21st Century Math Skills: A Critical Component to Success

As it becomes increasingly apparent that having mathematics knowledge will be a critical component of success in the jobs of the future, educators are reworking math teaching strategies to ensure that students develop these skills early.

A renewed emphasis has been placed on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education lately because it is believed that this knowledge will be an integral part of helping the American economy to expand and thrive.

Shortage of People
According to Forbes, there is a shortage of people with these critical skills, In fact, the gap between the skills available in today’s workforce and those needed for 21st century jobs is creating a serious challenge for American employers, Raytheon – a technology company – indicated.

As a result, it is more important than ever before that the K-12 education system take pains to instill STEM knowledge in students at an early age by placing an emphasis on elementary math. Mathematics, as the Partnership for 21st Century Skills explains, is a common language that prepares students for college and their future careers.

The Importance of Math
Math is no longer simply a solitary subject in and of itself. Rather, its integration into multiple aspects of everyday life in the 21st century – from the use of technology to the paying of bills – makes it necessary to show students how it can be integrated with other subjects.

For example, elementary math teachers can help students build their critical thinking and problem solving skills by asking them to look for a logical structure when solving math problems and back up their answers with verifiable evidence.

“It’s no longer about what a student knows, it’s about what they can do with what they know,” assistant superintendent Kimberly Beck  said, according to The Ridgefield Press.

Common Core State Standards
Connecticut, like the 45 other states and districts that have adopted the Common Core State Standards, is reworking its math resources and instruction methods to ensure that it is able to help students develop the 21st century math skills they will need to be successful in the future.

In addition to the fact that mathematical knowledge will be an important prerequisite for many growing careers in the coming years – particularly those focused on technology development and implementation – advocates also note that it fosters a multitude of other skills in students, including creative thinking and collaboration. To promote these skills, math teaching strategies will likely evolve in the coming years.

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21st Century Learning An Essential Element of 21st Century Teaching and Learning
Intelligent adaptive learning is defined as digital learning that immerses students in modular learning environments where every decision a student makes is captured, considered in the context of sound learning theory, and then used to guide the student’s learning experiences, to adjust the student’s path and pace within and between lessons, and to provide formative and summative data to the student’s teacher.

Jessie Woolley-Wilson

Throughout her life and career, Jessie Woolley-Wilson has been driven by a singular belief that all children need and deserve high-quality learning opportunities, regardless of who they are or where they live. She believes that by supporting great teaching and learning, everyone wins: kids, families, communities and the world. Jessie has worked in the education technology space for nearly 20 years to support school and district leaders to improve learning and life outcomes for K-12 students.

Jessie joined DreamBox Learning® in 2010 as Chair, President, and CEO. The startup software company had pioneered Intelligent Adaptive Learning™ in 2006 and began partnering with schools soon after Jessie joined. Today, DreamBox serves nearly 3 million K-8 students and approximately 120,000 teachers. The company provided more than 350 million math lessons across the U.S. and Canada in 2017.

Jessie recently secured a $130 million investment in DreamBox from The Rise Fund, a global impact investing fund managed by TPG Growth. Prior to joining DreamBox, Jessie served as president of Blackboard’s K-12 Group and LeapFrog SchoolHouse, the K-12 division of LeapFrog Enterprises. Jessie also served in leadership positions at collegeboard.com, the interactive division of The College Board, and at Kaplan, the leading test preparation company in the U.S.

Jessie supports the broader K12 industry by serving on the boards of several educational organizations including Rosetta Stone, Newsela, the Western Governors University Board of Trustees, and Ursuline Academy. She is also a board member for Boeing Employees Credit Union, Pacific Science Center, and The Bullitt Foundation. She has been a featured speaker at international events including TEDx Rainier, SXSWedu, DENT and GeekWire Summit 2018.

Jessie is a two-time recipient of EdTech Digest’s EdTech Leadership Award for her work in transformative innovation in education and honored her as one of 2018’s Top 100 Influencers in EdTech. Seattle Business Magazine awarded Jessie the 2015 Executive Excellence Award in the CEO of the Year category and Forbes placed her on its “Impact 15” list for being a disruptor in education. The Puget Sound Business Journal honored Jessie as a “Woman of Influence” and 425 Magazine named her as one of eight “Unstoppable Eastside Women” for having a clear focus on the greater good. Additionally, The New York Times has profiled Jessie and her leadership style in their Corner Office column.

Jessie holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA from the University of Virginia. She is also a 2007 Henry Crown Fellow and moderator for the Aspen Institute.
Jessie Woolley-Wilson