Workforce Projections Inform Teaching Trends

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According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2018, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is quickly approaching. Over the next three years, the report projects that four technological advances will have a big impact on existing business models and practices.

“Ubiquitous high-speed mobile internet; artificial intelligence; widespread adoption of big data analytics; and cloud technology are set to dominate…as drivers positively affecting business growth.”
World Economic Forum, Future of Jobs Report 2018

Workforce Projections Blog Infographic

The report also provides a list of jobs that are set to experience growing demand as 2022 approaches, including Data Analysts and Scientist, AI and Machine Learning Specialists, New Technology Specialists, Software and Applications Developers and Analysts, Information Technology Services, User Experience and Human-Machine Interaction Designers, etc. Of the 21 new roles listed, 62% deal directly with technology.

What does this mean for the skills teachers are imparting to students? In the report, the World Economic Forum listed a set of trending skills that will be in high demand come 2022, as well as ten skills that will be declining at that time.

Looking at the rising skill set required by workers in the next 3 years, we can reverse engineer what skills – and ultimately what products – are going to be used to teach the next generation.

Thus, we see the critical importance of STEM and STEAM initiatives in schools. And the earlier students begin the journey the better. Four in five STEM college students say they decided to study STEM in high school or earlier and one in five decided in middle school or earlier, according to a study by Microsoft Corporation. The study also showed that only one in five students considered themselves “extremely well” prepared for their college STEM courses.

As digital natives, generation Z—of whom the first students are in college now—have the most opportunity to embrace the Fourth Industrial Revolution, navigating the demands for new skill sets and new job roles.

“They are the most connected, educated and sophisticated generation in history. They don’t just represent the future, they are creating it.”
– Mark McCrindle of McCrindle Research

Since distinct goals around STEM didn’t form until 2009 with President Obama’s Educate to Innovate initiative, it has been hard to measure the progress of STEM preparedness. The Educate to Innovate initiative included increasing federal investment in STEM and preparing 100,000 new STEM teachers by 2021. In 2016, a press release stated that the U.S. had passed the halfway mark in achieving the goal of preparing 100,000 new STEM teachers.

As we enter into this new age of technological innovation, educators continue to learn and grow alongside students.

What skills do you see teachers imparting to students? What products or tools are they using to create STEM/STEAM learning environments?

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