Digital Citizen Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to cultivating responsible, ethical, global citizens for a digital world with a focus on teaching and learning! Follow their blog and learn more about the digital education world of 21st century.

5. User Generated Education

Great blog to keep yourself aware of all the important aspects of 21st century education. Learn from anything to everything from this blog. Emerging technologies, educational reforms, disrupting education, BYOD, flipped classrooms and a lot more!   

6. Weight Of Paper

Categorized into education, k-12, learning and teaching; this is a fresh read by DavidBIE. He is the senior director at the Buck Institution for Education. 

7. 21st century educational technology and learning

This is a blog devoted to educators’ intent on infusing technology and 21st century education into the classroom. One of the most reputed blog and has been awarded with 2015 Must Read K-12 IT Blog, Top 50 Education Innovator Award and a lot more. 


1. Developing 21st Century Critical Thinkers

Critical thinking plays a key role when we talk about dealing and leading in 21st century in every aspect of life. The info graphic is a great representation of how this skill can be achieved and what all comprise under this one skill. 

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2. Morphing into a 21st Century Educator

A great representation of that talks of teaching not only in terms of using technology but adding even more to it. 

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3. Top 10 skills for 21st Century Worker

This infographic by University of Phoenix details the Top 10 skills needed to succeed in the 21st Century workplace, as well as some insight on how best to acquire them. Take a look and see if your coursework, extra-curricular activities, internships and volunteer assignments are helping you develop these must-have skills.

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4. Media Competencies for Teachers

Social Networking is the game changer in the coming time. Use of social media is much more beneficial than just staying in touch. Various social media platforms are helping individuals grow in their professional circles. They get to connect, explore and grow via social media. This infographic talks about top 10 social media competencies for the teachers of 21st century.

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5. How Digital Learning Contribute to Deeper Learning

This is a fantastic infographic that shows hoe students are taking on new roles that are pushing traditional boundaries of learning and how digitization can help them excel at it. 

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1. Can we teach intelligence?

This post asks us to explore the concept of intelligence more broadly, especially given the importance that intelligence has on life outcomes. The author emphasizes the importance of creative problem solving, or flexible thinking, and the ability to teach this skill in the classroom. Note that Mindprint does assess flexible thinking, but that the research is inconclusive on to what extent this skill, like all cognitive skills, can be taught.

2. Inquiry learning v/s standardized content: can they coexist?

This article provides excellent "food for thought" about how education needs to evolve in the digital age and provides suggestions for educators to begin to make that leap.

3. What every student needs?

This 14-point list from Teach Thought is prefaced by explaining that although every child learns differently, most have the same basic needs to be successful. The article stresses on the fact that every child learns differently and hence we need to adopt different ways of teaching to make efficient learning happen.

4. 15 Characteristics of a 21st Century Educator

A great read that will help you understand the role and characteristics of an educator in a better way to lead in 21st century and make learning for students better, effective and efficient.

5. 13 Essential 21st Century Skills for Today's Students

The article talks how only integrating technology doesn’t satisfy the requirements of 21st century teaching-learning needs and the skills. Other critical skills for success mentioned include leadership, social responsibility and ethics, information literacy and more. 

6. Why We Need to Teach 21st Century Skills—And How to Do It

Keeping in mind the current scenario and the presence of web in kid’s lives; Information, media literacy, and communication skills add to the most important skills that need to be addressed in the 21st century. The article focuses on: Thinking and problem solving, Interpersonal, collaborative, and self-direction skills, Global awareness, Economic and business literacy, including entrepreneurial skills and Civic literacy.

7. How do you define 21st Century Skills?  

This article will give you the viewpoint of a range of education experts who define 21st-century learning from their own perspectives.

8. ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL: The need of variety in learning

This article highlights how students need different approaches to learning for two primary reasons.  The first is that "one size does not fit all" and children learn better from different approaches.  The second is highlighted by a metaphor:  just as we best maintain physical health through a variety of foods and exercises, we need a variety of learning opportunities and subjects to optimize learning.

Reports & Videos on the next page..


1. Media in the Lives of 8-18- Years Old

A national survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that with technology allowing nearly 24-hour media access as children and teens go about their daily lives, the amount of time young people spend with entertainment media has risen dramatically, especially among minority youth. It includes data from all three waves of the study (1999, 2004, and 2009), and is among the largest and most comprehensive publicly available sources of information about media use among American youth.

2. 21st Century Skills: Evidence, Relevance and Effectiveness

A great resource that give insights on educational, literary and content standards. The need of changing the teaching ways. Skills that we can teach and skills that are inherited by kids in the process. Super model of education and a lot more!    

3. Learning 21st Century Skills require 21st Century Teaching

For students to learn 21st-century skills, the teaching patterns need to differ from those in the past. The outdated, transmission model, through which teachers transmit factual knowledge to students via lectures and textbooks, remains the dominant approach to compulsory education in much of the world, yet it is not the most effective way to teach 21st-century skills. Students are not developing 21st-century skills because they are not explicitly taught and because they are more difficult to assess than factual retention. The authors summarize nine lessons from the science of learning telling how students learn 21st-century skills and how pedagogy can address their needs.

4. Learning for the 21st Century

The report emphasis on the need for change and focuses on education that connect to students’ lives and education that reflects how people learn. It also mentions key elements of 21st century learning such as core subjects, learning skills, 21st century tools and assessment programs.  

5. A Crosswalk of 21st Century Skills

Hanover Research examines the framework of six different 21st century skills lists. These skills are subsequently compared with one another, to draw out the most and least common elements and themes.


1. 21st Century Skills

This video covers all the important skills of 21st century namely creativity, communication, collaboration, critical thinking, media litearcy, information literacy, problem solving for learners.

2. 21st Century Skills: What Do We Do?

Amazing video addressing the current problems and the way that we can address them. We know our students need skills to be competitive in the 21st century, but what do we do to get them there. Know it all. Watch. 

3. Changing Education Paradigms

The video is adapted from a talk given by Sir Ken Robinson, world-renowned education and creativity expert and recipient of the RSA's Benjamin Franklin award. A great video that will help you understand the education paradigms in better ways.

4. Rethinking Learning: The 21st Century Learner

The video highlights the importance of embracing change. From cell phone and video games to Facebook and YouTube, digital media are changing the way young people play and socialize in the 21st century. Know how and why digital media plays such a crucial role in education sector and how by adapting it we cam make a difference in the students’ lives.

5. What 60 Schools Can Tell Us About Teaching 21st Century Skills: Grant Lichtman at TEDxDenverTeachers

A great TEDx talk that will help you understand the innovation that is needed in the education area. Also find out what he learned from three months on the road visiting 21 states, 64 schools, and the great ideas of 500 educators.

6. Assessing 21st Century Skills

This video highlights the importance of 21st Century skills in students, and how teachers can assess them.

What are your views on 21st century skills? How can we acquire them? Any other resource you would like to share?

About the Author
Author: Priyanka Gupta
Priyanka is a blogger by profession and has an increasing interest to write about the edtech space. While writing she keeps in mind the educators to come up with right resources and ideas which might be relevant for them in relation to effective use of technology in their profession and institutions/classrooms.
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