By Sam Piha
Bernie Trilling is the co-author of "21st Century Skills: Learning for Life in Our Times" and former global director of the Oracle Education Foundation. A more complete bio follows this interview.
Mr. Trilling's book introduces a framework for 21st Century learning that maps out the skills needed to survive and thrive in a complex and connected world. To read more about or purchase this book, click here.
Q: Why are the 21st century learning skills that you discuss in your book important to young people’s development?
A: There are at least three good reasons that the skills detailed in the book are so important to young people’s development:
1) These are the proven skills that lead to success in learning, in work, and in family and community life – problem-solving, communicating clearly, working together collaboratively, using technology to find reliable information and to communicate with others, coming up with creative ideas and solutions – these are the core skills we all need to thrive in our complex and challenging times.
2) These skills help us answer questions we care about, help us creatively solve everyday problems, and help motivate us to explore and learn new things everyday, making learning meaningful, relevant, deep, memorable, and when working well on a good project with your friends, a whole lot of fun!
3) These skills help us apply what we learn to the real world, helping us tackle the big challenges of our times – getting a good education and a job with a decent income, living peacefully with others that have different ideas and values, doing what we can to solve our environmental and energy problems, and the list goes on. We really need compassionate, creative and critical thinkers and doers these days!
Q: How do the Learning in Afterschool learning principles correspond to the 21st century learning skills?
A:The five Learning in Afterschool principles are perfectly aligned with a 21st century learning approach – active, meaningful, collaborative learning projects that provide opportunities to expand one’s horizons and master important knowledge and skills – this is the heart of 21st century learning.
Bernie Trilling is a 21st century learning expert, advisor, author, and the former global director of the Oracle Education Foundation, where he directed the development of education strategies, partnerships, and services for the Foundation and its ThinkQuest programs. He has served as Board Member of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills and co-chaired the committee that developed the highly regarded “rainbow” learning framework. He has written dozens of articles for educational journals and magazines and is a featured speaker at numerous educational conferences.