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Teaching To 21st Century Technology Based Young Minds - Are We Reaching Them?

Updated on July 26, 2014
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Has Teaching Evolved to Teach Skills Needed in Current Workplace?

As society changes, the skills needed to negotiate the complexities of life also change. A person was considered literate in the early 1900's when simple reading, writing, and calculating skills were learned. Currently public education builds on these skills. We need to look at the skills needed for the current job market, and keep a watchful eye on what types of skills are needed for future jobs not yet created. Employers expectations have changed over time. Workers need to build on the skills of the 20th century by mastering a new and different skill set in the 21st century. Workers will need to perform work that overseas knowledge-workers can't do cheaper, computers can't do faster, and that satisfies the aesthetic, emotional, and spiritual demands of a prosperous time. Schools need to prepare students for a workplace that values innovation, imagination, creativity, communication, and emotional intelligence. Do we currently do this?

Does the school system properly prepare students for 21st century jobs?

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Do Our Schools Engage 21st Century Children?

Do children today with all of their exposure to technology learn the same way as children in the 20th century?

How the brain is trained influences how we learn. Human brains have been reprogrammed throughout time. The literate man's brains were reprogrammed to deal with the invention of written language and reading. The brain had to be retrained to deal with things in a higher linear way. Reading has a different neurology to it than things built into our brains, like spoken language. With the invention of television came a reprogramming again of the brain, and now our children's brains are being reprogrammed by computers and technology. Children raised with the computer think differently from the rest if us. They develop hypertext minds that leap around. It's as though their cognitive structures were parallel, not sequential. Linear thought processes that dominate educational systems can retard learning for brains developed through game and web surfing on the computer. Thinking skills enhanced by repeated exposure to computer games and other digital media include reading visual images as representations of three dimensional space, multidimensional visual-spatial skills, mental maps, inductive discovery, attentional deployment (monitoring multiple locations simultaneously), and responding faster to expected and unexpected stimuli.

Does this new way that children are thinking create shorter attention spans? If you think about it, children's attention spans are not short for computer games and other things that interest them. They crave interactivity, an immediate response to their action. Traditional schooling provides very little of this interactivity compared to the rest of their world. Children are accustomed to multitasking, fast paced, graphics first, active, connected, fun, fantasy, quick payoff world of video games and Internet and are bored by most of today's education. In addition, skills that new technologies have enhanced which have profound implications for their learning are ignored by educators.

What is the answer, is it possible to make a change in our schools?

Some have explored digital game-based learning, however have come against much criticism.

Game Based Learning (a little over 3 minutes)

Making a change to the school system is quite an undertaking and will be very difficult. I do not have the answer, I leave the questions for you to answer. Do our schools need to change to accommodate a new generation of digital thinkers? What does this kind of education look like and how do we implement it?

Do our schools need to change to accommodate a generation of digital thinkers?

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© 2013 HeatherH104

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    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 3 years ago from South Africa

      School systems in all countries surely have to change. But that would be like getting an elephant out of a too small cage without an exit. But there is a saying - "Children grow up regardless of their parents." In the same way they will learn regardless of ineffective education systems.

    • HeatherH104 profile image
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      HeatherH104 3 years ago from USA

      True. Being a parent I want what's best for my kids and having to settle for an outdated educational system frustrates me. Other than home schooling there's not much I can do - like you said it would be virtually impossible to change our schools.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

      Hi Heather! I have homeschooled my children. They have also been enrolled in private school. Now they are in public school. My son has Autism which is one reason I was inclined to homeschool. Until after he was hospitalized several times and medicated, I didn't think he would be able to sit down in school long enough to learn anything.

      We are fortunate in that there is a newer school one town over that caters to children with special needs. My son lacked in reading. He has phonological disorder. Speech was not his strength. But the school had high-tech equipment. He had a computer to do his writing on and math in which he excels. After a year of going there, he is now going to be mainstreamed to our local school where my daughter goes. He will have an aide. But, my daughter was a little behind at first and her teacher had 5 computers set up in the classroom. She was able to use a computer every day and catch up. By the end of the year, she was at grade level.

      I do believe that schools need more technology in the classrooms. In my personal experience, where my son lacked in physically writing or speaking, he excelled in typing on a computer! Nowadays, I see that all kids learn faster at a keyboard. My little cousins learned how to read by playing on one of those Leap Frog games.

      However, having said that, I think music and art are just as vital to our schools, and those are usually the first to be taken away.

    • HeatherH104 profile image
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      HeatherH104 3 years ago from USA

      What an amazing story about your son. It sounds like without technology he wouldn't have been able to come this far.

      I'm not convinced schools have updated enough to prepare kids for 21st century jobs. Technology/multitasking/interacting on a large scale (not just sit down, shut up, listen and take notes) etc are vital. Unfortunately I don't know if changing the big education system is even possible. As a teacher you are told what books to use, what page to be on by a certain day, etc and no variation is allowed. Makes changing pretty hard.

      Thanks for reading and commenting! :)

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      Shashank 2 years ago

      Agreed!!Most schools keep on prahecing on the importance of reading and understanding the concept of this and that but they ignore this. Whereas nowadays when we look out for a job employers prefer the applicant to have a good communication skills. And in Jakarta most private institution that offer this course/subject will cost you big money.

    • HeatherH104 profile image
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      HeatherH104 2 years ago from USA

      Thank you for your comment Shashank. Now if only we could actually change the schools!

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