4Cs, 5Cs...7Cs in Education

You've most likely heard of the 4Cs of 21st-century learning, but have you heard of the 5Cs or even the 7Cs? The list of letter-C competencies has grown from collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking to include character, citizenship and computational thinking. Over the next few weeks, we'll explore how and why these skills are being implemented in education.

Check out the NEA's "An Educator's Guide to the Four Cs" to familiarize yourself with the core four.

What do professional organizations and educators have to say about the "new" Cs?


"In school, character education must be approached comprehensively to include the emotional, intellectual and moral qualities of a person or group. It must offer multiple opportunities for students to learn about, discuss and enact positive social behaviors. Student leadership and involvement are essential for character education to become a part of a student's beliefs and actions." US Department of Education

Character education is not new—and it is something we can all agree on. It was an important objective for the first U.S. public schools and today it is mandated or encouraged in most states. The current movement is simply a reminder of education’s long history of stressing shared values and character. Character.org

"Conversely, citizenship education which trains ‘good’ citizens, ie. citizens aware of the human and political issues at stake in their society or nation, requires from each citizen ethical and moral qualities. All forms of citizenship education inculcate (or aim at inculcating) respect for others and recognition of the equality of all human beings; and at combating all forms of discrimination (racist, gender-based, religious, etc.) by fostering a spirit of tolerance and peace among human beings." UNESCO

Computational thinking
"Advances in computing have expanded our capacity to solve problems at a scale never before imagined, using strategies that have not been available to us before. Students will need to learn and practice new skills — computational thinking (CT) skills — to take full advantage of these revolutionary changes brought about by rapid changes in technology." Carolyn Sykora, ITSE

"We feel that computational thinking is a core skill for all students. If we can make these explicit connections for students, they will see how the devices and apps that they use everyday are powered by algorithms and programs. They will learn the importance of data in making decisions. They will learn skills that will prepare them for a workforce that will be doing vastly different tasks than the workforce of today. We owe it to all students to give them every possible opportunity to be productive and successful members of society."  Maggie Johnson, Google; and Esther Wojcicki, educator