Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Periodic Table of 21st Century Education

I have been contemplating a lot recently about what education should look like. Feel like. Be like. Sound like. There has been a wave of tremendous change that has swept the educational landscape; and has brought with it new ideas, foci, and pedagogies. I try to stay abreast of this conversation, and love the engagement shown by many; all of whom wish to improve education, and thus student learning.

One of those people was Ingvi Omarsson, whose blog post highlighted the 14 things he believes are obsolete in 21st century schools. I found it inspiring and very thought provoking; and really made me consider my own teaching practice. I enjoyed the fact that he did not just focus on technology, but really took a wholistic approach to improving education.

Others came from my school board, where there is a growing online PLN, full of fantastic, engaged educators.  Through this network, I recently engaged in a group blog activity with some of these excellent educators, where we each contributed a '6 word definition' for the '6 C's in 21st Century Education' (critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, communication, citizenship, & character). The six word definitions allowed us to really narrow down our thoughts, into a concise, neat opinion about each of the six C's. It also allowed us to look through the lens of others in order to better understand each element.

So that got me thinking. What other elements are necessary to prepare students for the 21st century? What are the attributes, skills, environments, etc., that we need to provide for them in order for them to become 21st century learners?

Answering these questions are not simple, and there is no one response that will fully answer each question. Just like the group blog, many different educators have many different opinions; and its necessary to look through the variety of lenses to truly understand the elements of 21st century education.

Therefore, let's put our heads together, and compile the elements necessary in 21st century education. The first six are already complete, taken already from the opinions of educators; but I know there is so much more to this!

Here's how we can do it. Send me an element via twitter that you believe is necessary in 21st century education (i.e. technology), as well as a 6 word definition. I will add then add it to the list, as well as you as the contributor. (like below)

What list you ask? Well, I am no scientist, and don't begin to know how the 'Scientific Periodic Table' is compiled; but I thought it was a nice way to illustrate the elements. Thus, I have begun the
'Periodic Table of 21st Century Education'

So send along your ideas. I'd love to hear what you're thinking!


  1. Jason, I would love to get a T-Shirt with these six elements? What do you think?