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Literacy is key in being successful in the Digital Age; students must still learn tried and true reading skills to excel, according to a report published by the North Central Regional Educational Laboratory and the Meteiri Group, titled "enGauge 21st Century Skills: Literacy in the Digital Age." This report outlined the skills needed to be successful in the 21st century, and basic literacy was wrapped into the first category.
Tim Rosandick, superintendent of the Homedale School District in Homedale, Idaho, discussed in the IdahoStatesman.com how the three Rs still have a place in today's schools.
HOMEDALE, IDAHO -- For obvious reasons, the Homedale School District does not teach kids the skills required to successfully hunt saber-toothed tigers. Our job is not to prepare kids for a world that no longer exists. Our job is to get kids ready for the world they live in today and will face in their future. This is the Digital Age, not the Stone Age.
So what kinds of skills must the 21st century learner develop? According to a report published by the North Central Regional Educational Laboratory and the Meteiri Group entitled "enGauge 21st Century Skills: Literacy in the Digital Age," the skills needed to be successful in the 21st century are:
- Digital-age literacy: Basic, scientific, economic, and technological literacies; visual and informational literacies; multicultural literacy and global awareness.
- Inventive thinking: Adaptability, managing complexity, and self-direction; curiosity, creativity, and risk taking; higher-order thinking and sound reasoning.
- Effective communication: Teaming, collaboration and interpersonal skills; personal, social and civic responsibility; interactive communication.
- High productivity: Prioritizing, planning, and managing for results; effective use of real-world tools; ability to produce relevant, high-quality products.
As you read the list above, did you catch it? Basic literacy is included as part of digital-age literacy.
Basic literacy is defined in the report as "language proficiency in English and numeracy at levels necessary to function on the job and in society to achieve one's goals and to develop one's knowledge and potential in the Digital Age."
In other words, even though we are in the Digital Age, to be successful our kids will need to be able to read, write, speak, do mathematical computations and use math to solve problems. Therefore, it's clear to me, that the three Rs still have a place in today's schools.
None of us have a crystal ball. If we did, we'd be able to know exactly the kinds of jobs our kids will have during their lifetimes. Being able to foresee the future would enable us to precisely adapt the curriculum accordingly.
But crystal balls don't exist. Nonetheless, all indications are that one important way we can prepare our kids for the world in which they will live is to make sure that they have solid basic academic skills.
In the past several years, the vast majority of Idaho school districts, like Homedale, have made significant progress in the basic skills area.
Today in Idaho, we have more kids reading, writing and computing at higher levels of proficiency than ever before. Our focus on these academic areas should and will continue, for it appears that even in the 21st century, the three Rs are not saber-toothed tigers.
For the complete story, visit TheIdahoStatesman.com.
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