Six Areas of Focus

This quick guide lists the 21st Century skills that students of Shelby County Schools should experience as an integrated part of their courses throughout the academic year. Schools should include strategies for incorporating the six focus areas into their Continuous Improvement and School Technology Plans. Teachers should incorporate the six focus areas into their courses, using pedagogies such as Project Based Learning whenever possible.

1. Communication and Collaboration

  • Understand and utilize a variety of 21st Century asynchronous and synchronous communication and collaboration tools, such as person-to-person email interactions, group interactions in virtual learning spaces (wikis, blogs, online courses), and interactive audio or video conferencing
  • Understand and utilize the most appropriate media creation tools, characteristics and conventions to communicate ideas

2. Technology Literacy

  • Master and apply technology concepts, terminology, skills, and habits in accordance with the AL Technology Course of Study, and ISTE's National Education Technology Standards (NETS)
  • Use technology as a tool to research, organize, evaluate and communicate information
  • Use digital technologies (computers, PDAs, media players, GPS, etc.), communication/networking tools appropriately to access, manage, integrate, evaluate and create information to successfully function in a knowledge economy

3. Information Literacy

  • Access information efficiently and effectively
  • Evaluate information critically and competently
  • Use information accurately, ethically, and creatively
  • Develop visualization skills to be able to decipher, interpret, detect patterns, and communicate using imagery
  • Understand both how and why media messages are constructed, and for what purposes

4. Global and Cultural Awareness

  • Use 21st Century skills to explore national and global issues
  • Explore how understanding other cultures can assist the U.S. in interacting, competing, and partnering with other countries in the global economy
  • Learn from and work collaboratively with individuals representing diverse cultures, races, religions and backgrounds in a spirit of mutual respect and open dialogue
  • Examine how individuals interpret messages differently, how values and points of view are included or excluded, and how media can influence beliefs and behaviors

5. Creativity and Innovation

  • Develop visualization skills to be able to decipher, interpret, detect patterns, and communicate using imagery
  • Utilize multiple media and technologies, and know how to judge their effectiveness and impact
  • Use a wide range of idea creation techniques
  • Leverage social and cultural differences to create new ideas and increase both innovation and quality of work
  • Elaborate, refine, analyze and evaluate their own ideas in order to improve and maximize creative efforts
  • Understand and utilize the most appropriate media creation tools, characteristics and conventions to communicate ideas

6. Ethics, Actions, and Accountability

  • Apply a fundamental understanding of the ethical/legal issues surrounding the access and use of information technologies and media
  • Understand the uses, risks, dynamics, and impacts of social networks
  • Advocate and practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology