The Internet and digital technology is disrupting education at all levels. Just like the publishing and music industries, education is undergoing an evolution.
Today, students regardless of age can learn a wide range of topics beyond the four walls of a traditional classroom.
Our kids think and learn differently than previous generations and have access to more information and collective knowledge than prior Presidents and Heads of State.
What is fascinating about this generation is how they are using this knowledge to launch their ideas early instead of waiting until college or afterwards.
When I was a kid, we had to earn money the old fashion way – babysitting, washing cars or mowing yards. Today, kids can raise money for startup projects on Kickstarter, earn royalties from YouTube videos or resell server rack space. They are tech savvy and can navigate the Internet and Social Media with ease.
Each day, I read about a new iEducation startup that offers alternative method for teaching coding, problem solving and skill building for the next generation. Both Code Academy and Tynker, offer innovative methods of teaching science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
I believe future employment will require a blending of several critical skills: problem solving, programming and creative design. Digitization is spreading across all industries and we know that any job that can be automated will be in the future. Conversely, we will also witnessing a shortage in highly skilled trade employees.
So how do we prepare our kids for the future?
Progressive schools understand that education must be redesigned to prepare our kids for the future. Classes are being tweaked so that students learn to solve difficult problems in groups, to find hidden opportunities and to understand the intersection of technology and humanities.
Rethink Education is an investment team that seeks to reinvent education by investing in ideas, people and concepts that will change education. Last month, I visited with Tom Segal who is an Analyst at Rethink Education.
Our conversation was thought provoking as we discussed every aspect of education. When talking about the team’s vision, Tom stated “we are looking to disrupt across the entire education spectrum with a focus on lifelong learning. We believe in the promotion of good ideas.”
Our conversation moved from disrupting education to taking responsibility of our own career and education needs. Penelope Trunk blogged last year about “Age of Responsibility” which lead to a discussion of how we are entering into a new era where we are responsible for our children’s education and our ongoing career development.
Tom said “purchasing a diploma is no longer sufficient today. We must all continue to reinvent ourselves and constantly learn new skills.”
Taking education one step further, Rethink Education has backed EverFi; a company that teaches financial literacy to high school students.
Each and every student should have a solid understanding of real life financial skills from knowing how to balance their checkbook to understanding fees assocated with their 401k accounts. Clay Piggy is another startup that focuses on teaching kids good money management skills.
In our parents’ generation, having a diploma was a sufficient stepping stone to securing a position for life. Our generation and future generations will be required to pivot frequently to meet the demands of the changing economy.
Leland Stanford set guidelines for the University that he created. Education must offer “personal success and direct usefulness in life” that professors must understand the relevance of education.
Relevance of education does not involve excelling at standardize tests. Relevance matters when teachers and educators offer skills that will meet future business and employment demands.
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