Progressing in the 21st Century: Part Two: Preparing Our Youth

Progressing in the 21st Century: Part Two: Preparing Our Youth
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When four-month-old Patty and Johnny are 18 years old in 2135 their world, in many ways, will be nearly unrecognizable to our Boomer and, even Millennial world of today and, in order to succeed in their new world, they will need certain values and skills – some timeless, and some not yet imagined.

We can teach them the timeless skills, preparing them for future education.It is important to remember that sources for our youth’s development will more likely than not, stem from privateorganizations (private sector) rather than political (political sector), so we will do well to focus our attention primarily on the private sector.Private sector resources are available for all students, whether they can afford expensive programs and education, or not. The tips here are intended for parents, students and teachers to use, as appropriate. But first, let us take a peek into tomorrow, remembering that, along with supersonic technologic changes, values and social needs are unchanging.

We won’t know specifics until the time comes, of course, but here are some projections from a variety of other experts:

JobsAccording to Prof. Arun Sundararajan (NYU Stern School of Business), the hierarchical style of jobs will likely be replaced by crowd-based capitalism (sharing economy), rather than the managerial (boss/manager/worker) version we’re gradually moving out of today. Global CommerceBrick and mortar stores and automobiles as we know them will probably exist in history books, only. We’ll probably purchase goods digitally, says Neha Nerula*, with Bitcoins or some other form of digital currency (known as cryptocurrency), instead of cash. Cars (which we won’t own) will be self-driving and/or flying, on an Uber-type platform. *Neha Narula is Research Director of the Digital Currency Initiative at the MIT Media Lab.Technology driven global collaborative DIY projects define the Maker Movement. EducationVirtual Reality and augmented reality will take students ‘three dimensionally’ where mere pages and ink cannot – through history, architecture, astrology, boardrooms, geography -- as well as showing developments in climate change and control, medical ‘miracles – through every aspect of life.Medicine Real cyborgs, global crowdsourcing, surgical ‘Jedi knives’ and digital brains that ‘live’ after we die, are only a few of the probabilities of the next decades.Medical research will be largely crowd-sourced collaboration, rather than conducted in individually funded laboratories, Scarcity ManagementAccording to KPMG Africa, “The world (in 2035) has developed very dynamically, especially in China and India. Global energy needs have increased by 80 percent. The scarcity of resources (with regard to energy resources, water, land and food) has increased dramatically. “Scarcity management” is a buzzword in Europe that describes how scarcity is used as an innovation driver.PoliticsPerhaps the most dramatic change will be in dynamics between Russia, China and the United States, as well as restructuring of the Middle East.THE UNCHANGINGWhatever job situation the future adults will face, some things simply don’t change; they are universal values and effective communication skills. Values are the bedrock upon which we face the turbulent, fast-moving changes of our lives. Parents, teachers, and other members of the community are responsible for instilling values in children, that will serve them all their lives. They must learn and practice empathy in a globally diverse society and achieve the feeling of ownership in society by volunteering to improve environment, infrastructure, education and society as a whole – they can choose according to their interests and abilities. Examples of values are:· Honesty· Hard work· Determination· Courage· Trust and respect· Ownership in society· Curiosity· Personal responsibility· Social justice· Accountability Communication SkillsLearn and practice verbal and non-verbal communications skills· Listening· Negotiation· Conflict Resolution· Team Building and Participation· Debate· Trust and Respect· Critical thinking, problem-solving and innovation.· The Great Debaters film (lesson plans)· Learn team building and participationTHE PREPARATIONAccording to Motley Fool, as children enter the adult world, their success will depend primarily on their attitudes toward technology, money and adaptability, and their curiosity, which they will learn at home and in the community, from their earliest days. Equitable opportunities, rather than equal ones, must be provided, meaning each student’s unique needs; equalopportunities mean that, regardless of their individual needs, they all derive the same opportunities – thus, the equal system provides unfair advantages to some, because needs technology opportunities, optimal style of learning – auditory, visual, tactile -- often vary widely. Encourage participation in scholarship-rendering competitions.America’s current system of education was built for an economy and a society that no longer exists. In the manufacturing and agrarian economies that existed 50 years ago, it was enough to master the Three Rs (reading, writing, and arithmetic). In the modern world, though the Three Rs simply aren't enough.Recognizing that students are whole individuals, who may face social and physical challenges that could impact their ability to learn, The Primary School, a model school in the ChanZuckerberg Initiative, addresses all aspects of education for underserved children and families, from Age 3 through high school, with the ultimate goal of providing similar opportunities across the globe.

