21st Century Thinking Skills that Promote College and Career Readiness

(Grades K-12) / Semester Course

PDI Course Number: 104BXX / UCSD Course Number: EDUC40293


Course Description

Do the phrases college and career ready and 21st century skills keep popping up on your radar? Are you wondering exactly what they mean and what you can do as a teacher to help your students become better thinkers and learners? This online course is designed for K-12 teachers who are looking to explore strategies for incorporating students’ higher-order thinking skills into their classroom practices. In doing so, students become critical and creative thinkers and communicators who are able to work collaboratively while embracing others’ diverse cultural perspectives in a global community of 21st century learners. This course begins by discussing how the age of acceleration has shifted how students are taught so that their very important social-emotional skills are embraced, skills which are essential to college and career readiness in the 21st century. Teachers will learn how to create a culturally relevant and globally accessible classroom environment that embraces the “6Cs of education.” Teachers will take a deep dive into these six components of 21st century learning (critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, communication, culture, and civic and global readiness). By the end of this course, teachers will feel more confident in their quest to implement these essential 21st century thinking skills successfully into their own teaching practices. This course is worth 3 ⅓ semester units/5 quarter units (50 hours of training) from UC San Diego Extension. For detailed information on university credit, click here.

"The content was great! I really enjoyed learning about the 21st Century Skills. The reading was interesting and I particularly liked the sample lessons and examples." - Bonnie Redding

Enrollment Options

Course Only

Only $170 with the discount

Course with Credit from UCSD Extension

Only $366 with the discount

This course is worth 3 ⅓ semester units or 5 quarter units of graduate-level credit from UC San Diego.

Fall semester online courses must be completes by December 16th.


Print our customized course approval form to share with your school district.



Required Resource Book

This course has a modestly-priced required resource book (available in both new and used versions) that can be purchased through Amazon using the following link. Note that you can begin and participate in your course before the book arrives.

If you are registering for multiple courses, use the following link to access the book list for all PDI courses with direct purchase links through Amazon. PDI Course Resource Book List



UCSD Course Number: EDUC40293
Unit One
  • The Age of Acceleration
  • The 21st Century Thinker/Learner
  • Making Thinking Visible
  • Assignment #1: Write an autobiography/Write an article reflection
Unit Two
  • Critical Thinking in the 21st Century
  • The Art of Questioning
  • Best Practices to Ignite Critical Thinking
  • Assignment #2: Design an activity to promote 21st century thinking skills
Unit Three
  • Higher-Order Thinking Skills
  • Defining Creativity
  • Best Practices to Ignite Creativity
  • Assignment #3: Develop a lesson that sparks creativity and incorporates Bloom's taxonomy
Unit Four
  • The Importance of Student Engagement and Motivation to Collaboration
  • The Foundations of Collaboration
  • Best Practices to Ignite Collaboration
  • Assignment #4: Incorporate cooperative learning techniques into a lesson
Unit Five
  • The Many Faces of Literacy
  • Communication in the 21st Century
  • Best Practices to Ignite Communication
  • Assignment #5: Develop a lesson with a disciplinary design approach
Unit Six
  • The Importance of Culture in the 21st Century
  • Civic and Global Readiness
  • Assessing 21st Century Skills
  • Assignment #6: Write a reflection
  • Assignment #7: Reading/Learning Log (Based on required resource book)


Click here to request a copy of the detailed syllabus

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