Technology & Learning, May 1999, p. 27

Despite the hype surrounding the looming Y2K computer bug, the authors of this article assert that the real 21st century crisis we should be preparing for is the one that threatens to render the current system of education obsolete.

The rapid changes that are occurring in technology and government mean that businesses in the next century will require workers with skills that today’s schools are not teaching. The “Industrial Age” schools of the twentieth century have had teacher-centered classrooms where the focus has been on memorizing facts and following directions.

In the 21st century, however, there will be a demand for skills such as problem solving, the ability to synthesize information, and the ability to demonstrate independent thinking while working in a group, say the authors.

The crisis is that schools and teachers have not defined what skills students will need to be successful in the next century, and they have not examined how the education system needs to be modified in order to teach these skills.