History is evidence that the future is full of surprises. For what will exist in the future, space cars might be a little far-fetched but flying and driverless ones, not so much. School buildings may not cease to exist but Augmented/Virtual Reality will be integrated with the education system. We might not be able to prevent all the upcoming viruses, but Nanorobotics would start to come to our rescue in destroying cancer-affected cells.
Technology is going to be at the heart of the drastic change coming our way in the future, driven by Gen Alpha, the present kids, with Machine learning and automation ruling almost every domain of work. If not anything else, then at least this should get us thinking about the burning question: What to teach today’s kids to prepare them for the future?
Let’s try to find the answer:
Are our kids learning in sync with evolving times?
In the current education system, our kids are learning languages, mathematics, and science. An average kid spends 70 to 100% of their time learning these subjects in school and at home. Some of them get a chance to work in Arts, sports and other disciplines which are sadly known as “extracurricular activities”.
The output of these learnings is perfect for roles like factory workers, clerks, administrative assistants, doctors, and engineers that existed in the world before digitization. Today and going forward (say in 2050), will these profiles still be relevant?
Certainly not. As we can see from history, robots have already replaced millions of Call center jobs in the form of ChatBots, ATMs [replaced cashiers], vending machines [replaced vendors] and pick and place robots [replaced factory workers]. If we dive a little deeper, it can be observed that not the job, but the skills were adapted by the robots thus, the replacement.
Let’s now broadly categorize skills.
- Technical skills or hard skills, which enable a human to do a specific job
- Soft skills, which enable a human to better adapt and perform in whatever job they are into.
Soft Skills, unlike hard skills, are not easily replaceable, especially by machines.
These skills cannot be taught as easily as any Hard Skills. They are learned through experiences. They become part of the ‘natural behavior’ through leveraging the relevant opportunities provided. Even as per the McKinsey’s & LinkedIn’s research report, today Soft Skills like Problem Solving, Critical Thinking, Creativity, Communication, Adaptability, Collaboration, Emotional Intelligence, and Persuasion are quite in demand!
So what do we prioritise? empowering kids with future technologies or soft skills?
None! We wouldn’t have to prioritize either when our kid can learn both simultaneously! That’s the beauty of soft skills, it cannot be simply taught, it is to be triggered.
We at Havi, after connecting with hundreds of children, have identified the following Top 5 Skills that can and should be nurtured in kids while we empower them with the technologies of the future:
Let us see why are they correlated to technological advancement and how are they getting nurtured with hard skills –
A creative kid doesn’t just learn what is being taught. He finds a way to explore. When a kid looks at something, she isn’t just looking at the ‘thing’ but instead is imagining various possibilities that can be done with it. That is creativity. The ability to think and create.
This creation can be for things, for code, product, process, and services. Our children are at the right age to encourage creative thinking. A creative kid will wonder why do I sit at the same school every day, why can’t there be snow, desert, hilltop, or valleys around? Why can’t there be seven different environments for all days of the week?
A creative kid will explore ways of taking her imagination forward and create something wonderful.
Communication isn’t all about languages! In the battle of what we say v/s how we say, the latter wins every time. Even more important is body language, which includes our expressions, body movements, etc. As per Professor Albert Mehrabian, 93% of our communication takes place nonverbally which is ‘Tone of Voice’ (38%) and Body Language (55%).
Thus, we need to make our kids conscious about how games, applications, websites, social media, etc. are communicating with us through sound effects, graphics, videos, and photos.
It is only through effective communication, will our kids be able to explain their ideas to the world and get them executed.
The very first word that crosses our minds when we hear ‘Curiosity’ is Newton. While that’s a great example for adults, what could be more exciting to quote for kids is the possibility of the creation of applications and games like WhatsApp, Instagram, Ludo King, etc.
These are all results of curious minds. The founders were curious to find ways to build solutions that could do a lot more than just ‘stay in touch.
The SMS culture was replaced by WhatsApp, the image-only culture was used by Instagram, the offline-to-online shift of a classic game was popularized by Ludo King, all because of curiosity.
Whatever profession our kids choose; we know that they are not going to face it alone. No matter what they choose to become, they are going to be a part of a team. They are going to have to collaborate with others. Only because we cannot survive in an independent world.
The world and the world beings are interdependent and that’s how they are supposed to be. For an interdependent world to co-exist successfully, our children need to learn to collaborate.
Execution is just like that last plunge without which no knowledge is useful. Because ultimately, what we are all doing is executing what we know. If our kids are not getting the opportunity to execute what they are learning on a day-to-day basis, we cannot consider their learning complete.
Ensuring our children not only learn hard skills but also experience and improve their soft skills at this age is our best bet to make them feel they were “born” with it. Because 10-20 years down the line, once they don’t find the ‘communication gap’ or ‘creativity gap’ in them, which most of the professionals are void of in today’s time, it is going to be because of internalizing the practices and processes that they went through in their childhood, which is now.
How prepared are we to prepare our kids?
Irrespective of what field they choose to pursue; our persuasion for soft skills
must never stop. Only if, now their conscious learning of these important skills continues, will these skills get internalized and become a part of their ‘nature’ once they grow up.
That’s why we at Havi bring it all together. We ensure that the kids enjoy the experience of understanding technology by “making it”. Kids learn STEAM [Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics] from Havi Elements – DIY Robotics starter kit. Most importantly, along with learning the technical side with Havi, subconsciously and consciously, kids also become more Creative, Communicative, Curious, Collaborative, and Executive.