7.2. 21st Century Skills


The 21st century skills are a set of abilities that students need to develop in order to succeed in the information age. It includes Learning and Innovation Skills (Problem Solving, Critical Thinking, Creative Thinking, Collaboration, Communication), Literacy Skills (Information, Media & Technology Literacy, Digital Citizenship) and Life and Career Skills (Leadership, Flexibility, Initiative, Social Skills, Productivity).

In this session we will focus on a particular subset of these skills:

  1. Digital Citizenship
  2. Communication
  3. Collaboration
  4. Problem Solving
  5. Leadership


P12’s Framework for 21st Century Learning

7.2.1. Digital Citizenship


Digital citizenship can be defined as the norms of appropriate, responsible behavior with regard to technology use.

It is important to know how to be a good citizen in the digital realm. Provided below are some resources.




7.2.2. Communication


The ability to effectively communicate is probably one of the most important life skills. Communication is a two-way process. Simply put, effective communication is getting your message across to the receiver. It is the sender’s responsibility to make sure that the receiver gets the message and that the message received is understood.

It is not easy, and we all have had experiences where our communication failed or ran into a barrier Barriers are behaviors or perceptions that prevent people from communicating effectively, like negative attitudes or lack of motivation to communicate. Barriers keep us from understanding other’s ideas and thoughts and can appear at any point.

In order to be an effective communicator, you must monitor the effectiveness of your communication at all times and adjust your strategies to increase understanding, overcome barriers, and respond in an appropriate way.

Tools and strategies


  • Discussion - Suggested questions:
    • Why do you think it’s important to know how to communicate effectively?
    • What does active listening do for you? What does it require?
    • What are characteristics of effective communicators? How about ineffective communicators?

7.2.3. Collaboration


Collaboration is the process of two or more people or organizations working together to realize shared goals. Collaboration is very similar to cooperation. Most collaboration requires some form of leadership. As teams engage in collaborative problem solving, collaboration requires communication and encourages reflection on behavior.

Collaborative learning is based on the model that knowledge create is social - that is, knowledge can be created within a group where members actively interact, share experiences and take on different roles.

Collaborative learning is manifested when groups of students work together to search for understanding, meaning, or solutions or to create an artifact or product of their learning For example, in our Actimator sessions, learners and leaders work together to learn game design (and computer science concepts) and create a game .Unlike individual learning, people engaged in collaborative learning capitalize on one another’s resources and skills (asking one another for information, evaluating one another’s ideas, monitoring one another’s work, etc.).

Tools & Strategies


  • Discussion questions:
    • Ultimately, we are all responsible for our own learning. Then why is collaborative learning important?
    • Any thoughts about the importance of collaboration in general?

7.2.4. Problem Solving


Problem Solving involves finding solutions to problems. In the context of game design in a group setting, that can mean anything from resolving technical problems (debugging) to resolving conflict between team members.

Tools & Strategies

  • Critical thinking is exercising or involving careful judgment or evaluation, e.g., judging the possibility of an idea or product. Critical thinking is a very important skill to develop as . The ability to think critically is a valuable tool.
  • Creative thinking is having unusual ideas and innovative thoughts, able to put things together in new and imaginative ways. It is like thinking outside of the box.
  • Finding / Getting Help: It is important to keep in mind that all learners have trouble understanding things sometimes. If this happens to you, make sure you get the help you need right away!
  • If you are having trouble understanding – reread slowly, organize, review, and search for information.
  • If that doesn’t work, ask someone (teacher, leader, peer/classmate). Working with someone else will help you achieve more than you would be able to alone.
  • Knowing when and how to ask questions might be the most important thing you’ll ever learn. Not only will it help you learn, asking questions will help you accomplish your goals and feel good about yourself because you will gain insight, understanding, and skills that you can use in all areas of your life. When seeking for help, ask questions that will give you hints to get “unstuck” when you are stuck. Asking questions that start with “why?” or “how?” are good ways to do this. Remember the 5W1H strategy!


  • Trouble-shooting activities in Actimator: For each challenge, run the game to find what the problem is and a solution to fix it. Important: Make sure you are logged in before clicking on the challenge links below.

7.2.5. Leadership

Envision, Enable, Empower, Energize!


  • Setting direction, vision, goals
  • Using management skills to guide people to the right destination, in a smooth and efficient way
  • Motivating and inspiring people to engage,
  • Creating positive, open and collaborative environment to keep teams working effectively together
  • Coaching and guiding teams, while instilling a sense of autonomy within their teams
  • Dealing with wide variety of diverse audiences effectively, while making everyone feel important: utilizing each person’s unique skills and maximizing potential
  • Embracing change
  • Communicating clearly, concisely, and frequently – and engaging in two-way communication

Tools & Strategies

  • Tools - understand how, when, and why to deploy tools at different parts of the process.
  • Organization - create structure from chaos by using tools such as plans, schedules and checklists
  • Time Management - prioritize, respect other people’s (teammates’) time, facilitate efficient discussions, change
  • Communication is key! - already covered
  • Problem-Solving abilities - already covered
  • Assessing Emotions: a good leader reads the situation and the people’s state of mind and reacts accordingly.



  • Assessing and Reacting to Situations
  • Discussion Questions:
    • What are the characteristics of good leader? (popcorn)
      • Effective leaders tend to be both likeable and assertive - confident, self-assured, but also humble
    • What are different forms of leadership? How does peer leadership differ?


Leadership guide