New Stars Arise


To Support the New Literacy


The skills needed for success in the twenty-first century workplace are a potent reminder to today’s educators. We have a mandate to produce good thinkers and adept problem solvers.  These inherent qualities, in turn, are grounded in the mastery of creative and critical thinking skills.

The new millennial workplace emphasizes a person’s ability to know how to learn rather than concentrating solely on their current background knowledge (Cennamo, Ross. & Ertmer,  2009).  Therefore, the candidates with critical cognitive skills, as well as the appropriate technological knowhow and background knowledge, can transfer their current abilities to ever evolving circumstances (Cennamo et al, 2009).  Needless to say, this is an extremely valuable commodity for the employer. Importantly, each of the above mentioned characteristics, when taught holistically, inform and enhance each other.

Effective lesson plans are best situated in an authentic, collaborative, student-centered setting where the material has personal meaning for the learner. Resultantly, as the teacher adopts the role of facilitator, the students are given increasing responsibility for their own learning.  This setting for content knowledge building highlights the need for critical thinking skills and self-directed learning abilities. Concomitantly, the pupils must be taught strategies that include goal setting followed by appropriate actions.  They must also be encouraged to continuously monitor their progress via reflections and meta cognitive techniques.  Lastly, they need to evaluate their results (Laureate Education, 2012).

Technology complements the acquisition of these skills. In order to meet the challenges of open-ended inquiry, technological techniques allow the student enormous flexibility in knowledge acquisition (Laureate Education, 2012). Tutorials, on-line collaboration, and simulations that emplace learning within authentic canvases are only part of the cornucopia of discovery offered by technology (Cennamo et al, 2009).    In addition, technical knowhow allows the learner to make cross-curricular connections, as well as undergirding learning with word processors, video editors, spreadsheets, flowcharts, and data bases (Cennamo et al, 2009).   It also gives students access to historical figures, events and locales not normally found in their purlieu (Cennamo et al, 2009).   Finally, technology provides an authentic audience via blogs and wikis that can promote additional perspectives and analogies which, in turn, support challenges to conventional thinking (Cennamo et al, 2009).   

As we can see, each of the abovementioned characteristics is intertwined with the others.  At the center, self-directed learning is dependent upon critical thinking skills and a solid background in content-related basics. In order to exploit its potentialities, self-directed learning relies heavily on technological tools. Problem solving skills naturally emerge from this configuration. This, in turn, informs creative thinking, adds to the content as well as the technological knowledge base, and facilitates the path of heuristic enquiry.


Cennamo, K., Ross, J. & Ertmer, P. (2009). Technology integration for meaningful classroom
        use: A standards-based approach. (Laureate Education, Inc., Custom ed.). Belmont, CA:
Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.
Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2012) [Motion picture]. Program One.   “Promoting Self-
Directed Learning with Technology.” Baltimore: Cennamo, K.
Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2012) [Motion picture]. Program Two. “Promoting
Creative Thinking with Technology.” Baltimore: Cennamo, K.


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