SYSTEMS THINKING & 21st Century Skills

"Education is not the learning of facts, but training the mind to think"- Albert Einstein

Purpose

This class rests upon 3 areas of cognition that are intertwined when applied in the real world: Problem Solving, Systems Thinking, and 21st Century Skills.  Immersion-based learning is the framework by which this class will teach you how to apply and improve your abilities and understanding in these 3 important areas by allowing you to assume various roles inside simulations that put you in the cognitive space of facing real-world type challenges or their parallels. The goal is to begin forming your mental strategies for understanding systems, problem-solving, and being able to communicate and collaborate with others to accomplish project goals.

Unlike some topics you will study before graduating from college, these 3 domains of cognition are some of the most important skills you can learn about and practice as you will be able to apply them to any career path you choose.  Additionally, the virtual reality component of this class will afford you the opportunity to learn new skills and practice content area subject matter through experiences not before possible in a traditional classroom.

The abilities to strategize, see the big picture and manipulate systems, work in and lead cross-functional teams of people, and problem-solve to achieve goals, are in high demand in the modern workplace and will give you the capabilities to be an effective manager and leader. 

Browse the job listings on LinkedIn and you will see a large number of job descriptions seeking managers and other leaders who have Systems Thinking and 21st Century Skills.  "Translated into earning capability, a person with the highest ability to problem-solve with technology is likely to earn more than double what a person at the lowest level earns, according to the organization's analysis"  (Linda Rosen, CEO of Change the Equation)

"Comprehensions is grounded in perceptual simulations that prepare agents for situated actions" (Barsalou, 1999: p.77)

"Schools today is often not about solving problems but about learning facts. We have known for a long time that if you concentrate on teaching facts, you can get test passed, but it does not correlate to being able to actually use your knowledge to solve problems. e.g. you can know how to pass a physics test but you can’t use your knowledge to solve physics problems. With games you are given good tools for problem-solving, you feel true engagement, and you're given a lot of feedback. The goal is problem solving, where you use knowledge and information, but the goal is problem-solving....The key problem with our schools today is that we have given students the manuals without the games"- Dr. James Gee

Class Structure

 

"When playing games, kids show all the attributes their teachers wish were visible in the classroom. They stay on task, they are determined to achieve their objectives and persist despite failures along the way. They work cooperatively to solve problems, and praise the good efforts of others."     

    -Misty Adoniou

The structure of the class, as seen in the above diagram, begins with the principal of immersion-based learning which includes simulations, cooperative learning and cross-functional teamwork, and applied learning (theory put into practice). Project-Based Learning(PBL) is carried out utilizing the 2 domains of Systems Thinking and 21st Century Skills.  Your learning experiences will include a variety of simulations including analog board games (e.g World Peace Game), digital games (e.g. Minecraft), simulators (Dream Flight Adventures) and Virtual Reality(VR).  In many of your experiences in the class, you will assume the role of an avatar in the context of narrative-driven missions which will allow you to experience what it is like to do this type of thinking in a meaningful and purposeful way.

Systems Thinking

Systems Thinking is a holistic process of reasoning that looks at how parts of something are intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole. In other words, to understand a system, whether that be a business, an ecosystem, a social network, a game etc, it can not be understood by analyzing its separate parts in isolation.  Unlike reductionism, this type of thinking looks at how the individual parts work together as a whole as the best way to understand a system.  The skills of Systems Thinking come with practice and learning basic principals, both of which we do in this class. Games, including Virtual Reality, are the best way to practice and learn Systems Thinking.  

An example of applied Systems Thinking in the medical field

21st Century Skills

21st Century Skills are higher-order thinking skills that are central to one's success in the modern world (the 4 Learning Skills are often referred to as the 4 C's).  In this class, you will engage in various experiences where often times you will have a chance to practice these skills, and by reflecting on your experiences with team members and getting feedback, over time you will become ever more proficient.  

Learning Skills

Critical Thinking

Creative Thinking

Collaborating

Communicating

Literacy Skills

Information Literacy

Media Literacy

Technology Literacy

Life Skills

Flexibility

Initiative

Social Skills

Productivity

Leadership

problem Solving = Critical + Creative Thinking

The National Research Council of National Academies organizes the 21st Century Skills as follows:

Cognitive Competencies

  • Cognitive processes and strategies: Critical thinking, problem-solving, analysis, reasoning, and argumentation, interpretation, decision-making, adaptive learning

  • Knowledge: Information literacy, ICT literacy, oral and written communication, and active listening

  • Creativity: Creativity and innovation

Intrapersonal Competencies

  • Intellectual openness: Flexibility, adaptability, artistic and cultural appreciation, personal and social responsibility, appreciation for diversity, adaptability, continuous learning, intellectual interest, and curiosity

