Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Future Starts Now

Will Richardson's question--"What do we know about our kids' futures?"--has sparked a firestorm of discussion about 21st-century learning imperatives. Miguel Guhlin has synthesized the many suggestions on a wiki and invites others to contribute. Not surprisingly, his list echoes the big themes of the refreshed NETS-S, highlighting such critical skills as collaboration and problem solving. But there are some interesting new ideas here, too, such as being courageous, having empathy, being "design aware," and having an orientation toward the future.

What might unfold with more competency in all these areas? Here's a recent application of 21st-century skills that seems to fill the bill: Babajob is a new social-networking site in India's Bangalore region that connects the poor with potential employers. Seems simple, yet it took an economist to figure out that poverty persists here because the poor lack connections to find better-paying work. Babajob, created by a former Microsoft researcher, combines the power of personal connections with social-networking technology, along with some creative problem-solving strategies for overcoming the digital divide. This New York Times article about Babajob tells more of the back story, and gets me thinking about those essential "future skills." Seems like we need to be teaching them today.


S McPherson said...

A ning my students started in investigating 21st skills. This is for a Language Arts & Technology class, thus the focus on building reading literacy skills. I interwine language literacy to new literacy for 21st C.


Suzie Boss said...

This is an important conversation. Makes great sense to invite today's students to talk about their own future.
Thanks for sharing the site.

MaryJo Wagner, Ph.D. said...

Given the vast amount of knowledge we now have about the brain, esp. that the brain isn't hard wired, we need to be empowering kids with this knowledge.

When they learn to "manage" their brain, it impacts all learning.

Certainly a 21st century skill.