Favourite Language Arts Links

Monday, July 11, 2011

Future Work Skills 2020

I have just finished reading the results of  research completed by the University of Phoenix, Institute for the Future Research which analysed the top 10 skills needed for our future work force with excellence!    As educators we need to be rethinking our ways of learning/teaching to get our kids on board for the future.  Here are the top skills required:

1.  Sense Making skill These are those perceptive skills required to ascertain a deeper meaning.  Higher level thinking skills are the ones that machines like computers cannot do.  They cannot synthesize information to make ethical or critical thinking decisions.  Bloom's Taxonomy comes to mind here, along with Project Based learning, as a way to help students migrate to sense making skills.

2.  Social Intelligence Our wonderful interpersonal skills that allow us to connect with each other effectively.  How we interpret each others' social cues becomes more important with the use of social media.  Hence let us get our students practicing in this area with fenced social media for the younger crowd, and good digital citizenship for the older crowd using Twitter, Facebook, or Edmodo.

3.  Novel and Adaptive Thinking This involves the ability, or flexibility to adapt to change in any situation.  Having just read the book Who Moved My Cheeze, it is evident that if you don't adapt  to change your role becomes limited ie  your teaching worldview is myopic.  So we need to embrace technology as a means to enhance relationship, build trust, and encourage adaptive thinking in our students.

4.  Cross-Cultural Competency This vital tool allows us to understand and accept people in any culture and from any culture.  As Christians this is a given:)  If we are to disciple the next generation then our students need to know how to do the same with their next generation.  Cross- cultural competency is often what drives innovation, and brings the gospel to our neighbours.

5.  Computational Thinking  We have to understand how to read data and teach these tools to our students.  Teaching our students progamming language, different technologies and applications keeps them constantly prepared for future change in the tech field.  Examples shared in the PDF document included teaching students Scratch, which is basic HTML.

6.  New Media Literacy  How do we help teach students about how to use the media with critical analyses?  We can show students how to create blogs, podcasts, websites, videos, and assess them the same way you would assess an essay.  Teaching website evaluation is a tool to get students to think critically about website integrity, accuracy, reliability, currency and authority.

7.  Transdisciplinarity  Wow that is a long word:)  How does learning occur in multi- disciplines? Looking at one problem through myopic glasses is not enough, we need to incorporate many disciplines in our teaching methods so that the student is fully engaged to solve problems which are complex and layered.  Having the ability to engage in teaching from many disciplines will hold our students' interests, and help them learn many disciplines at the same time.  Teaching science and incorporating math in data building, humanities, art and languages, the list is endless to overlay disciplines..

8.  Design Mindset As computers and communication applications lead the way in industry, we need people with design skills to plan environmentally and aesthetically pleasing environments.  Where we live and work be it physical or virtual, we need the space to be brain engaging and God encompassing!  This calls for great organisational, architectural, and artistic skills in all facets of design. 

9.  Cognitive Load Management  How we filter information is vital as information explodes exponentially.  This involves bookmarking, and ranking information to make our desktop manageable.  As library staff and teachers we can help students become aware of the hierarchical nature of information.

10.  Virtual Collaboration  As distributed learning teachers or homeschooling parents this one should come naturally in regards to teaching our students!  We need to engage our virtual friends be they local or global, as we tend to become dispersed in our own little worlds.  Our objectives need to be clear, our vision all encompassing, and we need to give prompt feedback.  Add to that Love- and virtual collaboration is definitely Christ infused.

If we were not trained in teaching these skills then maybe we need to rethink how we are teaching our students, and pray for innovative ideas to help in this regard.    We cannot do all at once, but taking a couple of skills each year and researching them, incorporating some professional development or learning along with our students we can do this together, so that no-one gets left behind. 

Maybe your students are already learning these kind of skills.  As a teacher librarian I still feel I have a long way to go!  But God will get us there:)

Blessings to you as you embrace our exciting new world, and prepare our next generation for 2020 employment.

A big thanks to the University of Phoenix for researching this so well!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Farewell the physical book my friend!

eBook Readers GaloreImage by libraryman via Flickr

Summer trips to my local library are a somewhat nostalgic journey for me now, as I question the role that e-book readers will play in the years to come.   I linger longer at the colourful display of books lining the sterile shelves, and lovingly stroke the familiar feel of a hard cover book, with it's enduring quality, akin to an antique that has been passed down the generations.   The touch and smell of a physical book takes me back to my youth, and my early years of literacy. 

Books were a huge part of growing up for me, celebrating rituals, declaring new adventures, love stories, dramas,  that I could enact in my own life, and live eternally in my head.  Just as the Bible gave life to my soul, books have given life to my curiosity for learning, and passions.  Of course you might say, well how does the platform make a difference?  Should it?

Last year Amazon reported that  sales of e-books had passed those of hardcovers.  Now this year e-book sales have surpassed the sale of paperbacks.  Book stores all over North America are fighting for their life to stay in business, and are having to re-invent themselves.  New  e-book readers are coming out all the time, with new technology added as we speak.  I am still in two minds about which e-book reader to go with, and I am inclined to wait until the new IPad 3 is launched to make a decision.  I know that it makes sense technologically and environmentally to go with e- readers, and yes there is something about storage that makes delightful sense to my library archive mind.  BUT there is something so wonderful about the squishy feel of a paperback, while lying on your lounger, without having to worry whether your battery is charged?  From my recitations of poetry as a child, to my loving sharing with friends over book club, the physical feel of a book cannot be understated. Can the e-reader draw me in with its allure.. can it transcend the personal touch of the physical book?

As we celebrate our new learning commons, I am excited about the role e-books will play in opening up new dimensions of reading for all our students and staff.  Christian fiction will be just a click away.  Literacy will become speedy, and convenient,  opening up new avenues of learning for students and staff all over B.C.   In time maybe textbooks will all be read this way, hence eliminating a huge expense for paper and for carrying around books. In book stores most e- books are half the price of a hard cover.   As soon as E book readers incorporate note taking skills, I think the future is determined. It would also be wonderful if they could make the screen a little bit bendy:)  Now that is my dream!

So as you can tell, I am still wobbling on the fence, relishing the personal relationship I have with my physical book, but anticipating an exciting future with e-books.  Having more choice in how I read is definitely a plus, and I pray that these wonderful innovations will be a blessing to you this coming year.  Now when does that new IPad arrive???

If you have an e- reader that works for you, please comment below and tell me what works and why? 


Enhanced by Zemanta

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Books Featuring Homeschooling Characters- Summer reading!

summer readingImage by ruminatrix via Flickr
Are you looking for classic reads which incorporate homeschooling kids into the theme?  Look no further, as the Langley Homeschoolers Association passed on this great list of reads for all ages. 

Thanks Skye for passing this along my way:)


Enhanced by Zemanta