  • Work ethic/conscientiousness: Initiative, self-direction, responsibility, perseverance, grit, career orientation, ethics, integrity, citizenship

  • Positive core self-evaluation: Self-monitoring, self-evaluation, self-reinforcement, physical and psychological health

Interpersonal Competencies

  • Teamwork and collaboration: Communication, collaboration, cooperation, teamwork, coordination, interpersonal skills

  • Leadership: Responsibility, assertive communication, self presentation, social influence with others

Demand in the Workplace

The following quotations come from Up to the Challenge, a report by the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), Career Technical Education (CTE), and the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21):

  • The employment titan Manpower reports that despite the recession, 31 percent of employers throughout the world struggle to find qualified workers because of “a talent mismatch between workers’ qualifications and the specific skill sets and combinations of skills employers want.”

  • The American Management Corporation reports that employers want workers who can think critically, solve problems creatively, innovate, collaborate, and communicate.

  • The National Association of Manufacturers reports, “Today’s skill shortages are extremely broad and deep, cutting across industry sectors and impacting more than 80 percent of companies surveyed. This human capital performance gap threatens our nation’s ability to compete . . . [and] is emerging as our nation’s most critical business issue."

  • The National Academies indicate that “The danger exists that Americans may not know enough about science, technology, or mathematics to contribute significantly to, or fully benefit from, the knowledge-based economy that is already taking shape around us.”

  • The New York Times reports that low-skilled workers are being laid off and "turned away at the factory door and increasingly becoming the long-term unemployed . . .” This issue results from a disparity between the skills that worker have and those that employers need

 

Standards

21st

Century Skills

systems thinking

Additionally, standards from your other classes will be covered depending on the activity, such as Next Generation Science Standards, and Common Core State Standards.

NGSS

 

Virtual Reality and Missions

Virtual Reality brings a revolutionary change in education. Teacher-centered lecturing has given way to student-centered learning and the ability for students to experience and learn topics never before possible in a traditional classroom. Below is a presentation you can view to see some of the academic research supporting the use of VR in education. The second half of the presentation runs through overviews of various apps available in VR.

Each grade level has their own unique Dream Flight Adventures simulator mission and VR experiences, save for 6th and 11th grade when the World Peace Game will be played.

Screenshot 2019-06-15 16.45.12.png
 

mission preparations

READINGS

HAVE READ THE MISSION PAGE AND FOLLOW ANY INSTRUCTIONS THEREIN

Do bring:

PEN

WATER BOTTLE

UNIFORM OR COSTUME*

Do NOT bring:

BACKPACK

AIRPODS OR OTHER AUDIO DEVICES

GUM, CANDY OR ANY EDIBLE ITEMS** 

CELL PHONES

IF YOU CHOSE TO BRING YOUR CELL PHONE, YOU WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO USE IT. PHONES WILL BE LOCKED SAFELY AWAY IN A SECURE CART UNTIL THE END OF THE CLASS

*UNIFORM OR COSTUME

YOUR UNIFORM SHOULD BE SCI-FI THEMED SUCH AS STAR TREK, STAR WARS, ETC OR AN ORIGINAL OF YOUR OWN CREATIVITY.  THE SECOND OPTION IS TO MAKE A CLASS CRAFT COSTUME (DOES NOT HAVE TO BE YOUR CC CHARACTER).

*THE EIC WILL BE COLD (BUS TO CARACAS TYPE COLD) SO YOU MAY WISH TO INCORPORATE INTO YOUR UNIFORM OR COSTUME DESIGN ADEQUATE WARM PROTECTION.

**EDIBLES

YOU MAY, AT YOUR OWN RISKS, BRING YOUR MORNING BREAK SNACK AND LEAVE IT ON ONE OF THE TABLES ON THE PATIO (NOT THE GARDENING TABLES) UNTIL BREAK. AFTER BREAK, ALL FOOD CONTAINERS SHOULD THEN AT THAT TIME HAVE BEEN MOVED INTO YOUR LOCKER.

MISSION UNIFORM OR COSTUME

YOUR MISSION UNIFORM SHOULD BE SCI-FI OR CLASS CRAFT THEMED. IT SHOULD INCLUDE A SHIRT, PANT AND ACCESSORY. PLEASE SEE THE RUBRIC BELOW TO SEE HOW YOU WILL BE ASSESSED ON MEETING THIS REQUIREMENT (you can download the uniform rubric by clicking on it,)

 

missions Calendar

To view the Missions Calendar and see when your class will be attending, log into your CIC google account and open your calendar.  On the left hand side you will see the EIC 2019-2020 calendar. If you do not see it, search your inbox for the invitation to join that came from Daniela Dao in the administration

Colegio Internacional de Carabobo Education Immersion Center