Written by Charlotte Brearley, BSD Education
1. Kids need digital skills to succeed in the future
Technology is already fundamental to every industry and this will only increase. We can’t ignore the way the world is going and the facts: computer-related employment will grow 22% by 2020 and 65% of children entering primary school today will do jobs that don’t yet exist.
For students to succeed in the future, it is therefore critical they learn digital skills. Some schools believe that this can be done through a computing class or an after school club, but in the real world technology touches everything and impacts everyone. It cannot be isolated to one subject area or a group of self-selecting people and the school environment must reflect this. It needs to be infused across everything so that students can make connections, follow their interests and understand how to use and apply technology to build solutions across contexts.
2. It increases engagement
As well as giving your students the skills they need to succeed in the future, teaching digital skills will increase engagement with your subject. Teachers we have trained have reported that students are more engaged in classes using BSD Online and our curriculum. It can enable a more interactive learning environment and helps make the learning more authentic. Students can struggle with the real world context of some topics and a common question is ‘Why are we learning this?’. Bringing technology into your subject and giving your students the opportunity to explore, build and create with it makes the connection to the real world much stronger and helps to pique students’ interest.
3. It develops vital soft skills
Point 1 highlighted the importance of learning technical skills to help students succeed in the future. However, the skills developed by bringing technology learning into your subject don’t stop there. Technology learning expands the mindsets of young people by developing ‘21st century skills’. By focusing on designing and developing real-world products, learning how to apply technology nurtures a range of critical competencies for young people. For example:
Communication and Collaboration
When working to create a solution or product, students often have to work together to combine complementary skills and must always consider whether the end product is actually going to work for the end user. Students therefore need to work with others to: determine who will do what; understand potential users’ requirements; request and act on feedback; and share information about what they have designed and built. None of this can be done without communication and collaboration skills.
Creativity links to building with technology in two main ways: Creativity in problem solving and creativity in design. When solving a real world problem, students need to think creatively about how to solve it using a technological solution. Once students have decided on the product or solution, they need to think about the best way to design it. Thinking about the end user, they need to consider user experience and user interface – nobody wants to use a poorly design product.
Computational thinking is about taking complex problems and breaking them into tiny pieces, which is exactly what students have to do when they are deciding how to use technology to provide solutions. In a rapidly changing future, students will have to solve problems constantly to adapt to the world around them.
Bringing technology learning into your subject is a win-win. It will make your classes more inspiring and engaging, whilst also giving your students the skills and competencies they need to succeed in their futures.
To find out how BSD empowers all teachers to bring technology learning into their classroom and give their students the tools of tomorrow, get in touch!