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!