Technology is a wonderful thing, isn’t it? We are connected wherever we are in the world. One can find an answer for just about anything with a few simple keystrokes. Technology evolves at a staggering pace, often outpacing changes in school curricula. This creates gaps in our education system that can leave students unprepared for the challenges of college and the workplace. Some believe that schools should focus on building more specific technology curriculum to ensure that students are well prepared for their entry into the workforce. I am not one of them.
Technology will continue to evolve at a rate that may outpace the ability of schools to create curricular materials that educate for it. Children today are exposed to technology almost as soon as they exit the womb. For today’s children, technology is as much a part of their life as family dinners were to earlier generations. Children are savvy enough to figure out how to use technological advances as the need arises.
Schools would be better served by finding ways to have students use technology in project-based lessons with real life applications, and to shift the focus of educational outcomes on other skills that are essential for workplace success.
The internet is a powerful source of data. Yet how does one know if the data makes sense in the context of a specific business challenge? Critical thinking skills, including curiosity, logic, and common sense are often overlooked, yet are essential for actually using the vast volume of information gained through technology.
Organization and prioritization skills are required for workplace success. In the world of endless data, we sometimes lose sight of where to start and where to spend our time. Effective organization and prioritization are essential skills that enable productivity and create the biggest impact on business results.
Finally, building relationships is something that a computer just can’t do. Encouraging students to work with others, fostering teamwork, and teaching them when to walk away from email and have a face-to-face discussion are important skills to those students becoming successful business leaders.
Those students who are comfortable with technology and are also strong critical thinkers, organized, and able to build relationships at work are the ones who will succeed in the workplace. Educators not only need to build competency in technology, but also teach these other skills to ensure students are prepared for professional success.