21st Century Digital Skills

Competencies, Innovations and Curriculum in Canada

Published by ICTC, April 2021

The rapid advance of digital technologies has significantly impacted education in recent years. It is evident that the increasing digitization of the economy and society will require students to become comfortable with technology to prepare for the future. In turn, this also requires teachers to be supported to develop the skills and knowledge required to fully utilize the capabilities of technology, whether in the classroom or in a hybridized model that utilizes distributed online learning.

Given this need to take advantage of the opportunities provided by new digital technologies, this paper focuses on the importance of training and support for teachers to ensure that they have the skills and competencies required to integrate technology into an educational setting successfully. While K-12 education has been working in this area for decades, it has adopted the responsibility of ensuring educators are able to teach effectively in both hybrid, and purely digital environments. As technology continues to change the way students learn, it breaks down the physical boundaries of classroom learning, encouraging collaboration, improved interactivity, and allows for greater flexibility for learning needs. ICTC’s primary research identifies the top technical skills required by educators (such as digital literacy, information/media literacy, and LMS fluency and awareness) and the top “human” or soft/transferrable skills (such as digital curiosity, interpersonal communication, and confidence). Similarly, interviewees identified the top technical and academic skills and competencies required by K-12 students for future success (such as digital citizenship, digital fluency, coding, etc.) as well as the top human or transferrable skills needed by students (such as critical thinking, communication, and adaptability, etc.).

The report includes examples of how innovative digital technologies such as 3D printing, AI, VR/AR, Apps, Gamification, and LMS tools are being incorporated into Canadian classrooms to develop future-ready skills and competencies, and which skills and competencies are best developed through their adoption in K-12 schools.

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Researched and written by Trevor Quan (Senior Research Analyst), Maryna Ivus (Manager of Labour Market Research) and Nathan Snider (Manager of Research and Stakeholder Engagement) with generous support from Alexandra Cutean (Senior Director, Research and Policy), Vivian Lee (Instructional Designer), Marc Lijour (Vice-President, Capacity and Innovation), and the Digital Think Tank by ICTC team.

Designed by Nick Routley.

For in-depth insights into the digital economy and the policies that shape it, follow the Digital Think Tank by ICTC on Medium and sign up for our email briefing.

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