21st Century skills – no tech in sight. Just rope and imagination.

I was reflecting this afternoon on the hackneyed term “21st Century Skills/Learning”, after having had an awesome time with my 9 PASS (Physical Activity and Sport Studies) elective class. I worked with some 21st Century Learners and it blew me away.
Let me set the scene. It was Period 5 (the last lesson of our day). We have started a unit called “What would Bear Grylls do?” which is all about preparing for a camping trip next year. Our theory lesson yesterday involved watching Bear Grylls (on video) make some shelters and give some tips. The students then created a “How To’ guide, that they had to put into practice today. The students had to build a survival shelter, purely out of whatever they could find in the bush at the back of our school. They were allowed to bring one thing with them – something that wouldn’t look out of place in a backpack on a camping trip – to help them construct their shelter. No sharp objects allowed. Their “assessment” was that one of their group had to be able to lay in the shelter for a photo. And that it had to be standing in 4 weeks time!
With that intentionally sketchy brief, the kids went off to work. I’ll post some photos when I bring the camera home, but the results for 1 HOUR’S work are quite amazing I reckon.
As I said at the start, I was reflecting on “21st Century skills” after I got home. Some people seem to think that they’re completely different from whatever skills kids have had in the past. And that they invariably/inevitably go hand in hand with some sort of electronic technology. Granted, there are some that are features of a modern world, and that are facilitated with tech.  I definitely saw the following in spades this afternoon – they come under “Career and Life Skills” :
Flexibility and Adaptability
Initiative and Self Direction
Social and Cross Cultural Skills
Productivity and Accountability
Leadership and Responsibility

All done without a screen, device or app. Actually, mostly done with sticks and leaves and a bit of string.

I love my technology and the advantages it can give me,  but a bit of playtime with your mates, using the simplest tools and your imagination in the outdoors is all you need sometimes to build capacity in “21st Century ” learners. I love my job.

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