There are two major trends in the world that pose a fundamental challenge – and many opportunities – to our educational system. One is the world is shifting from an industrial economy to a knowledge economy. The other is the rising generation – brought up on the Internet – is very differently motivated to learn.
Dr. Wagner, co-director of Harvard's Change Leadership Group has identified what he calls a "global achievement gap," which is the leap between what even our best schools are teaching, and the must-have skills of the future:
Collaboration across networks and leading by influence
Initiative and entrepreneurialism
Critical thinking and problem-solving
Effective oral and written communication
Accessing and analyzing information
Agility and adaptability
Curiosity and imagination
Dr. Wagner points out that in today’s digital age, the “Net generation” is, among other things, accustomed to instant gratification and use of the web for extending friendships, interest-driven, self-directed learning; and are constantly connected, creating, and multitasking in a multimedia world – everywhere except in school.
In order to motivate and teach this generation, the school system must be reinvented to be accountable for what matters most. That means to do the work – teaching, learning, and assessing – in new ways.
Students must acquire knowledge, but “we need to use content to teach core competencies,” he states.
To learn more about the seven skills, and how to reinvent the education system to prepare our graduates for the 21st century, please view the accompanying presentation below. This presentation is based on Dr. Wagner's book: From The Global Achievement Gap: Why Even Our Best Schools Don’t Teach The New Survival Skills Our Children Need – And What We Can Do About It (Basic Books, 2008). The program was made possible through the generous and visionary support of the MetLife Foundation.