Will Richardson's question--"What do we know about our kids' futures?"--has sparked a firestorm of discussion about 21st-century learning imperatives. Miguel Guhlin has synthesized the many suggestions on a wiki and invites others to contribute. Not surprisingly, his list echoes the big themes of the refreshed NETS-S, highlighting such critical skills as collaboration and problem solving. But there are some interesting new ideas here, too, such as being courageous, having empathy, being "design aware," and having an orientation toward the future.
What might unfold with more competency in all these areas? Here's a recent application of 21st-century skills that seems to fill the bill: Babajob is a new social-networking site in India's Bangalore region that connects the poor with potential employers. Seems simple, yet it took an economist to figure out that poverty persists here because the poor lack connections to find better-paying work. Babajob, created by a former Microsoft researcher, combines the power of personal connections with social-networking technology, along with some creative problem-solving strategies for overcoming the digital divide. This New York Times article about Babajob tells more of the back story, and gets me thinking about those essential "future skills." Seems like we need to be teaching them today.