Tuesday, October 5, 2010

7 Essential Skills You Didn't Learn in College

7 Essential Skills You Didn't Learn in College

Wired Magazine recently published a fascinating feature about potential classes for digital-age students.

"It's the 21st century. Knowing how to read a novel, craft and essay, and derive a slope of a tangent isn't enough anymore," the article begins. Notice first, this article isn't dismissing traditional skills that will continue to be important for the next few generations. Despite the break-neck speeds by which technology is changing the art of communication, reading, writing, and mathematics will remain important skills. However, new skills such as knowing, "how to swim through the data deluge, optimize your prose for Twitter, and expose statistics that lie," will soon join the traditional "R's" as essential for tomorrow/today's workplace.

Imagined courses at Wired University include the following:

Statistical Literacy: "We are now 53 percent more likely than our parents to trust polls of dubious merit. (that figure is totally made up. See?)" quips this class prospectus.

Post-State Diplomacy: In a world where nation-states must negotiate with non-state agencies, terrorist organizations and multi-national corporations who utilize the internet for recruitment and propagation of their agendas, national governments will need to learn how to create and share a counter narrative promoting the values and interest of their state while encouraging these non-state to engage in peaceful dialogue to resolve conflict.

Remix Culture: the Digital Generation is just as engrossed with remixed and mashed-up forms of art as they are in creating new forms of art. While using past influences are noting new, the Flintstones are simply the Honeymooners drawn in an imaginary pre-historic world, the Dig-Gen are more overt in using pre-exisiting film, music and text to share new ideas and new interpretations of old ideas.

Applied Cognition: Digital Age children are learning in ways vastly different than Boomers or Gen-X'ers did. Learning how the brain works will offer insight to both teachers of the next generation who want to be for effective with their students' learning, and with Dig-Gen'ers themselves who want to be more effective in managing their own learning.

Writing for New Forms: How can students craft a effective message in 140 characters for Twitter, an essay for their blog, or an expanded idea for their e-book? How will they mix media, text, links, images, music, or film for their enhanced e-book or website?

Waste Studies: Not only are oil, electricity, and consumer products finite resources and problematic waste, but so is our time and intellectual power. Learning how to manage our waste will make us "smarter consumers, investors, and conservers."

Domestic Tech: "We lost touch with the act of making, repairing, and upgrading physical objects," and our throw-away society is rapidly becoming untenable.

What do you think? Are these imagined classes going to be important for the next generation's course of study? Are there classes that Wired didn't imagine that should become a part of the next generation's course catalogue?

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