Book Creator

Book Creator and the 6Cs of education

by Dr. Beth Holland

Pages 4 and 5 of 35

Book Creator &
The 6Cs of Education
By Dr. Beth Holland
Cover illustration by @SylviaDuckworth
What are the 6Cs and why are they important?
Since the late 1990s, educators and policymakers have been discussing the need for 21st Century Skills.

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills defines these as the 4Cs—
Critical ThinkingCreativityCommunication, and Collaboration.

And yet… we also need to prepare for the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution‘ – an age where Artificial Intelligence, robots, and big data will fundamentally change the way we live, work, and relate to one another.

Not only will students require traditional literacies but also capabilities such as complex problem solving, emotional intelligence, and cognitive flexibility.

However, amid all of the change that the future promises to bring, the World Economic Forum also challenges us to consider a fundamental question: how might we make the world both human and humane?
Professor Michael Fullan defines these traits as deeper learning competencies and argues that students need to develop 6Cs rather just the four.

In addition to the 4Cs of 21st Century Learning, he adds Citizenship and Character Development to the list.

As he explains in this video, all 6Cs are critically important if we hope to prepare students for their future.
Going beyond the 4Cs
Digital tools like Book Creator have the potential to engage students, provide them with opportunities to seek out creative solutions, and expose them to the world outside of the walls of their classroom and even their school.

More importantly, Michael Fullan asserts that technology has the capacity to spark students’ intrinsic motivation to be helpful and kind.

As educators, our challenge is to consider all of these skills together so that we can create learning opportunities to develop not only students, but also citizens.

In this book, we will dive into Fullan’s 6Cs and work through strategies that teachers can use in their classrooms to foster these traits.
Communication with Book Creator
How might Book Creator be used to help students understand the role of empathy and audience before choosing a technology with which to communicate?
On any given day, I will communicate via phone, text, email, Google Hangout, Facebook, Twitter, Slack, Skype, and Zoom. Ironically, some of those communications would center around organizing face-to-face meetings.

Recently, one Twitter direct message, one Slack, and one phone call concluded with “send me an email.” So why didn’t I begin with that medium in the first place?!

Professor Michael Fullan describes communication as the ability to communicate effectively in voice as well as through writing and with a number of other digital tools.

Additionally, he includes listening skills as a component of communication. With this definition, communication implies not only knowing how to operate a variety of tools but also possessing a deep understanding of context and audience.
Communication without empathy is otherwise just “talking.”
Consider this example. A few years ago, I had to complete a school project with two classmates – one in India and the other in Shanghai. We started with email and a shared document but quickly ran into a major snag: my colleagues struggled with writing in English.

To get back on track, we switched to Google Hangout so that we could communicate orally and have the video to read each others’ body language. I could tell from facial expressions when I was talking too fast, and caught myself from interrupting a number of times when I observed a classmate deep in thought.
With this in mind, I would add to Professor Fullan’s definition of communication as listening. Communication without empathy is otherwise just “talking.”

Given all of the communication options in existence, students might struggle to know how to choose the best medium.

However, if students can begin by clearly identifying the individual with whom they would like to interact, then it becomes a bit more logical.
Who - with whom do you want to communicate?
Friend or classmate
Teacher or familiar adult
Adult expert
An organization
Channels of communication
Before picking a medium, students need to consider the other person’s preferences, learning needs, language skills, and even desired level of formality.

In fact, over the past few years, there have been a number of editorials from university professors, such as this one from the NY Times, lamenting the lack of formality in communication with students.

In her book, Tasks Before Apps, Dr. Monica Burns offers a series of lesson ideas – as well as handy descriptions – for some of these mediums. The different examples may be a great way to help students practice communicating with each tool given different target audiences.
Text message
Students send a formal invitation to a guest speaker or pose a question to a speaker.

Students provide status updates to group members or to co-ordinate group meetings.

Students pose questions or ask one another for clarification about an aspect of a project.