Teaching 21st century skills to high school students utilizing a project management framework

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Williamson, Charles David

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Educators, researchers, and government officials have concluded that today’s students, at all levels of the educational system, are lacking in the skills needed to ensure their success in the workplace. This awareness is driving a movement to change educational curricula to include skills training in the areas of communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity. Collectively, these areas make up what are called “21st Century Skills.” The question becomes how to develop a program that effectively teaches these skills to students and how to get that program implemented into a usable curriculum. This thesis asserts that the direct study and application of the framework and specifically identified processes of project management (i.e. the key fundamental elements) is an effective methodology for building a foundation upon which to teach students “21st Century Skills”. Using the term “direct study” means that students are explicitly taught key terms, concepts, and processes of project management and then instructed to implement them in a project. The distinction being made here is the belief that, whereas some types of skills are better learned by simply doing, introduction to 21st century skills should be prefaced with some amount of theory and discussion and then reinforced with practical application. Several of the student project management programs discussed in Chapter 3 offer data that backs up this assertion. Additionally, a course outline for a proposed high school curriculum to teach students the key fundamental elements of project management is included in Appendix A.



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