There are two phrases of late that may soon be retired from the Tech&Learning lexicon. The first—“21st century skills.” It’s 2012. What about “present-day skills”? Here’s another—BYOD. I will admit to using it on our cover back in March 2011 but, at this point, why define it at all? A CDW-G survey released last month says 77 percent of teachers are using more classroom technology today than just two years ago, including laptops/netbooks, smartphones, or whatever students may have with them. Using the term BYOD is like having a phrase for electricity.
Not everyone agrees with me. When I mentioned in our daily newsletter that these phrases were on the chopping block, the rough estimate ran about two-thirds against me. Author and educator Frank Baker (www.frankwbaker.com) wrote: “I am willing to bet there are many MORE educators who don’t know what 21st century skills are and have no idea what the letters BYOD mean… IMHO, those phrases ought to stick around.” Rochelle Wooten, an educational technology specialist for Fort Bend Independent School District (TX) concurred: “Until more teachers can identify what those 21st century skills are, we need to keep using the verbiage.” At least Greg Limperis, founder of the Technology Integration in Education Web site (www.technologyintegrationineducation.com) sided with me: “At what point during the 21st century will they become 22nd century skills? Will we always wait until we reach 2050, 2150, and so on before we think of leading towards the next century or can we focus on getting teachers prepared for today instead?”
What are your thoughts?
— Kevin Hogan