Written by Nickey Khem, BSD Education
With the arrival of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, there have been significant changes and disruptions to various industries. The advancement of technology in the past decade has transformed the way we live and work.
Some jobs will disappear as they become automated, like those in factories and administrative roles, while new jobs will surface to meet the disruptions brought about by Industry 4.0. Therefore, it is certain that we need to re-align our priorities in equipping our children with the digital skills needed to stay in pace in 2020 and beyond.
Educators globally have been identifying essential digital skills for their curriculum to help make their students future-ready. After 7 years of working with schools worldwide to integrate technology education across all subjects, I’ve identified a list of 3 key digital skills I believe will play a crucial role in students’ development and success when they enter the workforce.
Complex Problem Solving
Traditionally, problem-solving involves applying a standard set of steps and processes which includes defining the problem, setting a goal, deciding on the best solution, and applying it.
However, these steps have become insufficient when trying to solve more complex problems that will be presented by the 4th Industrial Revolution. The problems faced now often change after a solution is provided, thus requiring to observe these changes and cycle back to reflect upon them.
A good process that is used on more complicated problems is the RATIO (Reflect, Analyze, Target, Implement, Observe) Problem Solving steps, which was introduced by the CoThink Academy.
Not only does this process allow us to better tackle complex issues and problems but it also introduces a deeper critical thinking skillset into the process by focusing on objectives and possible methods and tools to solve them.
This allows students to learn the important steps such as reflecting and observing which allow solutions to be iterated upon to match the ever-changing demands of the future workforce.
An example of RATIO being used in the workforce is how the manufacturing industry used it to tackle their bottling line and during the Observe phase, they identified issues that they had to cycle back and reflect upon.
An example of a future complex problem will be maintaining privacy as more of our daily lives become digital. With the advancements of technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), our daily devices such as fridges can compile data, can we use this data collected about what is in our fridge and what purchases we are making to help reduce global waste?
For more than half of the jobs we see today, 30% of tasks are automatable. As technology rapidly evolves, previously revered breakthroughs are quickly forgotten, and specialized skill sets become obsolete. Creative thinking allows us to be agnostic to technologies and think outside the box when using them to tackle challenges they will face in the future.
Therefore an important skill for the future workforce facing technologies such as automation is creative thinking. Technologies such as automation are simply tools that can be seen to augment us, as opposed to replacing us. These tools heavily rely on our creative thinking to identify novel ways to use them to solve problems.
An example of this is how the retail sector is currently using automation to handle transactions currently but aims to use it to provide the sales teams information on their customers that will lead to more personalized customer experience.
To ensure a future workforce, we must be able to do what machines are unable to.
It is important to invest in the growth of people who are creative and versatile. And, who are eager to learn and will be flexible through each technological advance.
Social / Emotional Skills
Outside of the usual tech skills, I believe it is important to look at transferrable or soft skills that allow us to collaborate and work with others as well.
Social and emotional skills, such as self-awareness, empathy, respect for other individuals
and the ability to communicate will be essential as classrooms and workplaces
become more ethnically, culturally and linguistically diverse. Human interaction in the workplace involves collaborating as teams, with people playing off of each other’s strengths and adapting to changing circumstances. Such non-repetitive interaction is at the core of the human advantage over machines.
To acknowledge and respond to these global connections, schools can promote certain social and emotional skills that are considered to be related to cognitive skills, such as visual processing to allow students to practice solving logical problems in math visually to allow them to envision or comprehend the information.
Education may foster the types of attitudes and values, such as openness and respect for others as individuals, that students need in order to be more inclusive and reflective of more diverse societies that they will find when they enter the workforce of the future.
In addition to our experiences, research held by some of the leading industry experts identify the importance of these digital skills as well. An example of this is the research held by Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends Survey which showcases an increase in demand for digital skills.
If you’re interested in chatting more about future-ready skills, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org! Or if you want to learn more about how you can bring digital skills to your classroom, check out our ready-to-use curriculum Technology Education here: https://bsd.education/offerings/programs-of-learning.