Saturday, September 21, 2013

Metaliteracy as a definition of 21st Century Learning Skills

This great recent ‘insight’ by Kumar Snehansu nails it! He observes that: “Education today is much more about ways of thinking which involves everyday creative and critical approaches to problem-solving and decision-making. It is also about ways of working as well as the tools they require, such as the capacity to recognize and exploit the potential of new technologies and methods of teaching. These citizens influence what they want to learn and how they want to learn it, and it is this desire and inclination that shapes the role of educators.
So, whether you are a student, a teacher, or just a lifelong learner, Snehansu’s post covers all the bases:

  • Become a self-teacher– Its true definition can be quoted as ‘building the ability to learn without the exclusive teaching of a teacher or other such authority figure (parents, tutor, etc.)’. This is very different from learning being just an instruction designed to help students consume existing bodies of knowledge and actually this is the ultimate goal of any education system.

  • Application based knowledge– building a broad set of basic skills needed by everyone for life and work in the 21st century. This is a totally different approach of education by encouraging students to accumulate knowledge-based credentials only but instead applying the skills online on various real-time contests and scenarios.

  • Sharers not just consumers of knowledge– using knowledge to develop new knowledge, as opposed to ‘getting’ existing knowledge and having no contribution of oneself. Using blogs and other forums to have detailed discussions and debates on topics.

  • Helping mentally challenged co-students globally– instead of pressurizing them to cover their tracks they should be allowed to work at their own pace, and in contexts of interest to them. It is the opposite of ‘one-size-fits-all’ approaches.

  • Generating Multi-tasking skills – such as analyzing, synthesizing, creative thinking, and practical thinking and so on. The 21st century expects that these would be developed implicitly, not just via exposure to the traditional subjects.

  • Add to ‘right brain thinking’– the idea that ‘left brain thinking’ (logical, analytic, detail-oriented thinking) is necessary, but no longer sufficient, and ‘right brain thinking (aesthetic, synthesizing, simultaneous, ‘big picture’ thinking) is now just as important.

  • Developing collaborative skills – people skills and emotional intelligence has become more easy and compulsory both for a good network.

Isn't this metacognition and metaliteracy in a nutshell?

Snehansu, Kumar. "What Students Should Know About 21st Century Learning?." EdTechReview. N.p., 14 Sept. 2013. Web. 21 Sept. 2013. <>.

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