Move Over Three R’s, Here Come the Three C’s

In the 20th Century, and probably back to the Renaissance, the “Three R’s”, reading, writing and arithmetic were arguably a good basis for education. Take it easy all of you Constructivists out there…I can feel you getting riled up with the mere mention of the Three R’s! Back to basics movements blossomed several times in the last century and seem to be full steam ahead today with the emphasis on standardized testing.

Create, Curate and Collaborate

But now we are in a new age and the Three R’s simply won’t do. We need to add what I call the “Three C’s”. Create, Curate and Collaborate.

Creating is not only at the top of Bloom’s taxonomy, it is a critical skill needed for the advancement of our society. The “Creative Class”, a term used by author Richard Florida in his book The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It’s Transforming Work, Leisure, Community and Everyday Life, is growing and manufacturing jobs are dwindling. We must teach students skills to engage in non-routine cognitive work.

Create, Curate, CollaborateCurating is a skill needed to sift through the mountains of new content created every day. Students need to know how to discover and discern what is truly meaningful and relevant and discard the rest. This includes “crap detection” (Howard Rheingold) but also “gem detection” to determine the truly remarkable content.

A key component of creative class jobs is collaboration. In almost all cases, these types of professions involve working with others and creating and curating within the groups. Of course this means not only collaborating with the people next to you but globally and even virtually.

The Three R’s are not dead. I have kids and I certainly want them to read, write and use math. I don’t see those skills ever completely going way. However, we are in a new era and moving more and more to a non-industrial, non-agricultural and non-routine society. We need to cultivate the Three C’s into our education to meet those needs. And, for all you Constructivists out there, there’s no better way to do this than with technology-rich project-based learning.