The education system has been the same for centuries, with teachers talking at students and handing them tests. The natural progression from K through 12 and off to university or college has not been challenged until now.
The world of work has changed significantly. The World Economic Forum has it that 65% of kids entering school will be employed in jobs that don’t exist yet. It is because most jobs that exist today will be taken over by artificial intelligence.
So, will the stuff kids are learning today in school help them in the future? The answer is most definitely not. The days of offloading irrelevant information into student’s heads and then testing them have long passed by time. Educators need to actively start preparing students with skills that will be useful now and in the future.
Teach them how to learn
In his speech about the future of learning, International keynote speaker and author, Alan November said, “we have to teach students how to learn.” So far, the education system has been teaching students how to read and clam redundant information, which disappears right after the test is over. Students have learned that there is only one answer to every question, so they memorize it, and if they don’t know the answer, they leave it blank.
According to Alan, students need to learn how to search for answers through deep or critical thinking. There is not only one answer to a question. If you think about it critically, you can find a few answers and even more questions, leading to problem-solving. At the Global Indian International School, students learn to think critically, ask questions, explore, and be creative. These are skills that will not only be invaluable in the future of work but also in finding oneself.
With project-based learning, students develop skills that will help them in their work. Instead of memorizing information, they actively participate in real-world experiences and community projects to effect change and positively impact others.
In 2012, members of the Cedar Rapids community in Iowa started a project to make learning more meaningful. When 65 adults, including community leaders, went back to school to re-experience school life, they discovered that today’s education system is losing relevancy.
Now they connect students with local organizations and businesses where they are put to work, given projects, and evaluated according to how they are solving problems. The program teaches students creativity, thinking outside the box, teamwork, organization, work ethic, and most importantly, setting goals and working towards achieving them.
During the opening showcase event, the Director of Innovation for Montour school district in Pittsburg said that more than 40% of the future jobs would be replaced by artificial intelligence. Instead of making peace with the expected high unemployment rate, students would benefit from learning about AI and the ethics surrounding it. They can learn how to use artificial intelligence for their excellent, become problem designers and create their own AI instead of waiting to be replaced. The future is in preparing to handle the enemy beforehand and know how to leverage that for their benefit. Luckily, a few schools across the country have already started to offer AI studies in preparation for the inevitable.
Maker Education and Coding
The U. S. Department of Commerce has it that STEAM-related jobs are growing at 17% while other occupations have a steady growth of 9.8%. Science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics workers will be the most sought out people in the future, claiming a big chunk of employment positions and demanding the highest pay.
Students need to start getting familiar with these subjects from a young age and explore new technologies. Maker education and STEAM subjects teach students innovation, creativity, and critical thinking. It’s also an excellent method for students to find out what they like as they explore different options.
The future is bright for anyone who is not looking up for anybody else to help them. It belongs to those people who see problems and decide to find solutions. It’s about people who will take the bull by its horn and not rely on the government or parents to help them. The future belongs to innovators and entrepreneurs.
Educators need to start teaching students the art of entrepreneurship and self-sustenance. They must change the mindset of finishing school and look for jobs. Instead, students must learn skills to help them start businesses after school, whether online or physical.
Many organizations are cutting down their workforces, thanks to technology. Instead of hiring full-time workers, they rely on consultants who are paid for a one-off job. Starting these consultancy firms is where the future is.
Does this mean the education system has to change completely? Maybe not. Students still need to learn languages, understand their history and the environment. However, educators must start being future-focused in their teaching. Give the students some hands-on experience and equip them with skills that will be needed a few years from now.