21st Century Skills

Leveling Up Language Learners’ 21st-Century Skills with Minecraft

“Can we set the story in Minecraft?”We had been working for several weeks on a storytelling unit in my ESL classes in 2012. We had read and analysed short stories, examined the grammar of narrative tenses, looked into setting, character descriptions and developing plots. It was time to create our own stories.Yet, one group was struggling for ideas. I needed to intervene. I suggested taking inspiration from a story they knew. What films had they watched recently? Were there any popular TV shows to use as a starting point?“Or video games,” one student suggested.

How This Business Simulation Prepared My Students for 21st-Century Careers

High-schooler Caitlyn sits in front of a computer on the campus of Rider University, frantically scanning various pop-ups on her screen. Business reports, market trends and price fluctuations race through her mind, as she seeks the one piece of information she needs. Her team is spending the day figuring out how to effectively sell bottled water in three German provinces— all while competing against six other groups doing the same.

Playing Games Can Build 21st-Century Skills. Research Explains How.

As anyone who’s ever spent hours hunched over Candy Crush can attest, there’s something special about games. Sure they’re fun, but they can also be absorbing, frustrating, challenging and complex.

School Needs a Redesign, and Educators Can Lead the Way

Imagine yourself back in a classroom. You’re not taking English or history or pre-calculus; the sign on the door says “Obstacles.” You enter and on the board is your first assignment: create something—a drawing, a model of a house, a sketch of a new product, a sculpture. You do, and then as you step back, the teacher steps forward and smashes your creation. And tells you your next assignment is to pick up the pieces (including yourself) and make something new.

This District Rolled Out Minecraft and Teacher Collaboration Skyrocketed

When Roanoke County Public Schools gathered educators for their first training in how to teach with Minecraft: Education Edition (M:EE), “you could hear the rumble in the room,” says Jeff Terry, the district’s director of technology. That was early 2018. Today, his district is among the top ten for M:EE usage worldwide.

Computer Science Now More Than an Elective for University of California Admissions

At campuses that teach the subject, computer science is often offered as an elective at high schools in California. But now, for prospective University of California students, that course can count as a science requirement on college applications, too.

In the Future, Today’s Education Will Look Like ‘19th-Century Medicine’

By most measures, Massachusetts is one of the nation’s highest-performing states when it comes to K-12 education. It ranks first in the country on lists from Education Week and U.S.

Game-Based Learning Is Changing How We Teach. Here's Why.

Dan White, the co-founder and CEO of Filament Games, an educational video game developer based in Madison, WI, knows from personal experience that kids can get a lot more out of video games than entertainment, sharpened reflexes and enviable manual dexterity. Back in the '90s he was a devotee of Civilization, a game where players run an empire from the dawn of time to the Space Age. “Along that timeline you make all sorts of interesting strategic decisions about your empire,” says White. “Now I run a 40-person ‘empire’ at Filament.

For Today’s Kids, Playing Nintendo in the Classroom Isn’t Just a Dream

All those ‘90s kids who used to try sneaking their Game Boys into class and playing discreetly under their desks—to no avail, of course—may soon be feeling like they were born in the wrong decade.The gaming devices aren’t being treated as contraband anymore, at least not in the 100 K-12 schools that have welcomed Nintendo products into their classrooms this year to help students develop collaboration, creativity, critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Can Designing Video Games Help Kids Gain Hard and Soft Skills?

Steve Isaacs has long identified as a gamer. And when he’s not spending time with some of his favorites—StarCraft and Hearthstone—he’s teaching middle school students how to build their own.Isaacs, an educator at William Annin Middle School in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, teaches two classes on designing video games: a semester-long elective for eighth graders and a six-week course for seventh graders.

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