Schools need to think like tech companies

No-one can predict what skills kids in school will need in the future but changing how and what they are taught can help.
FAIRFAX NZ

No-one can predict what skills kids in school will need in the future but changing how and what they are taught can help.

OPINION: Most schools today operate is a similar way to how they did before the internet was invented.

Kids still sit at desks, paper notes still come home in bags, the hours and terms are similar, mums still vastly outnumber dads at the school gate, and technology is low on the priority list.

This is happening despite society changing and our country and the world going through a technology revolution.

Some schools are blending tech into their teaching as well as how they run the school, and the government has done a good job of connecting schools to ultra-fast broadband.

But overall, schools and the Ministry of Education have a long way to go. 

This is not about forgoing the three Rs for technology, it's about approaching education with the mindset of a tech company.

For example, tech companies such as Google and Facebook spend a lot of time working on projects for how we will use technology in the coming years. 

They don't focus on what they've always done, but are constantly preparing for the future.

So maybe schools shouldn't teach obscure topics like the life cycle of a butterfly (they can Google that information), but rather providing kids will the skills to survive and thrive in a technology-focused world.

​This is not about teaching them how to use a smartphone, it's about teaching them to solve a problem by coding a program. It's about developing a way of thinking, and making tech as important as maths or reading. 

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No-one can predict what kids in school now will need to know in the future but changing how and what they are taught can help.

For example, two important skills needed will be creativity and adaptability. They will need to be creative in the way they solve problems and be able to adapt to ever-changing demands in the working world.

These attributes are why top tech firms are successful.

Some companies, such as Noel Leeming, are working with schools to help. It's asking local primary pupils to submit ideas for what the classroom of the future might look like.

The company visits schools in a Mobile Learning Centre van, giving kids exposure to emerging technology such as 3D printers.

So forget about what laptop to buy your children and focus on getting them the skills to work at the next Google or Facebook.

 - Stuff

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