Tag Archives: Education

The Jobs of Today May Not Exist Tomorrow – How do we Prepare Students?

Not long ago, I wrote a blog post entitled: Lifelong Learning is an Essential Skill, not a Buzzword. The more I read about future-readiness, 21st century skills, job market reports, and advances in technology (especially AI), the more I understand this to be true. Recently, PEW Research published a report on the Future of Jobs & Job Training.

This report reaffirmed the fact that in the near future, millions of jobs will be lost to automation and AI that can do these tasks not only just as well, but often better than their human counterparts. These are not just rudimentary, repeatable tasks, but sophisticated, white-collar jobs that have generally been considered “safe” from automation: dermatologists, journalists, claims adjusters, financial reporters, and more. With the rise of automated driving, millions of workers who rely on driving as their means of employment are looking at becoming obsolete (long-haul truck drivers, taxi drivers, delivery wo/men, and more).

Pushing aside the very real, and daunting, questions of what this means for our job market and even Capitalism, for educators and parents this means: how do we prepare students for the stark realities of an ever shifting job market? While new technologies may be depleting jobs, knowing how to leverage them will become an even more essential skill in the future.

“The education system will need to adapt to prepare individuals for the changing labor market. At the same time, recent IT advances offer new and potentially more widely accessible ways to access education.”

Looking at how and when people learn job skills and other training will also need to be examined. Will a traditional high school, college, and beyond model remain the default given the rapidly changing employment models?

“A central question about the future, then, is whether formal and informal learning structures will evolve to meet the changing needs of people who wish to fulfill the workplace expectations of the future.”

PEW delves deeply into this topic, asking experts about their vision of the future and determined 5 Major Themes:

Five major themes about the future of jobs training in the tech age

Considering the uncertainty of the future, what we do know is that we must prepare young people to be flexible and agile learners, critical thinkers, entrepreneurs and innovators, and to know that they must develop a passion and drive for lifelong learning.

While the article is long, I strongly encourage my readers to check out PEW’s publication and put together your own thoughts.

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5 Gifts for Teachers that are not Starbucks Gift Cards

It’s the holiday season and amid the excitement and final exams, many people are thinking about what to give their own teachers or those educating their children. Now, first and foremost, as a teacher I must say that we do not expect or demand gives from our students or student’s parents. When we do get them, we are quite touched. That being said, I’m often asked by friends and families what to get the teachers in their life that aren’t just “another Starbucks giftcard!” Don’t get me wrong, Starbucks gift cards have fed my caffeine habit for many years, but I realize that some want to be a little more personal in their gift giving. Here are a few ideas for gifts for the teacher in your life.

Books

Educators love to read! If your student is in a subject specific class (think science or history), a book on that topic is great. As a US History teacher, my students have kept me in David McCullough books for years and I love them. If you need a little inspiration, try the New York Times Best Seller list. If you know the teacher has an eReader and you have a little extra change to throw around, consider a Kindle Unlimited gift subscription.

Gourmet Coffee

Instead of the Starbucks gift card, if you know you have a coffee drinker, consider a nice coffee mug (even one personalized by your child) and an assortment of gourmet coffees. I got this one year and it was fantastic! I was pretty upset the year the mug broke.

Event Tickets/Passes

These can be surprisingly inexpensive and lovely personal gift for a teacher. Are they a coach? What about tickets to the local professional or college game? Music teacher? Tickets to the local symphony. Annual passes to local art, science, and history museums also make a great gift. Even passes to go to a movie are a wonderful treat for an educator; you can often pick these up on a discount at Costco or the movie theater itself. If you have a few extra dollars, consider giving them a MoviePass gift subscription. These gifts show the teacher that you know they need some well deserved leisure time.

Extra School Supplies

This one may seem boring, but trust me it’s one of the best gifts you can give. Educators often buy school supplies out of their own pockets and mid year (the holiday season) is when they start to run low. Sending in extra reams of paper, pencils, pens, tissues, and whatever else was on that “back to school” supply list you got in the fall will be valued you like gold. You’ll be saving your teacher’s pocket book and brightening the learning experience for others.

A Hand Written Note

I cannot stress this one enough. The most thoughtful and treasured gifts I have received from students were thoughtful, hand written notes. I keep them in a drawer and pull them out to read periodically. If your child is old enough to write, ask them to list two to three things they really enjoy about the teacher’s class and what they have learned. Trust me, long after your gift has been forgotten, this one will be treasured.

I hope that you and your have a wonderful holiday season! To the other educator’s out there, finish strong!

Edutopia’s New Resources on Digital Citizenship

Digital Citizenship is always a hot topic with both educators and their schools. I have long been critical of the “stranger danger” focus of most digital citizenhsip curricula. This focus has over-exaggerated the risks of online predators and misinformed a generation of children and their parents, often with detrimental effects.

