What are the 21st Century skills needed inside the classroom?

Want to learn the 4 Cs for 21st Century skills in the classroom? Thanks to Twitter, I found them. I watch social media closely and it's my job to share some of the hot topics on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and other outlets that teachers, principals, students, and parents are contributing.

Mr. Zac Leonard posted an infographic on his Twitter account explaining the 4Cs for 21st Century skills in the classroom. The 4Cs listed are communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity. All four of these items are essential inside the 21st Century classroom. These could be the 4Cs for any century classroom as all of these skills are timeless and highly valued not only inside the classroom, but in all professions.

21st century skills

Communication is about sharing thoughts, questions, ideas, and solutions. In the technological age, it's much easier and, at the same time, harder to communicate. Technology has provided us with more convenient ways to communicate, but sometimes the various ways can become overwhelming. In addition, the communication can become more about the tech being used than the message you're trying to send. Without effective communication, there's no way to get anything done inside the classroom or anywhere, which is why this is an essential 21st Century skill.

Collaboration is about working together to reach a goal and putting talent, expertise, and smarts to work. Just like with communication, technology has made collaboration easier. Actually, technology takes collaboration a step farther, making types of collaboration possible that weren't before technology. Just like with communication though, the same breakdowns can happen. The number of choices can get overwhelming, and the actual collaboration can get lost while we pay too much attention to the tool we're using to collaborate. As the world goes more interconnected, collaboration will become a more and more essential skill than it already is, which is why it makes the list of the 4Cs for 21st Century skills.

Critical thinking is looking at problems in a new way and linking learning across subjects and disciplines. Just like with the previous two ideas, critical thinking has been an essential skill in every century and profession. However, technology has changed the critical thinking platform. The more technology makes menial tasks such as memorization null and void, the more room that gives us to spend time on more complex thinking skills. However, it's too easy to let technology do the thinking for us, or thinking that it does. In order to succeed in the 21st Century, you have to remember that, no matter how high tech the machine, it's useless without a person telling it what to do and thinking critically about the result.

Creativity is trying new approaches to get things done, innovation, and invention. The 21st Century is a fun time to be creative thanks to technology. Not only are the traditional ways of creativity still available, but there are tons of new possibilities made available. Instead of just painting a picture, you can animate it or arrange a piece of music on a computer without ever learning how to play an instrument. All that said, it's still up to you to put things through the creative process. Whether you're going to tell the world's next bestselling story or you are just trying to find a way to organize your classroom more efficiently, it's up to you to utilize both your own thinking power and the technology at hand to get the creative project done.

Do you agree with these 4 Cs? Which ones would you add? What do you think the future 4 Cs will be?

Tori Pakizer is the Social Media Editor at SimpleK12.com. She writes regularly about the use of educational technology in K-12 classrooms, and specializes in how teachers use Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and other social media. You can follow Tori and SimpleK12 on Twitter @SimpleK12. If you have ideas for using social media in schools, please send your information or tip to editor@simplek12.com.