“The only way we can reach our full human potential is if we are able to unlock the gifts of every person around the world,” said Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg.If tomorrow’s students want to compete in this global society, they must be proficient communicators, creators, critical thinkers, and collaborators. That would require a significant overhaul of, not only the education system, but also attitudestoward education. No longer can the emphasis be on playing competitively (sports programs) rather than learning collaboratively and thinking critically, as they would in a debating team. The Great Debaters, a true story, features severely underprivileged high school students in the 1930s, whose dedicated, imaginative teacher taught them to debate, ultimately inspiring them to compete with the Harvard Debating Team – and win! Even in Middle School, students can learn debating skills, which include critical thinking, collaboration, research, public speaking and team skills. Parents and teachers can acquire skills for teaching leadership with verbal communication through such organizations as Toastmasters International.

Patty and Johnny are likely to find themselves in a community-driven society, rather than an individualistic one; it will be collaborative, rather than competitive, and it will be globally based. Shifting from a competitive to collaborative approach is directly related to the current prevalent approach of win/lose objectives in the competitive paradigm. One person or team wins (dominating, strong), and the other loses (powerless, weak). In the win/lose mindset, only half will succeed; half will not, so that society will be weaker and less effective than the win-win (collaborative) society in which everyone wins, and the strength is double that of the alternate approach. Therefore, following global trends today, American society must adopt a collaborative approach in order to thrive in tomorrow’s world.

From earliest days, John R. and Mary Pat, parents of the infants, can begin preparing their children to succeed; they can read to them, talk to them and sing to them often, using repetitious words, such as nursery rhymes so that the babies can begin recognizing speech patterns. As the children begin to form opinions, parents can listen closely to them, non-judgmentally and, through gentle questioning, guide them to critical thinking.The resultant love of reading will play an important role in achieving success in general information, empathy and communications skills.

Also, they can teach their children the beginnings of reading, counting, math and other skills through such online sites as Scholastic (free) and Enchanted Learning ($20 per year).

Community Involvement can involve the local neighborhood, church, school, etc., and ripple out to involve the entire globe.Collaboration is integral to community involvement. For individual participants, this involves developing skills for: · listening · innovation · brainstorming · conflict resolutionand · negotiation – all, in diverse situations. Participating in such groups as Girl and Boy Scouts, Boys and Girls Clubs and Youth Volunteer Corps as well as a myriad of other community outreach groups, can nurture a sense of belonging to the community and self-worth as the youngsters learn and contribute their talents.

Conversely, when children and young adults benefit from such groups as Big Brothers/Big Sisters and Toastmasters International’s Youth Leadership courses, they can help to fill in whatever gaps they may experience in socialization and communication skills.

Crowd Science, now available on BBC Radio and ResearchGate are only two of the global information crowdsourcing opportunities available today and, for higher education, scholarships and competitions abound.Obviously, Patty and Johnny will grow up in a tech-driven global society, for which you will help them lay the foundation by teaching unchanging values, attitudes and skills. Technology itself will take them the rest of the way. Among the many, many additional excellent resources for riding the wave of accelerating progress in technology, energy, science and education are: · Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist's Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations by Thomas Friedman· The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation I'm ready to help our youth learn to mold a world in which everyone has equivalent opportunities to thrive, together; are you? We can take this journey together!

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P.S.: Patty and Johnny’s names are derivations of my oldest brother’s and mine; John R. and Mary Pat were our parents; using their names is a tribute to them. They took us as far as they could, at the time. With our more basic education of the last century, we couldn’t even have dreamed of the world we inhabit today! Just look at how far we’ve come, though, and imagine how far our children and grandchildren will soar!

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