Today’s jobs are changing, and they are changing at such a rapid pace that many of the jobs our students will hold in the future do not even exist today.
But just because we don’t know what those jobs are doesn’t mean we can’t do our best to prepare today’s students, and tomorrow’s work force, for the opportunities awaiting them. A large part of that preparation will rely on equal technology access to all students.
In order to empower our students and give them the confidence they’ll need to take their skills into the workforce of the future, we must help students see themselves as “change agents”–an idea esposed by many educators, including Dr. Kedra Gamble, an assistant professor of professional practice and community school partnership liaison.
New workforce challenges and new opportunities are the result of various recent developments including the digital revolution, changing work patterns and globalization.
More and more, labor is characterized by people working under non-standard contracts. It is a connected, technology-stimulated, accelerated marketplace where the traditional model of completing education and then entering the workforce is becoming obsolete.
Home tuition, self-study and online and lifelong learning are fast becoming staples of the new economy.
Next page: How technology can help expand access to students
As a result of changing educational patterns, enterprises and corporations are changing.
Rich Preece, Global Accountant Segment Leader at Intuit, has noted that there are three pillars for being a Firm of the Future: embracing online technologies, regular use of value pricing, and leveraging digital marketing. Business-related requirements also need to be responded to as new roles/disciplines appear within organizations.
Parents know their children need access to high-quality educational opportunities to become competitive and to succeed in a rapidly-changing world. Technology plays a large role in this access and can help students overcome socio-economic challenges.
It begins with teachers
The Rutgers University Graduate School of Education has launched the Urban Social Justice Teacher Preparation Program, which focuses on the gaps between students from different backgrounds, including the opportunity gap and the lack of resource availability in some schools and neighborhoods.
Evidence also seems to show a lack of diversity in the K-12 teaching field in comparison to the student population. According to Dr. Nora Hyland, the Associate Dean & Faculty Director of Teacher Education at the graduate school, the program seeks to enable socially-conscious classroom teachers.
“We want our students to see themselves as partners with parents, and with guardians and with grandparents, and all the others who are parts of the young people’s and children’s lives,” said Dr. Ariana Mangual Figueroa, an associate professor in the Graduate School of Education, who also said the approach has been to develop certain core relationships with a set of urban districts.
Collaboration through tech
Technology can help schools with few resources, schools with a lack of teachers or teachers specializing in certain subjects, and rural schools. How? Through software platforms that offer teachers the ability to customize lesson plans, learn from best practices and more.
Tom Vander Ark, an ed-tech investor who also is a founding partner at Learn Capital, has said he sees most schools becoming part of a platform network with professional learning experiences–a shared learning platform and a common learning mode.
Facebook is also getting into the education business and is helping Summit Public Schools, a Bay-area charter network, develop a platform that several hundred public schools around the country will have access to.
FLC Business is another great tool for academic institutions, enabling them to search through federal laboratories, patented technologies, equipment, facilities and more which are available for collaboration and public access.
The task of preparing all kids to take their place in the workforce of the future should be a concerted effort as technology leaders, government organizations and educators all have a part to play. No child should be left behind.