Most schools and institutes employ a set of learning skills to impart knowledge to students in the form of academic development. These skills have changed frequently over the past decades. The 21st-century learning skills are largely categorized into 4 Cs:
In this article, we will talk about the four Cs and how teachers can incorporate them with technology for a brighter future for students.
What Are the 4Cs of 21st Century Education?
The 4Cs of 21st century education: Critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity. With these essential skills, students can learn and grow academically; therefore, each school considers the four Cs vital for success.
1. Critical Thinking
As the term suggests, critical thinking is all about focusing and carefully analyzing information to understand it better. The “left brain” activity is usually associated with critical thinking.
Critical thinking involves using the following abilities:
- Breaking a subject down into parts and examining each part to further note how it fits into the big picture.
- Clearly identifying the types or groups and showing how each category is different from the others.
- Using statements that are logically connected and backed by evidence to conclude a matter.
- Concisely pointing out similarities and differences between different subjects under study.
- Explaining the traits in the form of shape, size, weight, use, origin, color, value, location, condition, etc.
- Being able to explain the meaning of a term using connotation, denotation, examples, synonyms, etymology, and antonyms.
- Explaining what something is or how it works for others to easily understand the concept.
- Evaluating an entity’s worth by comparing it with the accepted value standard.
- Solving problems by analyzing their cause-effect relationship problem and finding a way to stop it.
Clear communication requires the following traits:
- Analyzing the situation.
- Deciding the most appropriate way to deliver a message, ranging from a 400-page report to a face-to-face chat.
- Evaluating messages if they are correct, complete, reliable, authoritative, and up-to-date.
- Carefully paying attention, taking notes, and asking questions
- Decoding written words and images to understand the original communicator’s meaning.
- Conveying ideas using words, tone of voice, body language, gestures, facial expressions, and visual aids.
- Understanding the benefits and limitations of any technological communication: phone calls, emails, and instant messages.
Collaborating includes the ability to:
- Allocate resources and responsibilities to all team members optimally.
- Make decisions for sorting through the many options and arriving at a single point to move forward.
- Brainstorm ideas in a group by suggesting and writing down ideas
- Assign duties to group members.
- Set goals with clear achievable objectives.
- Evaluate the products, processes, and members of the group to understand what’s working well and what requires improvement.
- Resolve conflicts by asserting, cooperating, compromising, competing, or deferring members.
- Lead a group by ensuring all members can contribute as per their abilities.
- Manage time by tracking the progress toward goals.
Creative thinking is an open-ended and expansive invention that has led to the discovery of several possibilities. The “right brain” activity is mostly associated with creative thinking.
Creative thinking abilities include the following:
- Brainstorming ideas and asking a question for even those far-fetched subjects that are impractical or impossible.
- Designing something by finding the connection between function and form with a specific purpose in mind.
- Creating something out of the box by combining materials; the process can take place as per planning or it can even be impulsive.
- Telling stories, singing songs, making jokes, playing games, acting out parts, and making conversation entertaining.
- Improvising a solution, innovating existing plans, and flipping existing perspectives to look at something in a brand-new way.
- Imagining ideas and reaching into the unknown either idly or with great focus, similar to what Einstein did.
- Questioning actively and always seeking information.
Using Technology and 4Cs Together into the Classroom
The 4Cs form the most important skills that students need to learn.
While schools/collage can try hard to model 4Cs in the classroom, it is essential for students to learn and practice these skills on their own. Experts suggest that students need to take accountability and ownership of their own learning.
Technology is a great way to impart knowledge, and it can be effectively used as a platform for students to develop the essential 4 Cs.
Here are a few easy ways to integrate technology and 4 Cs together.
1. For Critical Thinking
Online research and an in-class debate are great ways to promote critical thinking among students. As mentioned earlier, evaluating arguments and evidence form the foundations of strong critical thinking skills. Students should be able to conduct thorough research, think independently, clearly recognize bias, and neatly construct their arguments. By making students carry out extensive online research, teachers can evaluate their evidence for strengths and weaknesses, and later on, hold a class debate on the given topic. For the initial few sessions, students may be allowed to work in groups on the project as well.
