Is your school making the most out of the digital revolution?

Is your school making the most out of the digital revolution?
Adobe recently hosted a Think Tank on the Future of Work, which centred on how disruptive technologies are transforming the way professionals live and work across the APAC region.

Education and its role in shaping the workers of the future was a key topic of discussion. Overall, the panellists agreed that education is critical to the future success of the economy.

Below, The Educator speaks to Mark Henley, director of transformation and digital strategy at Adobe, APAC, to find out what the report means for principals striving to prepare students for the world they’ll enter once they leave school.

TE: In your view, what is the biggest call to action for K-12 schools out of this report?
Our research found that one in three Australian and New Zealand professionals are concerned that machine learning and artificial intelligence will impact their jobs. The landscape of work is rapidly changing and predicting the skills that students will need for the jobs of the future is becoming more and more difficult. What we do know however, is that we need to be providing students with a practical knowledge base and adaptable skill set which will open them up to a variety of career options across all industries. We need to be engaging students in educational programs that teach problem solving in a structured way, stimulate creativity, work collaboratively and challenge them to express their solutions with media appropriate to the task and audience.

TE: According to Dr Joseph Sweeney, one of the jobs that will go soon is coding. With so many schools now teaching students to code, how would you recommend that principals address this issue?
In today’s emerging digital world, coding is useful as a way to teach problem solving skills. It’s not the coding per-se, rather, code’s clear structuring of the solution to a defined problem. So, as long as coding is used to express solutions to problems, then it’s a skill worth teaching. However, at Adobe we also recognise the importance of equipping students with skills that will enable them to work with a range of technologies, including those that do not exist yet. By providing students access to the technologies that are changing our world, we are giving them the freedom to explore their ideas and creating an environment of discovery.

TE: You said that we haven’t yet got the educational structures in place to teach people how to self-direct. What advice would you give to schools and education systems in this context?
We need to acknowledge how complex this shift is. Teachers already work very hard not to simply broadcast information in the hope that it will be received and understood. Educators, and the education system, needs support from government, industry and parents to be able to move quickly enough, and be relevant in what is taught. Identifying what to teach is difficult when the understandings of what skills are needed in a fast moving digital economy are also not clear. Consequently, we need to start prioritising emotional intelligence (EQ), and formalising how this is taught in classrooms.

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