Last week, I met with one of my mentors, Darlene Burton, about the application of 21st century skills in the NSCC curricula.
I have been unable to determine how NSCC is identifying concerns related to 21st century skills training, and my discussions with mentors indicates that much of this is being identified anecdotally by faculty who see gaps in critical thinking among their students.
My mentor discussed Bloom’s Taxonomy , which presents different levels of critical thinking skills. To summarize Bloom’s:
Level 1- Knowledge: students can recall information, fundamental facts and concepts
Level 2- Comprehension: students demonstrate understanding of facts by being able to compare, contrast, summarize, infer.
Level 3 – Application: students can apply learning to new situations.
Level 4 – Analysis: students can make inferences.
Level 5 – Synthesis: students can compile information in different ways to create new solutions.
The goal is that students can move beyond levels 1 and 2 so that they recognise and understand the critical thinking processes, a key 21st century skill, in their coursework. This sometimes requires more explicit instruction, since students do not always recognise the link between higher level questions and course objectives.
The 21st century skills element of Information Literacy incorporates the need for critical thinking in managing and using information. Students should be able to:
- Access information efficiently and effectively.
- Evaluate information critically and competently.
- Use information accurately and creatively for the problem at hand.
- Manage information flow from multiple sources.
- Understand ethical and legal uses of information.
Over the next few months, I plan to discuss with NSCC librarians how they address these elements.