The 4Cs and New Learners of the 21st Century


This hour long video New Learners of the 21st Century ( found here: ) features a few programs at different educational institution which exemplify in many ways the “4Cs”: critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity. The New Learners video focuses on Digital Media, while the 4Cs does not as explicitly.

To me, most of the programs highlighted in the New Learners video seemed to show just how “new” technologies can be used in many ways, but to teach many of the same topics that have always been taught. One program however, seemed to have a very different approach to education all together. “Quest to Learn” is called a “School for Digital Kids” and approaches all the different subjects through media with an emphasis on “gaming”.  We  see critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and definitely creativity as the “Quest to Learn” students build a computer game about Aesop’s fables. The directors of the program say that gaming is just problem solving and are defensive of the term “addiction” when it comes to video games.

While all the other programs in the video seemed to be in line with education as I understand it, the “Quest to Learn” program made me nervous. It reminded me of the book Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. In this book, everything is centered around  certain games, some of which are psychological, others strategic. The skills of communication, critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration are all used through “games” to save the world in the story, but for some reason, to think that the futuristic world of Ender is happening now is a struggle for me.

I don’t know that while we still have actual cars on the street, playing some Formula 1 racing game will teach you enough driving skills to survive on the real road. However, we can see technology moving the way of cars driving themselves, so it might be soon that Mario Cart is my children’s driver’s ed.




One thought on “The 4Cs and New Learners of the 21st Century

  1. Steven Knight

    Great post. Thanks for your honesty about Quest to Learn. Games are great way to help kids become a engaged, but what messages do they send? We talk about gamification of education, it means employing game theory and strategies, but not necessarily the content.


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