5 Ways to Prepare Our Students for Their Future?

When most of us were deciding what to major in at college, we made decisions about our future employment based on what we knew existed at the time and what we knew would exist in our future. We would become educators, journalists, doctors, lawyers, marketing reps, engineers, etc. [1]

Fast forward a couple of decades (just 1 decade for me) and we see that the career landscape has changed so drastically that jobs need new definitions. Social media strategist, app developer, mobile web engineer, etc. [1]

Some of us could ask ourselves, "Would I have have embarked upon my current career had I predicted how the Internet would revolutionize every part of our lives?" [1]

Simply stated: We need to prepare our students for their future.

Cathy Davidson, the author of Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn believes that “65 percent of today’s grade-school kids may end up doing work that hasn’t been invented yet,” [1]

Given this information we as teachers should embrace technology, project-based learning, and creative critical thinking, in order to prepare today's students with the 21st century skills that they will need to solve the problems of tomorrow in the workplace.

Did you know?

  • A surge of new technologies and social media innovations is altering the media landscape.
  • Convergence is everywhere. It's easier than ever to reach a large audience, but harder than ever to really connect with it.
  • These changes are affecting the way people behave. [2]

 Quotes from Cathy Davidson:

“We’re 15 years into something so paradigm-changing that we have not yet adjusted our institutions of learning, work, social life, and economic life to account for the massive change.” [1]

“I think we are on the verge of seeing a major change in educational policy and in how we test, how we measure, and how we teach and learn.” [1]

Now that you know ... what are you going to do to prepare your students for their future?

Cathy Davidson suggests five practical applications to apply to every school in the country. (5 Applications from MindShift)

  1. End standardized EOG tests–they demotivate learning and good teaching. Instead test in challenging ways, using tough game mechanics with real-time feedback on results so kids can learn from the test—not be taught to scam the test! 
  2. Make all learning real, relevant, tied to communities, with real application in the kids’ lives outside of the classroom. Example: Ban research papers—unless they are published online and have an informative, persuasive, or other real purpose for others. Learning should have an impact beyond getting an “A” on the assignment.
  3. Teach kids to think through, with, about, for–and create–new, interactive digital global communication. I don’t mean this as an add on. I mean rethinking all the subjects we now teach in view of the possibilities (what techies call “affordances”) of the digital age. That means getting rid of the “two cultures” binary. STEM subjects are impoverished without creativity, analysis, critical thinking. The Information Age is about putting back together the knowledge that the Industrial Age subdivided. A simpler way is to say have them all learn Scratch multimedia programming and think about the possibilities.
  4. Restore arts, music, shop, P.E., dance: Kids need the soul-stirring learning that lets them move, make, sing, create, dream.
  5. Eliminate the “college prep” and AP distinctions, and stop making college the implicit standard for all education, back to preschool. Many worthy careers don’t need higher ed. Many careers that don’t need higher ed still need a liberal arts education in creative, applied, cross-disciplinary thinking, all of which are as necessary to run your whole hair salon or motorcycle repair shop as they are to get a law degree. Conversely, make college free and open to everyone, at any age. Now, that would be a game changer! [1]

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  1. MindShift: How Do We Prepare Our Children For What's Next?December 26, 2011 | 9:36 AM | By Tina Barseghian.
  2. YouTube: Did You Know 4.0