At SchoolAmanda Vaden
A young boy sits in a classroom working on an assignment.

Here at Sphero, we talk a lot about 21st Century Skills, and we’re certain you’ve heard A LOT about them. (The phrase has become somewhat of a buzzword.) But what are 21st Century Skills and which are the most important? Well, the short answer is they’re all important, but we’ll dive into each one a bit further here and how to best implement the right activities and curriculum to achieve them as goals.

What are 21st Century Skills?

While the list is long, it’s important to remember that these skills all fit within three categories: learning skills, literacy skills and life skills. Take a look at our comprehensive list below. 

Learning Skills 

  • Critical thinking - The ability to find solutions to problems.
  • Creativity - The ability to think “outside of the box”.
  • Collaboration - The ability to work together with others.
  • Communication - The ability to talk/write effectively with and to others.

Literacy Skills 

  • Information literacy - The ability to identify, find, evaluate, and use information effectively.
  • Media literacy - The ability to identify different types of media and evaluate and understand the messages received through each.
  • Technology literacy - The ability to use, manage, evaluate, and understand technology.

    Life Skills

    • Flexibility - The ability to adapt to new situations, improvise, and shift strategies to achieve a goal/outcome. 
    • Leadership - The ability to set goals, walk a team through the steps required, and achieve those goals collaboratively.
    • Initiative - The ability to take charge of working toward a goal.
    • Productivity - The ability to achieve a goal using these skills: setting and meeting deadlines, prioritizing needs, managing time, working ethically, collaborating and cooperating with others.
    • Social skills - The ability to connect and interact with others. 

    You may be asking yourself, why, with everything students are expected to learn, are these skills so important? Not only do 21st Century Skills provide a foundation for successful learning in school, they also help to ensure students are successful outside of the classroom, in real-world scenarios in life and future workplaces where change is inevitable. While developing academic skill sets are crucial, 21st Century Skills allow for a student to become a well-rounded, adjusted and socialized adult human being who will ultimately contribute to a nation’s society. 

    Hands-on learning through play-based activities are one of the most key factors in developing these skills early on in the classroom. From working in small teams to achieve a goal, to brainstorming new ways to approach an existing problem, these types of activities and curriculum offer students the chance to learn a core subject matter, in addition to lifelong skills needed for continued success. 

    At school