The world of work will change more in the next 50 years more than it has in the last hundred years. When my parents emmigrated to Australia in the 70’s they had to travel to the city centre, use a public phone to speak to a telephonist overseas who transferred them to their local exchange and then their family home. Fast-forward 25 years when I was living overseas we were using a webcam to chat. So what will my daughter be using to talk to me when she does her overseas stint in 25 years time? I’m thinking holograms, digital postcards, teleportation? I wish! The point is technology is not just growing, every discovery makes leaps and bounds expanding technical possibilities exponentially.
This week the national not-for-profit group, the Foundation for Young Australians who work with young people to create social change say 60 per cent of students are studying or training for occupations that will not exist in the future or will be completely transformed by automation. Tech entrepreneur Dr Clarence Tan who is an adjunct professor at both Bond and Griffith universities believes that within the next 50 years we will be able to connect our wet matter (our brains) with hardware. Ewww!
This week we have seen children in an Adelaide school programming and interacting with robots. Finland is moving into the digital age by ditching the ink in favour of keyboards by 2016 and schools in Texas in the US are playing games to learn.
With all these wild predictions and some early adopters, policy makers can get into a bit of a flap about what skills they need to develop to meet these future careers. Of course we can look at where the future careers are headed but it doesn’t mean the answer is sitting a 3 year old in front of an ipad.
My day job is a career advisor at a university and having had 7 years experience in the tertiary sector seeing young adults formulating their careers and then having children myself and reflecting on their development, my skills development wish list for my children would include a focus of 3 core skills;
1. Resilience – For me this is the ability to take on board criticism, adapt to changing circumstances such as a contract not being renewed or being made redundant.
2. Creativity – To see things from different perspectives, use different tools, tricks and trials to test and re-test ideas and solutions.
3. Confidence – I will use my 5 year olds description of confidence which is begin brave enough to try something again and not give up.
So before we take a giant leap into embedding more tech into the under 5’s lets just chill and leave educators to develop children’s minds in the best way available; play!
Photo credit: rcdawson.com