P21 Canada: Partnership for 21st Century learning and innovation

Companies and education organizations attending a meeting in Toronto on May 11th agreed to take the next step in the establishment of P21 Canada.

John Kershaw

P21 Canada: Partnership for 21st Century Learning and Innovation is a private sector led coalition of private and public sector organizations advocating for and supporting 21st Century models of learning in Canada.

The attendees to the meeting share the view that 21st Century models of learning are urgently required in public education to position students and Canada for success in the knowledge and digital age. Participants at the meeting are well briefed on international calls for transformation of learning systems to meet the new realities of the knowledge and digital era, as well as Canada’s need to position itself for the future.

The OECD, European Union, Partnership for 21st Skills in the United States and many other international think tanks and authors have identified the 21st Century competencies and skills business is looking for and students will need. The Conference Board of Canada has also called for Canada to become a more innovative society, citing declining productivity performance relative to other developed countries as a troubling trend.

Andrea Prupas of the Canadian School Board Association (CSBA) attended the Toronto meeting and briefed the attendees on that organization’s recent interactions with Council of Ministers of Education Canada (CMEC) and underlined CSBA’s commitment to promoting 21st Century learning models and interest in working closely with P21 Canada. Tim Magner, CEO of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) in the United States, also attended the meeting as a special guest and shared his organization’s experience and expressed interest in the two organizations collaborating in the future.  Attendees at the meeting then discussed the charter and mandate of P21 Canada and its core business activities.

21st Century Learning Associates and Mindshare Learning ( and have partnered to act as catalysts in bringing the various companies and education organizations together. Interest in the organization is growing, and the meeting in Toronto was attended by over 20 representatives of various organizations.

The goal in the weeks ahead is to further engage the participants in the refinement of the P21 Canada concept, finalize the organizational details, and identify the Founding Members. Companies and organizations represented at the P21 Canada meeting included Apple, Cisco, Dell, FrontRow, HP, IBM, Microsoft, Nelson, Pearson, Scholastic, Smart Technologies, the Canadian Education Association, Education Research Development Incorporated (ERDI), York University’s  Institute for Research on Learning Technologies, and the NRC’s Centre of Excellence in Advanced Learning and Technology (CEALT).

Attendees at the Toronto meeting also agreed to work collaboratively in identifying and inviting other business and education organizations to join the P21 Canada initiative.

Companies or education organizations interested in learning more about the P21 Canada initiative are invited to contact John Kershaw at [email protected] or Robert Martellacci at [email protected].

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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