Ensuring Kids’ Success in a Changing Technological Landscape

Author : Guest Blogger
Date : March 18, 2018

Technology is changing at such a rapid pace that it’s almost impossible to predict what jobs will be available in the next generation. With this exponential rate of growth and change, many careers that exist today won’t be around in 15 years.

In the past, the pace of development moved more deliberately and based on thousands of years of evolution, the human brain is not great at dealing with exponentially changing information. That’s why, for example, a large consulting firm advised U.S. communications giant AT&T not to get involved in the cell phone market 20 years ago. It was inconceivable at the time that mobile technology would develop so quickly and become so pervasive.

Future technology trends

technology

So what are technology experts predicting for the near future? Artificial intelligence is becoming increasingly important. Programs such as Siri and Cortana are very early systems designed to answer user questions, but the technology of the future will be expert at intelligent decision-making based on evaluating information. This paves the way for self-driving cars and other automated technology.

Robotics is another rapidly developing area. Robots are already used for everything from industrial production to advanced medical surgery. Robots that can self replicate and build parts to repair themselves are on the horizon.

So what should we be teaching kids?

computer-science-kid

Given that we can’t really predict how far technology will evolve in the next few decades, what should we be teaching kids to prepare them for success? How should classrooms adapt so that kids today are well equipped for the world that they’ll be living in?

According to Dr. Tony Wagner at Harvard University’s Innovation Lab, the most important skills kids need for to prepare success include:

 

 

  • Critical thinking and problem solving
  • Leadership and collaboration
  • Adaptability
  • Initiative and entrepreneurship
  • Communication skills
  • Curiosity

The biggest emphasis should be on teaching children to be creators, not users. This means giving them the skills to assess, evaluate, and act on information. Children who can take initiative to solve problems and have the critical thinking skills combined with curiosity are likely to be more successful in the modern knowledge-based economy.
Teaching kids to code is increasingly acknowledged as an important foundation for success. In the past few years, countries around the world have committed billions of dollars to developing computer education programs for students of all ages.

In fact, coding utilizes all of the skills emphasized by Dr. Wagner. Learning to program helps kids develop analysis skills and emphasizes working collaboratively to solve complex problems. Children learn to confidently interact with technology and use creativity and curiosity to create whatever they can imagine.

They get to practice leadership and communication skills through teamwork. Programming can also be used to build entrepreneurship skills. For example, kids are thrilled when they build a working piece of software that they can sell through an iPhone or Android app store.

While schools are hurrying to build effective computer science courses, currently the best way to introduce your kids to the benefits of computer programming is through an extracurricular program. In a fun, collaborative environment they’ll learn to build games and other creative projects and even learn programming through robotic toys. For more information about our programs for kids from 1st through 12th grade, contact Junior Coders staff today.

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