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I’ve started using new media tools (blogs, wikis, etc.) in my classroom to differentiate instruction, and have recently begun to explore the use of virtual worlds and social networking with my kids. They seem to really enjoy using technology, and I’m seeing some of my struggling learners become more engaged with the material.

Are there resources available for assessing 21st century skills? If my students are learning in non-traditional ways, how can I show their progress?

Technology and media skills have increasingly been recognized as a necessary component of education for today’s students. As more and more teachers integrate 21st century skills, new media, and web 2.0 tools into their classrooms, the challenge of assessing these skills(opens in a new window) has become a hot topic among educators.

In looking for ways to assess your students’ learning with technology tools, start with the groups that are at the forefront of determining technology standards and practice: the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE)(opens in a new window) and the Partnership for 21st Century Skills(opens in a new window). Both organizations have written extensively on what children must know to be productive members of a technological society. Both groups have also produced guidance(opens in a new window) on assessing(opens in a new window) technology(opens in a new window) skills.

A number of teachers have used these materials to create their own rubrics and ideas for assessing student blogs, Twitter use, or wiki creation. Digital Age Assessments(opens in a new window) lists a variety of rubric suggestions; the forums in Classroom 2.0(opens in a new window) can also be an excellent place to confer with other teachers about how they assess their students’ work with technology.

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