2. For Communication
Online forums are the best way to go about it. Teachers can use online forums (an online message board, for instance) for small groups or the entire class as a means to promote healthy discussions. Online forums can encourage students to communicate because not every student is comfortable speaking up in class. These platforms give shy students a stage to freely express themselves without pressuring them to speak in front of the entire class.
To begin with online communication, students should be encouraged to only carry out constructive discussions in class. Ensure their statements are backed by solid facts, and train them in using proper English to enhance their writing and communication skills.
3. For Collaboration
Online Peer review is a great way to encourage collaboration among students. Students can upload their respective assignments on a class board online and then receive feedback on them. The collaboration begins when they also give feedback to their classmates on their submissions. Teachers can present students with guidelines on how to provide constructive feedback, which is further backed by what they have learned in class.
4. For Creative Thinking
Various digital liberal arts activities or online writing can help promote creative thinking. Writing can always spark creativity, so teachers can encourage blogging so that students can write, edit, and publish any piece of work freely. Encouraging students to post comments on their peers’ posts can further online discussions that lead to healthy communication, collaboration as well as critical thinking.
Other creative activities beyond writing include the following:
- Online drawing tools
- Photography apps (Photo Collage makers, online background remover, typography, etc.)
- Videography software
- Podcasting technology
These platforms can help students pour out their creative juices while they continue exploring new ideas and topics.
Benefits of Technology in the Classroom
Technology has transformed how we lead lives today. It has changed how classrooms are like 50—or even 10—years ago. Schools are promptly changing traditional chalkboards with digital whiteboards. With distant (online) education, learning institutes have also promoted the use of laptops and tablets.
Here are some of the ways educational technology improves the classroom experience:
When used correctly, technology is not merely a distraction. In fact, it can encourage students to actively participate in your classroom discussions. Devices like a computer, tablet, or smartphone can be used in the classroom to make traditionally dull topics and subjects interesting, interactive and so much fun to learn.
Different Learning Styles
Every child is different, consequently, it can be difficult for teachers to design their learning plan to fit every student’s understanding. Thankfully, using technology to impart knowledge can help teachers modify lessons so that every student can grasp the basic concept. For instance, an instructional design approach in the classroom can give students a tailored experience that is beneficial for them.
With technology within classrooms, teachers can witness an increased degree of students helping each other in figuring out technology usage. Many technology-based tasks involve a host of aspects to learn, which makes students seek help from the teacher or their peers When students are part of project small groups, the more technologically advanced students can easily assist their inexperienced peers, leading to bonding.
Preparing Students for the Future
As per research¹ conducted by CompTIA, nine out of 10 students preferred using technology in the classroom as they believed it would help them prepare for the future. When teachers help students develop their PowerPoint skills, they are gearing them up for future success. With instructional technology in the classroom, students can be prepared for basic digital demands that will help them start out their careers.
Connect with Students
Technology can help bridge the gap between teachers and students. It can especially help teachers form better relationships with their students as well as colleagues. As per research², 84% of teachers report that browsing the internet once a week helped them find engaging content to impart to students.
Using technology to instruct your class can be a great asset if used correctly. Gear up the techie inside you to help students practice and enhance the 4 Cs of classroom learning. You don’t have to go all out. Start out slowly, with easy-to-use technology, and take help from colleagues if required. The internet offers hundreds of tools, apps, and resources for students to develop their 4 Cs skills.
Ready to enhance your students’ 4 Cs of classroom learning? Start by incorporating technology into your lessons! With Scalefusion MDM, you can easily manage and monitor devices to ensure a seamless and safe learning experience. Sign up today to discover the best tools, apps, and resources for your classroom and help your students prepare for their future. Don’t wait, take the first step towards transforming your teaching and sign up now!