The 21st Century Fluencies are not about hardware, they are about headware and heartware.
We need to move our thinking beyond our primary focus on traditional literacy to an additional set of 21st-century fluencies that reflect the times we live in. That’s the essence of the 21st Century Fluencies! Today, it’s essential that all of our students have a wide range of skills that develop the ability to function within a rapidly changing society—skills far beyond those that were needed in the 20th century. These skills are not about technological prowess. The essential 21st Century Fluencies are not about hardware; they are about headware and heartware! This means critical thinking, problem-solving, creativity, innovation, and so much more. These aren’t just for the students, though. The 21st Century Fluencies are process skills that we all need, and there is as much benefit in cultivating them within yourself as within your classroom.
It’s easy for us to say that kids need exceptional problem-solving skills. But what do these skills look like in the real world? What do they look like in the classroom? How do we teach them? How can students learn them? How can we assess them? We had the same questions, which is what led to the creation of the 21st century Fluencies. These are all structured processes for developing essential skills that our students need to succeed, both today and in the future. Below is a brief overview of the Fluencies, which are outlined extensively in the book Literacy is Not Enough, (Crockett, Lee et. al.; 2011) and which you can experience in our professional learning opportunities.