In 2013, Wagner told the NY Times' Tom Friedman how this is playing out, stating:
Today, because knowledge is available on every Internet-connected device, what you know matters far less than what you can do with what you know. The capacity to innovate — the ability to solve problems creatively or bring new possibilities to life — and skills like critical thinking, communication and collaboration are far more important than academic knowledge. As one executive told me, ‘We can teach new hires the content, and we will have to because it continues to change, but we can’t teach them how to think — to ask the right questions — and to take initiative.’ ”
- Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
- Collaboration Across Networks and Leading by Influence
- Agility and Adaptability
- Initiative and Entrepreneurialism
- Effective Oral and Written Communication
- Accessing and Analyzing Information
- Curiosity and Imagination
Creativity is not limited to just the arts. In order to come up with novel solutions to problems we have to be able to think outside the box and tap into our creative minds to make new connections. Schools should be helping students recognize their innate creative abilities outside of the typical academic fields. We each have our own strengths and we just need to find them and tap into them.
Focus is the ability to sit down and get things done. I see kids all the time who struggle to complete a simple assignment. They are too easily distracted by the constant inundation of social interactions and digital media made possible by the latest technological gadget. If we expect these young people to be able to concentrate on the things they need to do, perhaps we can figure out ways to help them learn to tune out the distractions and really put in the time to grow these critical skills.
In my classroom I hope that I am able to teach lessons and guide students towards all of these critical survival skills. I want my students to be ready for whatever challenges come their way and to contribute to society. In science classes I think that the biggest part of that will be to encourage curiosity through inquiry and project-based learning. I want students to learn to seek out information and new answers, solve problems that are put in front of them. Work and collaborate with their peers to productively analyze data of various types to create solutions to the world's troubles.