Search this site

Thought for the day

Each day a randomly-selected "law", observation or suggestion will appear here.

Last 100 articles
Free subscriptions

 Subscribe to our free newsletter, Digital Education!

 It's free. Signing up entitles you to various freebies. We use a double opt-in system, and we won't spam you.

Click the image above for a free sample edition.

Sign-up page.


The DfE Assessment Innovations series collated. This booklet is free to subscribers of Digital Education.

Be notified by email if you prefer:


Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

The Amazing Computer Education Project Book

Remember this?

Amazing Web 2.0 Projects

It’s been downloaded over 35,000 times. I’m hoping to create a similar Computer Education Projects book, which will also be free. Find out how you can help by reading this article:

The Amazing Computer Education Projects Book


Digital Education

News, views and reviews. In-depth articles. Guest contributors. Competitions. Discount codes.

(Not necessarily all in the same issue, but each issue is full of good stuff nonetheless!)

Sign up for our free newsletter now!


Oh No!!If you can't find what you're looking for...

Assuming you’ve tried variations of your search term and checked the spelling without any luck, you may find the article Finding stuff on the ICT in Education website helpful.

Alternatively, if it’s not an article you’re looking for, try looking through the menus at the top of the screen.

E-Books for Sale

Want to make your ICT lessons more interesting?

Then Go on, bore ‘em: How to make your ICT lessons excruciatingly dull is just right for you.

Clustr Map
Terry Freedman's Social Profile
Powered by Squarespace

« Internet safety report | Main | Apps for Good »
Friday
Apr272012

A 21st century skills paradox

Every time I attend an educational ICT conference, at least one of the speakers talks about how little we know about the future. The refrain goes something like this:

  1. Kids entering school now will be leaving to join the world of work in around 2030.
  2. We can’t predict what the world is going to be like even in five years’ time, let alone 20.
  3. Therefore we need to teach kids 21st century skills (working as part of a team etc).

This all sounds profound and straightforward, but it really isn’t.

Me thinkingFirst, maybe I missed a step in the logic, but if we can’t predict what the world is going to be like, how can we possibly know what skills will be needed?

Second, who says that the so-called 21st century skills are the best ones to have anyway? Recently, Lord Puttnam said, quite rightly, that the only certainty is change. That being the case, the two best skills for (young) people to acquire, surely, are being able to cope with change or, even better, being able to adapt to, and take advantage of, change?

Third, why is “working in a team” a 21st century skills? People have needed to do that since time immemorial. A far more useful one would, in my opinion, be working as part of a virtual team, which requires skills and approaches not entirely encountered when working as part of a physical team. The technology has been a game-changer, but the mantra of team working as a 21st century skill to be acquired in school usually doesn’t acknowledge that to be the case.

Fourth, I’d argue that a crucial skill is to be able to work not as part of a team. As a freelance consultant, I work a lot on my own, and that requires self-discipline, decision-making (eg “Should I go to this conference or not?” It’s actually much easier of your boss tells you to go or that you can’t go – not better, but certainly easier!) and knowing when to stop working!

We tend, as a community, to accept or even use buzzwords and phrases like “digital natives”, “21st century skills” and others, but quite often when you start to delve into them they simply don’t hold up to scrutiny.

Enhanced by Zemanta

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (3)

Yes, you hit it. We'll need fluency in reading, writing, math, and science, and then we'll need individual competencies and group competencies. Not sure where "being able to pass a standardized test" or "being able to sit at a desk quietly watching someone lecture" or "completely changing what you are doing every 50 minutes" fit in, though.
April 27, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermweisburgh
Hi funnily enough, I wrote about something similar recently: http://metaphorhacker.net/2012/01/21st-century-educational-voodoo

We simply take too much on faith when it comes to talking about what is modern.
April 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDominik Lukes
Exactly, Mitch!

Thanks, Dominik. Agree with you, especially " why should we listen to to moguls and venture capitalists about education?" I always have to be convinced I should listen to ANYONE about education who has never worked in it or with young people.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>