A recent article published in eSchoolNews hit home to me. It addresses issues that educators grapple with on an ongoing basis, particularly relating to how we prepare our students for the world today and in the future. Those of us involved with educational technology have seen a shift in emphasis in the national standards for technology education during the past several years (see ISTE National Educational Technology Standards), from a focus on lower-level skills to higher-level critical thinking skills (creativity, innovation, problem-solving, decision making). The eSchool News article is food for thought as we continue to review the focus of my school’s’ technology program curriculum and some of the goals that we are working toward in the middle school computer lab.
Here’s an excerpt, with a link to the full article below.
“A lot of people think the skills that students need to learn for the workforce and the skills they need to learn to be a good citizen are two separate sets. But they’re not. What makes a student successful in the global workforce will make a person successful at life…. [Employers] . . .don’t mind training employees in technology–but you can’t teach someone how to think.”
Tony Wagner from Harvard argues for a list of seven “survival skills” that students need to succeed in today’s information-age world, taken from his book The Global Achievement Gap: Why Even Our Best Schools Don’t Teach the New Survival Skills Our Children Need–And What We Can do About It. It’s a school’s job to make sure students have these skills before graduating, he says:
1. Problem-solving and critical thinking;
2. Collaboration across networks and leading by influence;
3. Agility and adaptability;
4. Initiative and entrepreneurship;
5. Effective written and oral communication;
6. Accessing and analyzing information; and
7. Curiosity and imagination.