Monday, November 29, 2010

The future will be pretty much the same as the now

If there is one thing I've learned from my favorite subject, history, it's that things are basically the same as they always were. Of course, our lives are very very different from the lives of our ancestors all around the world, and there is a lot that differentiates me from people raised in other cultures. But we're all basically the same: just getting through the day, doing the work that needs to be done to put food on the table and a roof over our heads, loving and fighting and procreating.

I don't think that's depressing, I think its comforting. I've talked before how its nice to know that there isn't anything all that special or different about me and my situation - the same stories have played themselves out all around the world over and over again.

And now I'm going to bring this huge concept down to a practical level because there is something that all of the educators I interview for a magazine I write for say that drives me a little crazy.

They say that they are training students for jobs that they can't even imagine; that they have no idea what the future will look like when their students graduate and head into the workforce.

On a simple level this is true. We didn't use to need wind farm technicians or need as many computer engineers, computer scientists, and software developers. But those jobs still require basic skills that kids need to learn.

They will need to know how to communicate effectively, and honestly, both in print and speaking outloud.

They will need know how to place nice with others and work effectively on a team. Everyone needs to know how to stand up for themselves, defend the vulnerable, and work toward the common good as well as for their own fulfillment and gain.

CW will attest to my belief that everyone needs to be able to think critically.

They will need to be flexible and constantly thirsty for knowledge if we want them to adapt to changing job markets and not be hobbled as the economy changes.

And perhaps most importantly, they will to be open to new ideas and eager to try new things - if we cant prepare them for what's ahead, we can prepare them to deal with whatever they run into.

These are what people will need to succeed in the knowledge-based, service oriented economy we will have in the future.

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