The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) was founded to bring together schools, businesses, the government, and community to develop goals and solutions that ensure students gain the skills they need to successfully meet the challenges of our rapidly changing world. After working for several years, P21 developed the 4Cs model, which in addition to the 3R’s traditionally taught in school, focused on the need to help students develop skills in: critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication.
Wixie is an online creativity and communication tool that requires students to think creatively as they develop, implement, and effectively communicate new ideas to others. Students can use Wixie's cloud-based digital canvas to work together to creatively communicate their ideas, understanding, and thinking in a way that both engages with academic content and builds 21st century skills.Critical Thinking
Wixie is blank screen software, a place for students to share their thinking. To ensure their work develops critical thinking skills, Wixie assignments need to challenge students with questions and tasks that promote deep thinking and move them away from providing answers they have simply copied and pasted from other sources.
As they begin to grapple with essential questions that lead to more questions and desire to know, students can use Wixie to take notes as they conduct research, use graphic organizers to organize the information they find, develop their own diagrams to illustrate connections between ideas, and design presentations and reports they share online with their community.
Educators can also use Wixie to help students build specific thinking skills with activities that help them learn to categorize, deconstructing big ideas into component parts, identify relationships, and organize their inquiry.Communication
New definitions of literacy take into account advances in technology that allow us to learn and share information through multimedia forms of communication. Wixie provides students with an opportunity to build 21st century literacy skills that not only include communicating with text, but “showing rather than telling” through a combination of text, images, music, and voice narration.
Students can use Wixie to write, narrate, illustrate, diagram, and design their own ebooks, public service announcements, trading cards, comics, and more, building media literacy skills essential to life in the 21st century.
Most Wixie classroom projects start with textual forms of communication as students write to share their ideas. As they write they organize their thinking and move outward to other forms of media communication. If a picture communicates more quickly or effectively, they can draw, capture, or add one. If voice narration can better help them connects with their audience, they have the opportunity to practice intonation and expression through voice recording. If a visual diagram is complicated, they can circle back to add text labels text to communicate ideas more clearly.
Because student work in Wixie is online, it can be shared instantly and easily. If we want to engage students in their learning, we need to give student projects an authentic audience that values and benefits from their work. Students can use Wixie to easily broadcast their ideas through the Web to raise awareness, share ideas, and effect change.Creativity
Wixie provides multiple pathways for students to share ideas and information. While Wixie includes many options for using visuals, creativity isn’t about art or painting pictures. Students can use whatever combination of text, pictures, and audio best communicates their ideas or the information they want to share.
Creative project work in Wixie results from questions and tasks that have no obvious right answer. Providing a highly-specific template that spells out exactly what a project must contain, leaves no room for students’ creativity, not to mention student thinking. This doesn’t mean you can’t add directions or requirements; just make sure you are having thoughtful discussions with students about what constitutes high-quality and effective work.
Give students Wixie assignments that require creative thinking and provide choice during project work. Expect that every project will look different because each student is a unique individual and learner. Transfer responsibility for learning and demonstrations of that learning, by asking students to take control of the process and project design.Collaboration
While many students hate collaborating and teachers find it difficult to assess in a world filled with individual testing, teamwork is at or near the top of almost every list of today’s necessary career skills. To build these skills in our students, we need to provide opportunities for them to work together in situations where the outcome matters.
Collaborating exposes us to different perspectives and leads to more diverse and varied ideas, especially when the group is heterogeneous. Having students work together to achieve a goal helps them recognize the value of the contributions and perspectives of all team members and prepares them for life in the 21st century.
In addition to the ability to import pages to collect work from individual team members into one final team project, Wixie includes a Team features that lets students collaborate in real-time! Teachers can create and assign team projects before students begin work, but students can add other classmates to a project even if they have already begun working. (Teachers are automatically added to team projects created by their students).
As they are working on their Team projects, students build collaborative skills as they:
- work together to choose project direction,
- assign roles and tasks to individual members, and
- collect feedback and edit the combined efforts of their work.
There are many right ways to build the 4Cs in your classroom. Wixie provides a powerful platform you can use to engage learners in the curriculum as well as build these essential 21st century skills.