It doesn’t seem like particularly long ago when the basis for completing your education and becoming a successful adult centered on literacy, the ability to solve geometry problems, and a certain level of networking luck in finding a job in your field of interest. Sure, all of these skills are still profoundly important when it comes to achieving academic mastery and career bliss, but something else has replaced all three as the single most important thing to learn in the classroom.
The top spot has been replaced by none other than technology.
It may seem strange that tech skills are something students actually need to learn in a classroom setting – often it feels as though younger generations are miles ahead and are slowing down only to teach their elders how to keep up. Regardless of whether or not this is the case in certain aspects, educating today’s students about the sheer power of technology and how to use it to their advantage is an essential life skill.
All you want, none of the quality
Long gone are the days spent searching through libraries for that one piece of information needed to back up a claim in a research paper. Now anyone who has a question is promptly told to ‘Google it’ (although there are a number of other search engines available). For the most part it is really that simple – the information to be found on the Internet is limitless. But for most academic research teaching students to search for quality information can be as critical as teaching them to use the Dewey Decimal System used to be.
Educating students about the basics of internet searching can be a major advantage in helping them find relevant, quality information quickly. Furthermore, helping them to find major clearinghouses for the types of academic research they are looking for (such as BioOne or JStor) can be an even greater help. As technically advanced as most students are, most won’t be introduced to these until they reach high school or even college.
We hear a lot about the recklessness of teenagers and young adults in their day to day lives and although there are many physical dangers we would rather they didn’t face, there are also a lot of online risks to avoid. One major factor is the risk posed by the exponential rise of cybercrimes. The number of people losing their personal information to criminals through online avenues is on the rise yearly and, according to Norwich University, over 50 percent of companies claim they are not prepared to deal with a major cyber security threat.
Aside from the small fact that most employers are looking for individuals trained in cyber security, providing an education on the topic lessens the likelihood of students falling victim to threats posed by internet criminals. Becoming one of millions that has lost information to cybercrime is an extremely damaging place to be as it can drain bank accounts and ruin credit for the long-term, limiting ability to qualify for loans, make major purchases, or rent apartments. Knowledge of implementing security to protect personal information is definitely as important of a life skill as balancing a budget.
The job market is calling
Perhaps the single largest reason to teach students how to use technology effectively is the job market. It is no small thing that approximately 54 percent of businesses want more analytics. Companies in every industry want new employees that understand how to integrate basic and advanced technology into their workflow to increase efficiency and save valuable company money.
Students with a strong foundation in technology are going to be the ones that are able to snag those jobs as the economy continues to grow and Baby Boomers reach retirement. Teaching them the critical thinking skills necessary to apply their tech know-how is an essential component of education today. There is no reason to fear technology taking over teaching, teachers will always be needed to teach smart, responsible tech use to students.
About the author
Fractus guest post by Brittni Brown. Brittni is a recent graduate of The College of Idaho. In her free time she enjoys reading, trivia, and a variety of outdoor activities.
Feature image courtesy of Flickr, ssoosay.