Digitalisation has completely transformed our lives. It is reshaping the world in which our students are growing up and the world they will lead as they become adults.
The demand for workers with all types of technical skills is expected to jump by 55% in the next decade, according to a report by The McKinsey Global Institute. This gaping chasm between what even our best schools are teaching, and the expected competencies of the future is what Dr. Tony Wagner of Harvard’s Change Leadership Group calls ‘The Global Achievement Gap’.
Closing this gap, and doing it quickly, means today’s education leaders must pause to rethink and redesign education. It also means we need to take bold steps to ensure our schools are empowering and equipping students with an educational experience where they can hone important skills for the future.
According to OECD’s Future of Work report, the two most important and growing skills for the future are:
● Soft skills that require students to effectively communicate, work in teams, lead, solve problems, self-organise and think critically.
● Digital skills, where students learn to operate technology in creative ways to achieve specific outcomes, and an expansive understanding of the new era of big data.
Helping students build these skills means making a seismic shift in in our schools to create stronger linkages between traditional knowledge acquisition and modern skills.
● Individual » Collaborative
● Knowledge-based » Skills-based
● Teacher-centered » Student-centered
● Learning from authorities » Learning from experience
● Limited to the classroom » Limitless – any time and any place
● Student repetition » Student creation
● Turn it in » Publish it
The frameworks education currently has in place for teaching and assessing student success – namely standardised tests and textbook standards – do not support the nuances of the skills students need to be competitive.
As educators and leaders of schools, this growing demand for students to have an expanded set of skills is impacting not only what students want from their education, but also the expectations of parents.
How can institutions make a shift to more modern, digital learning environments while honouring the proven traditions of education? How can we transition learning to help students build the skills the world is demanding?
Implement a digital portfolio initiative
Digital portfolios teach students the digital skills necessary to adapt to and thrive in the world today and bring the often-invisible soft skills to life. This means digital portfolios are not only at the foundation of student’s higher education and career pursuits, but an integral component of classroom instruction, right here and right now.
Digital portfolios support primary and secondary student and educator efforts on their quest to capture and master the digital and soft skills of the future, today. How?
While digital portfolios can make hard-to-get-your-hands-on concepts visible – like process, growth over time and soft skills – their positive effects on students are still indisputable and data-driven. Schools who faithfully implement a digital portfolio programme see a 33% increase in student completion rates and 10% increase in grades attained (International Journal of ePortfolio).
All the time, students are employing ‘invisible’ and three-dimensional skills that are hard to demonstrate and evaluate on paper. Therefore, student ability cannot be reduced to a score, but rather must be told as a story.
bulb Digital Portfolios believes this means handing students the reigns and appointing them as owners of their learning. It means adopting an alternative method for assessing student success.
Ultimately, the goal of education is to develop the hearts and minds of our students so they can have a positive, lasting impact on our communities and the world. When our world changes, our students change, and so should our means of educating them. We can no longer afford to preserve an archaic educational system that still functions much the same as it did 50 years ago – even if it used to work.
bulb’s mission is to tell a student’s whole story. Nearly one million bulbs have now been created from more than 100 countries.