SAIL THE 7CS – 21st Century Essential Student Competencies

New Year, New Adventures Happy New Year! I hope you’re excited to return back to school and dive into the work you’ve started this year with your students. As technology solutions become abundant and ever-present, it is difficult as an educator to determine what is the best path for our students. It's time consuming to find solutions that allow flexibility for teachers, safe learning for students and at a price that doesn't jeopardize other programs. Solutions that also maximize engagement, allow students to demonstrate their understanding of curriculum and appeal to a diverse audience are increasingly difficult to find. If you are a new teacher to Minecraft in the classroom or part of a school system considering adding Minecraft as a learning tool, this blog is for you. I will be illustrating Minecraft's ability to strengthen modern competencies essential for our students' careers and lives.

7Cs for Students There are seven student competencies (conveniently all beginning with "C") that are equally as important as the curriculum outcomes we teach daily. These competencies are the skills employers, modern universities and society will be looking for in the next five years. The seven skills are: • Collaboration • Communication • Creativity • Critical Thinking • Character • Citizenship • Computational Thinking If we believe our work as teachers is mainly to prepare students for successful futures, then we should give opportunities for students to strengthen these skills. Minecraft Education Edition is our most empowering support and with creative lesson planning (Or a visit to Education.Minecraft.Net) the real power of Minecraft in the classroom can be witnessed.

Example 21st Century Competency: Citizenship Out of the seven Cs listed above, today I’ll focus on the importance of Citizenship. No matter where you live in the world today, how to better understand other people and their ideas and civically engage in dialogue with them seems more important than ever. Empathy is not only a huge part of citizenship but a competency that becomes more important as populations grow, financial times worsen and each of us becomes more and more global. According to Dr. Mitchell-Price, researcher and Psychologist "By developing empathy in children, teachers help them feel valued and understood while impacting social change and innovation for decades to come." Developing Empathy in Students I developed an Empathy Education Project now hosted on the official Minecraft Education Website HERE. Students randomly select a Minecraftian family in need and using a checklist of known information, family passions and their own ingenuity and critical thinking they design, build, iterate and present a home for this family. "Extreme Minecraft Makeover Home Edition" is just one example project of one essential competency that is engaging and empowering and demonstrates how powerful Minecraft Education Edition can be for your school or school system.

I hope you’ll consider using some of the ideas I’ve shared above and be in touch with me if you try them. I look forward to hearing from you! Ben Kelly Ben is a grade 6-12 technology teacher from New Brunswick, Canada. He is a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert and Global Minecraft Mentor who works daily with Minecraft in the classroom. You can contact Ben on Twitter at @BBTNB or on Skype using benkelly78. Visit Ben’s blog to read more about his educational technology practices and other Minecraft Education Topics at