|Ph.D Student||Lavi Rea|
|Subject||Investigating 21st Cenutury Skills in STEM Higher Education|
|Department||Department of Education in Science and Technology||Supervisor||Professor Yehudit Dori|
The present era is characterized by increasing interconnectedness and labor automation. These changes raise the need for a new set of skills, often named 21st century skills. We set out to investigate these skills within our own institution of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) higher Education: Technion - Israel Institute of Technology. Our first studies on systems thinking involved science and engineering teachers (N = 42) and undergraduate engineering students (N = 142), all studying at the Technion. In both of these studies, small teams used a formal methodology to construct conceptual models of either natural phenomena (science and engineering teachers) or of technological systems (engineering students). We scored these models by applying a rubric for assessing systems thinking which we developed based on a literature review of systems thinking assessment in STEM education. We have shown that systems thinking as expressed in conceptual models can indeed be assessed using the same rubric, in both science education and engineering education. Our next study reports on our findings from a questionnaire that we administered to 1,578 respondents?939 alumni and 649 final-year students (undergraduate and graduate) at the Technion. The questionnaire focused on respondents’ perceptions of 21st century skill development while studying at the Technion. Respondents reported they had developed their skills of individual learning, problem-solving, and critical thinking more than any other skill, and their communication skills?oral, written, and intercultural?the least. We found the methods of teaching and learning that developed the largest number of skills, and especially soft (social and verbal) skills, were course assignment, project, research, and laboratory experiments. Next, our review of metacognition in chemistry education presents the thinking skill which commands all others, and is also termed ‘thinking about thinking’. Lastly, we set out to identify the current state of research on metacognition in chemistry education by conducting a literature review. We provide a chemistry lesson plan for fostering metacognition in students. We found that like in science education research, within chemistry education research metacognitive regulation is studied substantially more than metacognitive knowledge. We also found a scarcity of studies on metacognition in higher education - especially in chemistry. The key methodological contribution of this study stems from the development and validation of a rubric for assessment of model-based systems thinking in science and engineering education. Based on our investigations into 21st century skills in various educational settings, we provide evidence-based guidelines and tools for fostering and assessing 21st century skills. Lastly, we provide two theoretical contributions to the literature: (1) the creation of a shared language of systems thinking for the science education and engineering education communities, and (2) detailed mapping of 21st century skills to their appropriate methods of teaching and learning.