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Next generation skills, also called 21st century skills, are essential skills for college, career, and life.

One of the more authoritative lists of these skills is the P21 Framework developed by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, which include:

  • critical thinking
  • problem solving
  • creativity and innovation
  • adaptability
  • collaboration
  • communication (written, oral, blended, advanced media)
  • information sourcing and media literacy
  • self-direction and self-assessment
  • application of technology to workflow

Most of these skills are not new. Skills like critical thinking and communication have been a part of the educational landscape for a long time.

However, there is greater need to apply these skills in a technological context. Our society requires us to adapt, collaborate, problem solve, think critically, communicate across multiple mediums, and be self-directed.

While traditional academic knowledge standards are still important, students must master these skills to succeed in college and careers. There’s a growing recognition that traditional education, while critical to the intellectual development of our children, does not adequately address these needs.

Next Generation Skills & 21st Century Learning

The SmartLab Learning Approach

One of the biggest challenges facing educators today is, ‘How do we prepare today’s learners for jobs that don’t yet exist and which will require proficiency in technologies that haven’t been invented.’

While we cannot define the specific knowledge or skills that will be required to succeed in our fast-paced global economy, it’s imperative we equip today’s learners with the competencies necessary to adapt and thrive.

With SmartLab Learning, students define goals and identify problems they want to solve. To solve these complex problems, learners think critically and creatively.

Collaboration is a key tenet of our learning programs as students work in pairs to solve real-world problems. Finally, students hone their communication skills by sharing their learning with their peers and facilitator.

With SmartLab Learning programs, students are self-directed and self-assess in our Portfolio system.

“We want kids who can collaboration, who can communicate. These are the type of skills that Creative Learning Systems labs require of students.”

—Brian Ewert, Colorado Superintendent of the Year

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