I was so happy to see Edutopia’s updated curriculum and guidelines, What Your Students Really Need to Know about Digital Citizenship, crafted by the esteemed educator Vicki Davis. It focuses on students created robust passwords (that they don’t share with others), not posting private information, not sharing without permission, the idea of media ownership, and more.

With this ideas coupled with Common Sense Media’s curriculum or the new one introduced by Google, you will be well prepared to help your students be successful online.

Skills of the Future: 10 Skills You’ll Need to Thrive in 2020 [Infographic]

Prepare to be indispensable by 2020 or the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Acquire these top ten skills you need to thrive in the next five years.

Source: Skills of the Future: 10 Skills You’ll Need to Thrive in 2020 [Infographic]

Engaging in Daring Discussions

It is a challenging time in America. Many of us feel divisions about complex and uncomfortable topics such as race, gender, religion, political ideology, just to name a few. As educators, these questions find their ways into our classrooms either through the 12bc39f59437e81161f48d66d99f5cf6--be-brave-conversationsubjects we teach or the students sitting in our classrooms. I think that these discussions are especially challenging for educators are there is an expectation that either a) not address it all, or b) address it thoroughly.

The reality is, that it is an unrealistic expectation for educators to ignore the political and social climate that swarms our schools. Additionally, being responsible for young people, it is also irresponsible to do so.  So, how do we engage in them thoughtfully and meaningfully?

Inspired by Margaret Wheatley, Daring Discussions delves into the heart of what it takes to engage a challenging topics. Check out their Daring Discussions Toolkit for resources and methods to help you along the way.

Fake News Lesson Plan Ideas

I recently had the privilege of participating in Vicki Davis’s show, 10 minute teacher. We talked about teaching students new Media Literacy skills in the era of “Fake News.”

3 Ways for Students to Create with Devices in the Classroom

Devices have become omnipresent in our classrooms. Often, these tools are used as expensive, electronic content delivery systems. However, the real power in technology in schools is that it empowers students to become content creators. Smartphones and tablets, even more so, have allowed them to become mobile and agile ones. Most educators know that individuals learn far more about a topic when they must explain it to someone else. Additionally, by employing multiple learning modalities through the creative process (tactile, kinesthetic, visible, etc), students process material more thoroughly. As you think about your lesson plans in the future, consider empowering students to create rather than just consume. Here are a few ways to do just that.

Create a Video

I am a fan of giving students guiding questions and parameters, then having them make an educational video. In my documentaries project, students must answer address a specific topic (e.g. “Where did George Washington get his reputation for honesty?” or “Was Benedict Arnold solely a villain of the Revolutionary War?”). We talk about creating

content in an engaging way, incorporating images and videos effectively (and ethically), pacing content, and selecting what to include or leave out. Videos are not exclusive to the humanities. I have seen math teachers effectively use them by having students demonstrate how to solve complex problems and science teachers as a recording and reflection for labs. I also encourage students to post their videos publicly (when age appropriate) or to the class via a closed portal (for younger students). By posting their videos publicly and sharing with the class, they are presenting to an authentic audience. Making a video is easy and can by done with a smartphone, tablet, and/or computer. Free software options include iMovie (MacOS & iOS), Movie Maker (Windows), and FilmoraGo (iOS & Android).

Create a Podcast

Podcasts are become ever more popular. There are podcasts to cover news, popular entertainment, hobbies, sports, cultural phenomena, and more. Task your class with

creating a podcast on a topic relevant to your course. If you are a Social Studies teacher, perhaps a weekly podcast on current events. If you teach science, a weekly science report relevant to the topic. Math? Try incorporating an update on a complex topic students are tackling that week. Podcasting can help students work on their public speaking skills as well as how to effectively present to an audience. Again, by sharing the podcast with the public at large or just the class and/or school, students learn what it is to engage with a broader audience. Podcasting can be done easily with a smartphone, tablet, and/or computer paired with a simple microphone to drown out ambient sound (the microphone on headphones can work in a pinch or you can invest in something a little more substantive). My favorite free apps for podcasting include: Garageband (MacOS & iOS) and Audacity (MacOS & Windows).

Websites

My students complete a year long research project that they post on a comprehensive website. Through creating an online portal, they learn how to write effectively for a broad audience, how to cite material so that it is accessible online, how to create and incorporate various types of media, and how to effectively organize and lay-out content. What I especially like about website creation is that it allows students to combine skills that they have learned throughout the year (e.g. video and podcasting). We have all seen “good” and “bad” websites. When it’s published online, students want theirs to look good. As such, it also serves as a basic primer in basic graphic design. There are numerous free website tools out there. If your school is a G-Suite for Education school, then I highly recommend using the new Google Sites. Not only is it easy to use, but it readily allows for collaboration. You can also check out weebly or wix.

If you’re in a school where students have access to devices, I strongly encourage having them turn those devices into content creators. You will find that it empowers them as learners and makes their learning more applicable and deep.