Future of Learning Top Reads for week of June 4 2018

Photo by  Ameen Fahmy  on  Unsplash

Photo by Ameen Fahmy on Unsplash

"These are the 3 key skill sets workers will need to learn by 2030," by Adam Jezard, on World Economic Forum

"But the report [McKinsey Global Instistute May 2018 ‘Skill Shift’] also predicts a dramatic increase in demand for more employee hours across the other three skills sets, which are:

  • Higher cognitive: these skills include advanced literacy and writing, quantitative and statistical skills, critical thinking and complex information processing. Doctors, accountants, research analysts, writers and editors typically use these.
  • Social and emotional, or so-called 'soft skills': these include advanced communication and negotiation, empathy, the ability to learn continuously, to manage others and to be adaptable. Business development, programming, emergency response, and counselling require these skills.
  • Technological: this embraces everything from basic to advanced IT skills, data analysis, engineering, and research. These are the skills that are likely to be the most highly rewarded as companies seek more software developers, engineers, robotics, and scientific experts."

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

A simple look at this report might involve asking how curriculum meets these anticipated needs. It's hard to argue that students shouldn't be more skilled at literacy, statistical thinking, empathy, etc.

An additional way to think about such reports is to ask what they miss about the future of work and how students might develop into adults who contribute to the common good: for example, what might we learn from the great wisdom traditions? And how does asking great questions transcend the acquisition of instrumental knowledge? Consider what General Stanley McChrystal's school would look like. Future of work reports are important... but they don't capture everything that we might consider important.


"Leading with inner agility," by Sam Bourton, Johanne Lavoie, and Tiffany Vogel, in McKinsey Quarterly

"We live in an age of accelerating disruption. [...] The very nature of disruption means that even the best, most prescient leaders will be steering their company into, and through, a fog of uncertainty. [...] We need inner agility, but our brain instinctively seeks stasis. At the very time that visionary, empathetic, and creative leadership is needed, we fall into conservative, rigid old habits."

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

As we wrote earlier this week, if you want compliant learners who can repeat information or synthesize sources, your curriculum will likely be teacher-centered and your students ill-prepared for the "fog of uncertainty." And if you want creative and collaborative learners who can frame and solve problems they have never seen before, your curriculum must be student-centered.

Can you foster inner agility any other way? Schools cannot afford to punt this question.


"To (Re)Design School, We Need New Metaphors. Let’s Start With These Five," by Sam Chaltain / @samchaltain, on samchaltain.com blog

"This is the task of the brain—to put us in touch with whatever it is that exists apart from ourselves. And this, too, is the task of the future of school. How, then, might we envision our schools less as a series of separate departments, classes and cliques, and more as a holistic aspen grove—that biological marvel that appears at first to be an infinite forest of tall trees, but is in fact a single living organism (the oldest and largest on earth), bound together by a complex, interwoven underground root network?"

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

Sam's latest think-piece is loaded with wonderful metaphors about the future of school—and a list of schools that are actually bringing these metaphors to life. It's one thing to imagine a different future for school; it's another thing to make it happen.

Schools that are not paying attention to what's happening at the fringes ought to pay close attention to Sam's post.


Question of the week:

Aspen Groves from Silos.png


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