Selected Readings

How can I learn more about why 21st century knowledge and skills are important?
The resources listed below are representative of an extensive body of research about teaching and learning in the 21st century. They are meant to provide an introduction and overview of current research.

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Read and listen to what Andreas Schleicher, the Deputy Director for Education and Skills and Special Advisor on Education Policy to the OECD's Secretary-General has to say about the case for 21st century learning. (image and link to appear on the site -

Selected Resources for Further Reading

  • Bransford, J. D., Brown, A. L., & Cocking, R.R. (Eds.). (2000). How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School (Expanded ed.). Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

There are powerful implications for learning, teaching and designing classroom environments when teachers make purposeful choices based on the research of how people learn. Of particular interest for educators are five ways that technology can be used to help meet the challenges of establishing effective learning environments.

This advisory briefly outlines the key issues, challenges, and opportunities for Ontario directors and supervisory officers around 21st century teaching and learning in their district school boards.

  • Dede, C. (2010). Comparing frameworks for 21st century skills. In J. Bellanca & R. Brandt (Eds.), 21st century skills: Rethinking how students learn. (pp. 51-75). Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.

Chris Dede explores what various frameworks for 21st century skills have in common. After defining the nature of 21st century skills and making comparisons, he presents what students need to know for full participation in the 21st century.

  • Dumont, H., Istance, D., & Benavides, F. (Eds.). (2010).The Nature of Learning: Using Research to Inspire Practice. Paris: Centre for Educational Research and Innovation, OECD Publishing. doi: 10.1787/9789264086487-en

This publication examines the current understanding of the nature of learning and different educational applications. It addresses key insights from the cognitive, emotional and biological perspectives and looks at approaches using, and evidence about, group work, technology, formative feedback and project-based learning, as well as what takes place beyond school settings in families and communities.

  • Education for Life and Work: Developing Transferable Knowledge and Skills in the 21st Century. The National Academies Press, 2012, available at:


The National Research Council identifies research-based teaching methods for deeper learning - learning for “transfer”. Teaching that emphasizes not only content knowledge, but also how, when, and why to apply this knowledge is essential. Through this process of deeper learning, students develop 21st century competencies – transferable knowledge and skills.

  • Fullan, M. (2012). Stratosphere: Integrating technology, pedagogy and change knowledge. Toronto, ON: Pearson Canada.

Michael Fullan examines four criteria for integrating technology and pedagogy to produce exciting, innovative learning experiences for all students. Ideas from technology, pedagogy and system change converge to transform education.

  • OECD. (2010). Inspired by Technology, Driven by Pedagogy: A Systemic Approach to Technology-Based School Innovations. Paris: Centre for Educational Research and Innovation, OECD Publishing. doi: 10.1787/9789264094437-en


This publication is an attempt to capture the key issues that matter for a better understanding of how a systemic approach to technology-based school innovations can contribute to quality education for all and promote a more equal and effective education system.

In the 2013-2014 school year, the Ministry will begin discussion with education stakeholders and the public on “Building the Next Phase in Ontario’s Education Strategy”. These discussions will include, for example, how to integrate a higher order skills focus and student learning enabled and amplified by technology.

  • Ontario Public School Boards’ Association. (2013). A Vision for Learning and Teaching in A Digital Age. Toronto, ON: Author. Retrieved from:


This vision paper encourages dialogue around student and teacher use of technology and the possibilities for “expanding the integration of 21st century skills into our learning and our instructional practices”.

  • Sawyer R.Keith. (2008). Optimising Learning: Implications of Learning Sciences Research. Paris: OECD Publishing. doi: 10.1787/9789264047983-en


The goal of the learning sciences is to better understand the cognitive and social processes that result in the most effective learning, and to use this knowledge to redesign classrooms and other learning environments so that people learn more deeply and more effectively. Learning sciences research suggests several alternative models of learning, particularly those that involve deep links between formal schooling and the many other learning institutions available to students.

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