Today I’m continuing my focus on enterprise / future skills. See 10 February post on Future jobs and enterprise skills for students.
Designing and delivering classroom programs to support effective teaching and learning of future work/enterprise skills is also a challenge. As students embrace using the technology to access online tools, resources and content during their self-directed learning they often go beyond the teacher-directed learning experiences to explore their passions.
Frankston High School initiated an entrepreneurship program which allowed Year 9 and 10 students to spend four hours a week to build their own start-up business. This idea emerged as the teachers saw students mastering particular skills or technology, or generating innovative ideas, but lacked the knowledge and skills to then leverage their capabilities to create social change or a business opportunity. A new elective subject, Innovating in the 21st Century, was introduced. This subject focused on the future of work and the skills required. At the end of the unit students ‘pitched’ their start-up project to a panel and, in addition to discussing and showcasing the project, they reflected on the skills they developed and why the project was important.
Digital media literacy
For a number of years the Horizon Reports (K-12 and Library) have consistently reported the need for digital media literacy to be incorporated in teacher training and the confusion around clearly defining the phrase. Digital media literacy is more about the thinking that transpires when engaged in problem solving/finding and less about the tools.
The American Library Association’s Digital Literacy Task Force has defined digital literacy as ‘the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, understand, evaluate, create, and communicate digital information, an ability that requires both cognitive and technical skills’ (ALAOITP Digital Literacy Task Force 2013).
Coding, an emerging literacy, allows learners to access the tools to create the technologies of the future. Not every student will engage in coding, but they do need to understand the thinking behind applying coding to solve various problems or create solutions. One student might be the digital innovator (ideas person) and the other might be the digital maker (coder/programmer). In a collaborative environment each will bring to the table a range of digital skills and knowledge, abilities to engage in online communities and social networks in an ethical and responsible way, abilities to find, capture and evaluate information from multiple data portals, and engage in critical thinking and creativity. This will very likely be their future work life experience.
Call to action
The best way for a young person to develop their work/career ready skills is within an information rich and technology rich learning environment.
Students seek out a learning experience that is:
Work/enterprise skills help to address the Technologies Curriculum and general capabilities, such as information and communication (ICT), critical and creative thinking, personal and social capability, ethical understanding and intercultural understanding.
Incorporating learning activities that require students to embrace these skills is a high priority in the design of classroom programs.
With 70% of young people entering the workforce in jobs that will be radically affected by automation and with more than half of Australian workers needing to be able to use or build digital systems in the next two to three years (FYA 2015) it is imperative that work/enterprise skills begin early and build sequentially and consistently throughout primary and high school years.