Considering how quickly the world is changing, it’s actually surprising that the way kids and young adults are educated looks about the same as it has for the last 50 years or more. But just because high-school students still have their days broken down into about eight periods and store their materials in lockers, that doesn’t mean that certain aspects of education haven’t been updated. Actually, education is changing quite a bit in the U.S. these days, and these changes will have an impact on business and the economy in the years and decades to come. Let’s take a look at a few of these shifts and consider how they’ll matter in the future.
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1. STEM education.
When most of us were coming up, we had classes like “math” and “science” but, some think that it’s time to change that, asserting this is an essential shift that must be made in order for our workers to continue to compete on a global level. In this day and age, it does seem important to teach things like engineering and technology (the T and E of STEM) in addition to the traditional subjects, and the push toward interdisciplinary learning of all four related areas of study seems fitting as well.
“You need people who can repair MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) machines, or work on electric cars,” Executive Director of STEM Education Coalition James Brown told Fox News. “You now need technicians who need to have really hard STEM skills. That’s a skill set that will be growing over the next five years, it will be more in demand, and giving students the foundation for those kinds of careers starts in school.”
2. Online learning.
The scope of online learning opportunities is broadening every day, it seems, as more and more organizations jump on board. From online degree programs to homeschooling resources for younger kids, attending a virtual school rather than one of the traditional brick-and-mortar variety is an increasingly viable and appealing option for a lot of families. Public schools are also getting in the game, using online learning tools to enhance, support, or even overhaul their programs.
There’s no doubt that almost every aspect of life is increasingly available online. The workforce of tomorrow, having grown up this way, is likely to be as comfortable communicating and working virtually as they are IRL; honestly, maybe even more so. This is sure to change how (or at least where) we work in the years to come.
3. Cloud computing.
Businesses and organizations across industries are using cloud technologies more and more, so why shouldn’t educators? Tools like Google Classroom allow schools and teachers to organize assignments and feedback in new ways. These kinds of technologies also allow the classroom, school, or beyond, to communicate with each other like never before. This increased accessibility is something that tomorrow’s workers will be very used to, and it will change the way they work and communicate with one another.
Tomorrow’s workers could end up being quite a persistent bunch, and this is good news for their future employers. There’s been a good deal of discussion lately about the importance of fostering a growth mindset for today’s students. Similar to the “grit” and “resilience” buzzwords that began popping up more and more in education in the last decade or so, the concept of a growth mindset speaks to students’ ability to keep trying and persevering through challenges, obstacles, and frustrations.
The trend was ignited to its current scope of influence by Stanford University professor of psychology Carol Dweck, who published her book Mindset in 2007. This approach seeks to support students through the changes and challenges they’ll face, both during their years in school (perhaps especially with STEM learning) and eventually, in the workplaces of tomorrow.
Tell Us What You Think
How will the latest changes in education change the way we work in the future? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.