Here’s my question: Why are we so concerned with being “future ready” when we’re not even “present ready?”
I mean, do we really think that our students (and we ourselves) are truly literate in the current Web-centric information environment? Are we using the technologies we have right now to even a quarter of their power or potential? Do we fully understand the implications or privacy and security on our online interactions as they exist today? Are we well enough informed about the motivations of those who want us to buy their products, or the motivations of those who want our kids to continue to take high-stakes standardized tests? Can we say that we’re all good when it comes to the environmental, cultural, and ethical implications around the choices we make around technology and learning and schooling today? (Feel free to add yours below.)
Aside from never being fully able to get anyone to define what exactly is meant by “future ready,” my biggest frustration with initiatives such as these is that they shift focus away from what our bigger issues are right now. There’s a whole bunch of other stuff that we should be talking about before we start trying to figure out what our future needs are. (And by the way, how can you really have a clue about the future if you’re not living in the present?)
While I don’t agree with the whole thing, the summation that Jordan Shapiro gives in his latest post at Forbes resonates:
The point is that our children don’t need 21st century skills. Skills are easy to come by and simple to teach. Besides, those skills necessary to operate the current technologies and to participate in the current economy are certain to be obsolete by the time our children need them. What we need instead is a new kind of normalization—new classroom rules, new district wide administrative systems, new school designs and new educational customs that will break the cycle of winners and losers, haves and have nots, believers and heathens.
We need to teach our children that the goal is not self-empowerment for the sake of the individual, but rather for the collective. They must learn not only how to identify and discover their unique gifts, but also how to offer them up in service to the rest of us.
That has nothing to do with being “future ready,” but it has everything to do with being ready for the future.