Information Age Education Blog
Preparing Students for Their Futures
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“Try to learn something about everything and everything about something.” (Thomas H. Huxley; English writer; 1825-1895.)
Information Age Education has just published a new free book:
Moursund, D, & Sylwester, R., eds. (4/12/2015. Education for Students’ Futures. Florence, OR: Information Age Education. PDF: http://i-a-e.org/downloads/free-ebooks-by-dave-moursund/269-education-for-students-futures-1.html. Microsoft Word: http://i-a-e.org/downloads/free-ebooks-by-dave-moursund/268-education-for-students-futures.html.
This 116-page, 22-chapter book was written for preservice and inservice K-12 teachers, teachers of teachers, and others interested in improving our K-12 educational system. It contains a mixture of theory and practice. Here is an example of eight specific recommendations for today’s students.
Of course, the underlying idea is for teacher, parents, and other adults to help students understand these eight recommendations and to understand their possible personal advantages of following them.
- Develop your “people” and communication skills. Become fluent in face-to-face, written, and computer communication skills. If you have the opportunities to do so, become bilingual and bicultural. Become a “people person” and a “citizen of the world.”
- Focus your education on gaining higher-order, creative thinking, understanding, and problem-solving knowledge and skills in whatever areas you decide to study.
- Learn about current and near-term capabilities and limitations of computers and robots. Plan your education and develop your abilities so that you do not end up in head-to-head competition with computers and robots in areas that they are already quite good at and are getting better (Moursund, 2/11/2015; Boehm, 2/8/2014).
- Make very sure that you learn to make effective and fluent use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), both in general and in the discipline areas you choose to study. Remember, the combination of a human brain and a computer brain can often outperform either one working alone (Moursund, 2014).
- If you are “really into” computers, continue to develop your computer knowledge and skills, but also work toward gaining a high level of expertise in one or more other career fields. This will help prepare you for many of the new jobs that are being developed that require a combination of ICT and “traditional” knowledge and skills.
- Develop learning skills and habits of mind that will serve you throughout your lifetime. For example, learn about persistence along with the concepts of intrinsic motivation, reflection, and instant gratification (Moursund, 1/28/2014).
- Identify your specific physical and mental strengths and weaknesses as a learner and “doer” in each area that you study. Develop and exploit your strengths, and work to overcome your weaknesses.
- This final recommendation is an activity for students to carry out individually. Small group and whole class discussion can then follow the student’s personal introspection and thought. Think about what you want in your future. What informal and formal education do you need to help ensure that you will achieve a decent quality of life? Remember the quote, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Make sure that you gain knowledge and skills that support your intended vocation–but also your possible avocations, hobbies, child-rearing, and other non-vocational aspects of your future.
The bulleted list of recommendations above is based on my personal insights developed by a great deal of reading and thinking. Please do not consider them as gospel. Especially, do not think of them as the basis for a life lesson plan. Rather, use these ideas in conjunction with your own life experiences and insights into the future. Integrate your resulting insights, ideas, and recommendations into your day-to-day lesson plans. They can help provide part of an answer to the student question, “Why do I have to learn this?”
What You Can Do
As you interact with students, keep in mind that they have not yet achieved the adult maturity and points of view that come through years of schooling, rich and varied life experiences, and gaining both physical and cognitive maturity. Set yourself a goal of helping “youngsters” appreciate the value of understanding and pursuing the recommendations in the bulleted list. Routinely engage them in discussions of their possible futures, where they think they are headed in life, and what they are doing to get there.
Suggested Readings from IAE
Moursund, D. (2015). Technology and problem solving. IAE-pedia. Retrieved 4/19/2015 from http://iae-pedia.org/Technology_and_Problem_Solving.
Moursund, D. (2015). Two brains are better than one. IAE-pedia. Retrieved 4/19/2015 from http://iae-pedia.org/Two_Brains_Are_Better_Than_One.
Moursund, D. (2015). What the future is bring us. IAE-pedia. Retrieved 4/19/2015 from http://iae-pedia.org/What_the_Future_is_Bringing_Us.
Moursund, D. (4/11/2015). Viewing “now” from past forecasts. IAE Blog. Retrieved 4/13/2015 from http://i-a-e.org/iae-blog/entry/viewing-now-from-past-forecasts.html.
Moursund, D. (2/13/2015). Robots are here and lots more are coming. IAE Blog. Retrieved 4/19/2015 from http://i-a-e.org/iae-blog/entry/robots-are-here-and-lots-more-are-coming.html.