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The Future is NOW


This article was originally published on the TCAPSLoop blog site.

Our world is changing at a rapid pace as technology continues to evolve. In fact, experts say that 65 percent of children entering school today will end up working in jobs that currently don’t exist. The Future of Jobs Report shows the skills future workers will need in order to thrive in our global society. You can read more about the Top 10 skills here; the chart below will show you how much of a shift we will see in just five years.

Source: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/01/the-10-skills-you-need-to-thrive-in-the-fourth-industrial-revolution/

The Michigan Department of Education also sees the shift happening, and wants to help schools better prepare students. Their Top 10 in 10 Years project includes a roadmap to help Michigan become a Top 10 state in the next 10 years. They are highlighting districts across Michigan (like Shipwreck Alley at Alpena High School) that are reshaping the student educational experience and are making incredible strides with all learners.

What are you doing in your classroom today to encourage these skills? How do we even begin to jump in?

I think taking a good look at the ISTE Standards is a great place to start. ISTE is the International Society for Technology in Education, and their Standards for Students are designed to empower student voice and ensure that learning is a student-driven process. Today’s students must be prepared to thrive in a constantly evolving technological landscape, and these standards help teachers set students up for success. The ISTE site even has a great blog section with a ton of ideas on innovative teaching and learning like this one: ISTE Blog: Gamify Any Lesson, Class, or CurriculumSide note — Gamification is an AWESOME way to help students earn recognition for meeting standards.

Source: https://www.iste.org/standards/for-students

Makerspaces are also a great way to help students exercise these skills. My own second grader is a natural maker, as are many students in our classrooms. Research tells us that making and tinkering are powerful and empowering ways to learn, and we know they help prepare students for this future that we can’t even imagine. I showed my little Maker a project the other day (How To Sew a Circuit Into a Name Badge) after we saw Illuminate at Interlochen, and now she’s totally into wearable electronics. I’m sure we will eventually own a LilyPad so that she can make her Halloween costume light up, and I know the SewElectric book and Beginners Kit will be under the tree at Christmas. I love how this little glimpse into STEM has exploded into some great learning for her and for our family. Makerspaces and projects like this truly let her be in control of her own learning, which is exactly what we need to see from our kids.

“Take apart” stations are an easy way to get our youngest learners working in a Makerspace.


The third thing I would institute in my classroom to help students gain necessary future skills is Project-Based Learning. I love this recent podcast from AJ Juliani called ‘How to ACTUALLY Do Project Based Learning‘. In it, he interviews the authors of Hacking Project Based Learning, Ross Cooper and Erin Murphy, and they give some great ideas on how to get started with this kind of student-centered learning. I would highly recommend going to Ross Cooper’s website to get his free eBook Add On, as it will help shine another light on what Project Based Learning looks like for students.

Source: http://psumurphette.com/2016/12/28/5-critical-questions-to-ask-about-your-project-hackingpbl/

It is so important that we keep this Future of Jobs report in our minds as we design what the educational experience looks like for the kids in our classrooms. In order for our kids to thrive in the future, they need to truly be lifelong learners. What are we doing to encourage this? The future is now, and the world won’t wait for education to catch up.

ISTE’s 11 Hot EdTech Trends to Watch is another great read on the future of education and what we can do now in our classrooms.

Check out the TCAPSLoop Weekly Podcast for continued discussion on #thefutureisnow.


Danelle Brostrom (@brostromda): Danelle is a District Technology Curriculum Coordinator/Google Certified Trainer in MI. She is passionate about innovative tech, digital literacy & STEM!