- A new report from Adobe, titled "Creative Problem Solving in Schools: Essential Skills Today’s Students Need for Jobs in Tomorrow’s Age of Automation," finds technology plays a necessary role in equipping students with the creative problem-solving, communication and critical-thinking skills they need for future success, according to EdTech: Focus on K-12.
- Of the K-12 and higher ed professionals surveyed by Adobe, 74% said automation was less likely to impact jobs requiring critical thinking, and 69% said creative problem-solving isn't focused on enough in primary and secondary curriculum.
- EdTech reports that the top issues educators say they've run into when utilizing tech resources to build those skills are limited time to create, lack of educator training, limited student access to tech at school or home, and outdated testing requirements.
Schools and districts find themselves challenged with a need to innovate and rethink education to best prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow, many of which don't exist. Employers are also demanding more graduates with strong social-emotional skills like creative and critical thinking, communication and collaboration, and empathy.
But policies over the last few decades have also facilitated the rise of assessment culture, where preparing students for high-stakes standardized assessments tied to school ratings and teacher evaluations has become a necessity while having the side-effect of hindering efforts to take risks and innovate. How much the Every Students Succeeds Act's efforts to scale down some of that testing pressure actually do so remains to be seen.
Regardless, pressure from the corporate world for new skill sets, especially as automation and artificial intelligence render many traditional blue collar jobs obsolete, is likely to influence the policy level sooner rather than later — as has already been seen in a greater focus on adding requirements around computer science and expanding career and technical education opportunities.
And while the infusion of tech into schools over the past few years certainly has a critical role to play in preparing students for the future, educators must also ensure pedagogy remains the priority. Tech is another tool students can pull out of their toolbox to solve problems, but it isn't the be-all, end-all solution — and shouldn't be approached as such. Administrators must make sure teachers have ample professional learning opportunities to most effectively pair technology with pedagogy for maximum impact, equipping students with the ability to creatively utilize devices and applications to solve any given problem that can benefit from their use.