21st Century Organizational Skills

What is 21st Century Organization?

It may be noticeable that this is the only major thread in the independent learning category with a “gimmicky” name. That’s because, as we all already know, teaching kids organization isn’t new, it often isn’t fun, and it definitely doesn’t feel like the most innovative step to building 21st Century students. Simply put though, it is. It may actually be the area in which educators are most selling our students short, because the practices of adults are caught in the past, so therefore the skills we pass down are.

If you have pursued through this site at all, you have noticed the the focus on digital literacy and independent learning. Organization skills are the most fundamental factor to these traits.

Organization and Independent Learning

Consider it in terms of the Independent Learning Thinking Hierarchy and Bloom’s Taxonomy. 

Bloom’s Taxonomy from the Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching. Thinking hierarchy original content by Danielle Strohmeyer.

Often, we as teachers mistakenly believe we are having our students “create original works”, when really all we are doing is having them apply the skills they have learned. Don’t be mistaken, application and the problem solving/critical thinking it requires is an important skill, but it is not creation.

Creation requires innovation, inspiration, and other harder to teach skills, but more so, it requires organization.

Think about the typical assignment. You define the task for kids; you create the schedule for them, and you create check points for them to meet. This is not utilizing the highest levels of creation, however.

True creation requires the ability to organize oneself beyond the teacher. It means scheduling, identifying & accessing resources, and maintaining the order of those resources. It also means creating a product the meets the quality and standards of an organized mind.

Organization and the SAMR Model

Just like with Bloom’s, the SAMR Model works to elevate educational tasks to higher levels, focusing on digital skills. And just like above, the utilization of these skills calls for higher level organizational skills in order to be accomplished. Redefining a task means redefining our understanding and expectations of learners in light of technology development. It means organizing digital tools and resources in ways that we use to organize papers. From desktops to bookmarks, check out the strategies and ideas below to elevate instruction.

Check out Using 21st Century Tools to Create Organizational Habits for great ideas to elevate traditional organization to higher levels.


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