What was neat was that this conference coincided with the last session of the first part of a STEAM Machines club I started at my school made possible through a generous grant from ASU that included $3000.00 worth of 'maker' supplies for middle schoolers to dream, create, and iterate Rube Goldberg machines. The whole experience from start to finish was full of 21st century skills in action with teams of students collaborating and communicating to create their machines, solving problems through critical thinking and application of physics concepts all along the way.
Most rewarding was to see what they had to say when asked:
As a result of attending this club, what is one thing you learned that helped you?
"Planning before doing."
"Planning before doing/making."
"I learned about machines. It will help me if I want an engineering job."
"How to teamwork." (LOVE how this student made 'teamwork' into a verb!)
"How to make electrical circuits."
"Making stuff is difficult but rewarding."
Why would you want to work in a team instead of by yourself?
"More people could get more done."
"Because they help others."
"In a team you get more work done."
"Everyone has different skills."
Finally, probably my favorite:
How are you planning to apply what you have learned in this club?
"To make stuff at home."
Why is this my favorite? Because this is what I strive for as an educator - for students to make that transfer from learning in school to continuing the learning, experimenting, making outside of school.