If artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to change the future workplace, what does this mean for schools?
It almost certainly means re-evaluating what we teach and how we teach it. Are we empowering our students with the skills they will need in this new economy? And, are we providing the type of learning experiences that will help our students not only master the curriculum but help them develop the transferable skills necessary to thrive in an ever-changing world?
It seems that new technologies develop nearly every day that change the way we work. With the speed of innovation we are seeing, our students will need to be adaptable, life-long learners. As jobs change, they will need to adapt. To do this, they will need a strong core of transferable human skills that will benefit them in any position they pursue. These skills will likely not come from standardized testing, lecture-based instruction, or mass memorization of content.
While these approaches have their place in education and will likely persist to some degree, students will need more than that. They will need to be exposed to learning experiences that require them to apply creativity and problem-solving. They must be asked to work through complex tasks with open-ended outcomes. Throughout these types of experiences, they will have opportunities to learn how to persevere and overcome challenges and setbacks. By working through complex scenarios, students can learn how to manage their emotions, stay self-motivated, and remain on-task. These are skills they will need in an evolving world of work.
Three instructional approaches can be particularly powerful and effective ways to provide a context for this type of learning and skill development.
Project-Based Learning (PBL)
Project-based learning (PBL) isn’t new, but it has often been put on the back burner in an age of standardized testing. Now is the time to re-invest in this approach.
PBL is inherently student-centered, providing students with the perfect opportunity to develop the skills they will need to thrive in a rapidly changing work environment. PBL requires students to ask questions, develop a plan, manage time, overcome setbacks, and work through the messiness of an open-ended project. These are invaluable skills that will serve them well throughout their lives.
Inquiry learning is similar in many ways to project-based learning. It is very student-centered and begins with asking questions and developing an action plan before ultimately seeking answers to the driving questions. The inquiry experience is fundamental to developing problem-solving and critical thinking skills, two of the most important skills to navigate change.
Inquiry learning can be implemented as a long-term learning experience or applied on a smaller scale in daily classroom learning.
To learn more about inquiry learning, explore the AVID Open Access collection Engage Students Through Inquiry Learning.
Blended learning provides benefits on several levels.
First, by its nature, blended learning combines technology with the human experience. This is a microcosm of a workplace that is already being infused with AI and other powerful technology. Blended learning provides a structure where educators can provide students with valuable, tech-rich experiences in our classrooms.
Second, blended learning is flexible. Station rotation allows you to build a technology station into nearly any lesson. It also frees you up to meet with students and check in at a teacher station. Similarly, playlists provide ample opportunities to embed technology tasks. Both approaches can be augmented with flipped learning strategies that allow students to work autonomously and at their own pace, either within a station or while completing a choice from a playlist.
And third, blended learning is student-centered. Because the teacher is not always physically present at every station or during every step of a playlist, students must develop the skills necessary to stay on task, solve problems, overcome obstacles, and become more self-reliant. Like any other skill development, this will take practice and scaffolding, but the effort is worth it because these are the skills students will need to adapt to workforce changes.
To learn more about blended learning, explore the AVID Open Access collection Explore Blended Learning Strategies.