Posted by: crudbasher | September 7, 2010

What Kind of Work Are We Preparing Students For?

It has been said many times online that our school system was designed to prepare students to be workers in a factory based industrial economic model.  As I have mentioned too, the system is working well toward that end.  Now with the addition of computer technology and national standardized testing this process can be made more efficient. Of course it’s still obsolete. It’s like putting a new coat of paint on a Edsel.

The reason many people including myself think like this is we see how the workplace will be changing relatively soon.  I came across this article via The Committed Sardine blog (check it out, it’s great!)  They link to a report from Gartner where they talk about how the workplace will look like in 10 years.  Let’s look at the 5 things they listed in the article and compare them with how school works currently shall we? (devilish laugh)

A quick disclaimer. Obviously I am overgeneralizing.  Not all schools are like this.  There are many fine teachers who are working hard to undoing some of the mess that is public education.  I salute them and encourage them to keep working to change the system!

Workplace:
De-routinization of Work.
– Things that can be automated, will be. Human workers deal mostly with unexpected things.

School:
Everything is about routine – Curriculum is designed to be repeatable and is targeted to the average student (who is theoretical).  Focus is on repetition and repeatable tasks.

Workplace:
Work Swarms – Gartner says that "swarming" is a work style characterized by a "flurry of collective activity by anyone and everyone conceivably available and able to add value."

School:
Teacher centric – Because of limited time and "teach to the test", there is no time to allow student exploration and problem solving.

Workplace:
Attention to Patterns
– Gartner predicts "growth in the number of organizations that create groups specifically charged with detecting divergent emerging patterns

School:
Memorization rather than analysis
– School is about memorizing facts.  Not much time can be spent on context or analysis.

Workplace:
Hyperconnectedness. – Work will be about establishing networks of people and ideas to address problem very quickly.

School:
Learning is for school
– The learning is confined to the four walls of the classroom.

Workplace:
My Place.
– "Many will have neither a company-provided physical office nor a desk, and their work will increasingly happen 24 hours a day, seven days a week," states the report. "In this work environment, the lines between personal, professional, social and family matters, along with organization subjects, will disappear."

School:
You have be in school to learn
– It is a tragedy that somehow we have trained our kids that when they leave school each day, they don’t have to learn anymore.

  • Good list for describing how the workplace changes in 10 yrs

    tags: workplace 2020 technology nell

    • How will people work 10 years from now? Gartner thinks it has a pretty good idea, predicting 10 major changes that will occur during the next 10 years.

    • "Work will become less routine, characterized by increased volatility, hyperconnectedness, ‘swarming’ and more," said Tom Austin, a Gartner fellow

    • "People will swarm more often and work solo less. They’ll work with others with whom they have few links, and teams will include people outside the control of the organization," Austin stated. "In addition, simulation, visualization and unification technologies, working across yottabytes of data per second, will demand an emphasis on new perceptual skills."

    • De-routinization of Work.

    • The core value that people add is not in the processes that can be automated, but in non-routine processes, uniquely human, analytical or interactive contributions that result in words such as discovery, innovation, teaming, leading, selling and learning

    • Work Swarms

    • Gartner says that "swarming" is a work style characterized by a "flurry of collective activity by anyone and everyone conceivably available and able to add value."

    • Attention to Patterns

    • Gartner predicts "growth in the number of organizations that create groups specifically charged with detecting divergent emerging patterns, evaluating those patterns, developing various scenarios for how the disruption might play out and proposing to senior executives new ways of exploiting (or protecting the organization from) the changes to which they are now more sensitive."

    • Hyperconnectedness.

    • "Hyperconnectedness will lead to a push for more work to occur in both formal and informal relationships across enterprise boundaries,"

    • My Place.

    • "Many will have neither a company-provided physical office nor a desk, and their work will increasingly happen 24 hours a day, seven days a week," states the report. "In this work environment, the lines between personal, professional, social and family matters, along with organization subjects, will disappear."

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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Responses

  1. Your generalizations are valid, there are few exceptions to these rules. The problem is about to be that we have a bunch of people highly qualified for a job that no longer exists. They will be under prepared for what actually faces them outside of the school room.


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