About this Research Topic
Much has been written about shifts in educational practice in response to new capabilities and opportunities enabled by innovations in digital technologies and computer networks. But is this discourse comprehensive in its scope for our times? What pedagogical practices are needed to cultivate new sensibilities of discernment in a post-truth world? Indeed, what might ‘common sense’ be morphing into? For around two decades, so-called '21st century skills' have been represented by a range of frameworks focused on development of skills, abilities, and competencies needed by students to be successful 21st century citizens. These have sometimes been reduced to shorthand – the 4Cs (Critical Thinking, Communication, Collaboration, and Creativity) and the 6Cs (add Citizenship and Character). This agenda has signalled a necessary shift in curriculum both in content and structure – particularly in the K-12 sector but also in vocational training and higher education. Arguably, it has become embedded in curricula all over the world although tempered by local and cultural factors. Significantly, this agenda has also pointed to change in pedagogical practice with phrases such as ‘new learning’, ‘flipped classrooms’, ‘new pedagogies’, and ‘self-directed learning’ now commonly used in literature and educational institutions.
Meanwhile, waves of digital innovation and disruption continue. We are yet again navigating through uncharted territory with new opportunities and challenges accompanying big data, niche data, algorithmic engines, artificial intelligence, mixed realities, and the internet of things - all while major global disparities prevail. Moreover, this next wave brings with it terminology such as ‘deep learning’ which is now associated more with machines than humans. So, are the 4Cs or the 6Cs sufficient to facilitate education in the 21st century? For some commentators, they most definitely are not. Where does ‘mindset’ fit into this picture? Is it sufficient to further tweak the growing list of ‘literacies’ needed? What practices are needed to cultivate new sensibilities of discernment and wisdom in a post-truth world? This topic aims to address these questions and to provoke others. A range of contributions is welcome including conceptual articles, original research, and review papers.
Keywords: critical thinking, communication, collaboration, creativity, pedagogy, digital technologies, computer networks, 21st Century Education, curriculum
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