Knowledge Age skills

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Some views on Knowledge Age Skills

We should not involve ourselves in the ideas and language of the knowledge age without being aware of its contradictions:

"Rather than let a new age of business management principles and technologies set the tone for the whole of this knowledge society, I am suggesting that we would do well to demonstrate publicly the other side of this fascination with knowing. This is the side concerned with knowledge not solely as a form of work, but as a desire and a right to know; not entirely as a means of global competitiveness and dominance, but as an extension of educational opportunities; and not simply as a way of moving beyond the knowledge society, but as a responsibility to realize a cosmopolitan understanding of universal rights and acting on that understanding to effect a greater sense of community." John Willinsky (2005, p 111)

For example, the language and ideas of the knowledge age can allow us to gloss over the inequalities of global society. Consider the emphasis on adaptability, flexibility and the need to engage with change:

"If working people can be persuaded that ‘flexibility’ is an unavoidable feature of contemporary economies, they are more likely to be ‘flexible’ about their jobs disappearing, the need to retrain, deteriorating pay and conditions of work, and so forth." Norman Fairclough (1999, p 72)


Knowledge age skills are valuable skills but when we talk about them and think about them as a 'special' identifying component of our age we are being engaged in a political game...


Some categories of Knowledge Age Skills

There are a number of commercial websites (eg: http://www.millionaire-career.com; http://www.futureproofyourcareer.com;http://www.hpr.co.nz) that identify six Knowledge Age Skills:

• Communication skills

• Team skills

• Adaptability skills

• Computer skills

• Business skills

• Learning skills


Trilling and Hood (1999) identified seven knowledge age skills...The 7Cs

• Critical Thinking-and-Doing - Problem-solving, Research, Analysis, Project Management, etc.

• Creativity - New Knowledge Creation, "Best Fit" Design Solutions, Artful Storytelling, etc.

• Collaboration - Cooperation, Compromise, Consensus, Community-building, etc.

• Cross-cultural Understanding - Across Diverse Ethnic, Knowledge and Organizational Cultures

• Communication - Crafting Messages and Using Media Effectively

• Computing - Effective Use of Electronic Information and Knowledge Tools

• Career & Learning Self-reliance - Managing Change, Lifelong Learning and Career Redefinition

[In Trilling (2003) these 7Cs are multiplied by the 3Rs (Reading, Writing and Arithmetic) to form 21st Century skills - 3Rs X 7Cs = 21st Century Skills]


The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (2002), in their report Learning for the 21st Century identify the following Learning skills for the knowledge age.

Information and Communication Skills

Information and Media Literacy Skills: Analysing, accessing, managing, intergrating, evaluating and creating information in a variety of forms and media. Undrestanding the role of media in society.

Communication Skills: Understanding, managing and creating effective oral, written and mulitimedia communication in a variety of forms and contexts


Thinking and Problem-Solving Skills

Critical Thinking and Systems Thinking: Exercising sound reasoning in understanding and making complex choices, understanding the interconnections among systems

Problem identification, formulation and solution: Ability to frame, analyse and solve problems.

Creativity and Intellectual Curiosity: Developing, implementing and communicating new ideas to others, staying open and responsive to new and diverse perspectives.


Interpersonal and Self-Directional Skills

Interpersonal and Collaborative Skills: Demonstrating teamwork and leadership; adapting to varied roles and responsibilities; working productively with others; exercising empathy; respecting diverse perspectives.

Self-Direction: Monitoring one’s own understanding and learning needs, locating appropriate resources, transfering learning from one domain to another.

Accountability and adaptability: Exercising personal responsibility and flexibility in personal, workplace and community contexts; setting and meeting high standards and goals for one’s self and others; tolerating ambiguity.

Social Responsibility: Acting responsibly with the intersests of the larger community in mind; demonstrating ethical behaviour in personal, workplace and community contexts.


Assessing knowledge age skills

The table below sets out the 'Knowledge Age skills' that we are focussing on - with initial indicators of what different levels of competence might look like ... You can see we are still working on this (and any suggestions you have would be much appreciated).

How about

  • time management
  • flexibility - the ability to adapt to a situation and learn new skills
  • empathy - the ability to understand and react to the feelings of those around you
  • responsibility - being aware that your actions have consequences in terms of people and resources
  • self knowledge - awareness of one's own physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs Fox

Suggested in the Forum: problem solving, lateral thinking, time management, goal setting and group organization.

See also International Society for Technology in Education's National Educational Technology Standards for Students (NETS-S): http://www.iste.org/inhouse/nets/cnets/students/pdf/NETS_for_Students_2007.pdf


The Knowledge Age Skills Framework

Skill Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4

Teamwork

Projects personal characteristics

Receives messages from others, shares goals
Develops processes

Values others, understands roles and changes in roles

Joint problem-solves
Manages relationships

Communication
(from QCA level descriptors)

Selects and uses structures, styles and registers appropriately in a range of contexts. ‘Listens’ with concentration and understanding

Adapts communication for a range of settings and audiences

Makes a range of contribution, demonstrating perceptive listening

Takes a leading role, initiating and sustaining conversation, and reflecting understanding

Leadership

Understands and sets greater goals and purposes

Sets examples, explains

Recognises skills of peers

Applies own and others’ skills productively

Creativity
(http://www.ncaction.org.uk/creativity/spot.htm)

Questions and challenges

Makes connections, sees relationships

Envisages what things might be

Reflects critically on ideas and practice

Motivation

Confidence

Problem solving

References

Fairclough, N. (1999) Global Capitalism and Critical Awareness of Language, Language Awareness, 8, 2, 71–83 - accessed at http://www.multilingual-matters.net/la/008/0071/la0080071.pdf on 12 October 2007

Partnership for 21st Century Skills (2002), Learning for the 21st Century, accessed at http://www.21stcenturyskills.org/downloads/P21_Report.pdf on 08 October 2007

Trilling, B., & Hood, P. (1999). Learning Technology and Education Reform in the Knowledge Age or "We're Wired, Webbed and Windowed, Now What?" Educational Technology, 39, 3, 5-18. accessed at http://www.wested.org/online_pubs/learning_technology.pdf on 08 October 2007

Trilling, B. (2003) The Once and Future Kingdom of Learning Accessed at: http://www.siia.net/upgrade/archive/1011_03/trilling.pdf on 08 October 2007

Willinsky, J. (2005) Just say know? Schooling the knowledge society, Educational Theory, 55, 1, 97-111 accessed at: http://research2.csci.educ.ubc.ca/eprints/archive/00000049/01/Ed_Theory%5B1%5D.pdf on 12 october 2007