Getting educated is supposed to prepare people for our society in the future. Traditionally speaking, this used to mean we only needed to learn a set of specific skills and facts, such as when Columbus sailed across the Atlantic and discovered America, or simply learning our multiplication tables. These days, we are seeing curriculums shift their focus to a more digital world. They now tend to focus on cultural history, writing code, and basic computer skills.
In reality, our kids will face challenges that are far different than the challenges we faced when we were children. The average student today will learn not only new topics, but they will also learn different skills. As a matter of fact, there was a study conducted at the University of Oxford which revealed that 47% of jobs that are available today will probably be gone 20 years from now.
It is believed that in 20 years, a lot of the things we presently know about our world today will not be true any longer. For instance, computers in the future won’t be digital. Also, we are now seeing software code itself is slowly disappearing and becoming less relevant. Many of what we see as great jobs today will either become automated in the future or no longer exist. Therefore, our kids will need to prepare specifically for the needs of the future world.
When we were kids, subjects we studied in school were static. We learned things like important dates in history which will never change in the future. However, when it comes to something like computer programming, changes will come quickly. When we first learned to program, we most likely used Basic Coding language, which hardly anyone uses today. Programmers now use mostly Python, but 10 years from now, that will probably be replaced with another type of code.
As we mentioned earlier, future computers will not be digital, they will be totally different. It is believed that they will be based more on how the human brain works and will use quantum laws. Their data will probably be stored on material other than silicon. The point here is we really don’t know exactly how future computers will be configured, so we really can’t teach our kids about them yet.
The skills that children need today are learning how systems and technologies will interact. They will need to cultivate the ability to understand what makes systems work because systems will change constantly in their lifetime. They will need to think in terms of processes instead of parameter and metrics.
Applying empathy and design skills
It doesn’t matter how much future machines will evolve, they will never develop a sense of empathy. These human skills will always be in demand – even in future business technologies. This is because there will always be human interactions at some point during every technology.
For instance, if humans are using new technological machines in a manufacturing process, but the machines cause their user’s shoulders to hurt to the point they need surgery and they miss work days, a human will have to re-design the machine and they will need to use empathy in finding a solution. This is why both empathy and design skills will be extremely important in the future.
And now that we are seeing a steep rise in artificial intelligence as well as virtual reality, our experiences with high-tech will become much more intensive. This means that good design will become even more valuable.
Being Able to Communicate Complex Ideas and Thoughts
In the last section, we emphasized the value of empathy, now we are urging kids to enhance their communication skills. Interesting how these two skills were also valued in ancient times.
As far as communicating in the future, people that can effectively communicate complicated ideas and thoughts will be highly valued. The fact is that our future world is going to be both busy and complex. Those who can consume information, interpret it, summarize it, and then report it quickly will be greatly sought after.
This is especially true for those who can boil down complicated information and clearly explain it to those from other disciplines will be very valuable. A common scenario is being able to convey the results of a vast scientific study to the legal department so that they can begin drafting the legal documents required for government approval of a new technology. This person will need to understand the common jargon of many disciplines.
Collaborating and working in teams
When most of us attended school as children, our work was based almost entirely on our individual accomplishments. It was expected for each student to do their homework, study their subjects at home, and pass their tests on their own without any help. If we peeked at the paper of one of our friends, we were cheating and would find ourselves in big trouble – maybe even get expelled for it. They taught us to be responsible for our own achievements and our own grades.
However, if we look at papers that are written by professional people today in many fields, we will see that they have differed quite a bit over the years. For instance in the 1920s, most all scientific papers were written by single authors. Yet by the 1950s, we began seeing papers with co-authors.
Today, we see papers written by entire research teams. This is because many of these people are separated by thousands of miles geographically. Yet because of today’s technologies, we are able to collaborate with other people in our field that are located on the other side of the globe. This is both remarkable and wonderful as great minds can now create wonderful outcomes for the good of all mankind.
Obviously, the skill needed here is being able to function at a high level within team environments. The important thing to understand is that every team needs a specific set of skills – regardless of team’s objective or their shared professional field.
For instance, every team needs a leader. And every team will need someone to keep the minutes, someone to organize the correspondence, someone to facilitate all activities so that gatherings are productive, and someone to hold everyone else accountable. Notice how all of these functions I have mentioned so far applies to literally every type of team imaginable. This means that if you can learn to do them well, you can be a valuable member of any team in any setting in the world. How valuable is that?
If your children focus on the functions we have addressed here, then they should have no problem becoming a valuable asset in the future for many businesses and corporations. You can focus right now on many of the things we have addressed and mentioned here.