65% Of Kids Entering School This Year Will End Up In Jobs That Don’t Exist Yet

Preschoolers may have full mastery of your iPad but Cathy N. Davidson, a professor at Duke University, argues that classrooms are not keeping up with the new ways in which our kids are learning. In her new book Now You See It, she points out that many of our schools are stuck teaching with archaic methods, training our kids for an economy that won’t exist by the time they are adults.

Among her findings, she writes that “By one estimate, 65 percent of children entering grade school this year will end up working in careers that haven’t even been invented yet.”

She tells The Atlantic that technology alone won’t suffice in changing up the classroom, but rather using said technology with new teaching practices — an even taller order given the state of our education. She adds that the future cannot really be known, but that many of theories advocated and studied in mainstream education did not produce some of our most influential mediums. Crowdsourcing, she explains, is one of them:

Let’s not even try to imagine the future. Everywhere around us are new kinds of employment that didn’t exist a decade ago. In fact, if you look back a decade to what people predicted we’d be doing now, almost everyone was wrong. Very few people, including those who invented the Internet and the World Wide Web, understood the impact crowdsourcing would have… Wikipedia, of course, is itself an example of crowdsourcing and no one predicted that without remuneration, as volunteers, millions of people all over the world would create the largest encyclopedia the world has ever seen, and would work to edit it to make it better, more reliable than any existing dictionary. No economic, intellectual, pedagogical theory predicted Wikipedia. “Human nature” a decade ago wouldn’t even allow such a cooperative venture, and yet there we have it. And so much of contemporary life is now crowdsourced — including the free and open source Web browser Firefox by Mozilla which has taken over nearly 30 percent of the world-wide usage share of Web browsers.

As one of the many milennials who has found her career to be in blogging, Davidson’s number seems to square with what a number of my peers and I are doing versus what we were learning. When we were little, DOS commands and the Internet were timidly being introduced to us in computer labs (actually I have to credit my father solely with teaching me DOS commands as a kid). And even though we worked freely on both Macintoshes and PCs without really knowing the difference, we still learned very little about computers in my school — with the exception of after school Oregon Trail marathons.

Not only do I work in a medium that didn’t even exist when I was kid, the majority of the skills I need to effectively do my job were procured outside the classroom. Reading, writing, and spelling are not to go uncredited by my elementary school, but navigating platforms like WordPress, embedding video code, uploading images, and tweeting all came to me in the deep recesses of my college dorm room — not my formal education. And while I can pen a pretty persuasive essay regarding the major themes of Virginia Woolf‘s Mrs. Dalloway, it’s my mastery of all the aforementioned skills that pays my rent.

To give you some idea of how quickly technology is changing in the contemporary job market, I’ll leave you with this very impressive video by Did You Know?, full of all kinds of fun numbers to put our accelerating times into proper perspective.
[youtube_iframe id=”HybVOMJI0_E”]

(photo: ipadcollection.org)

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