Recently, Educator Competencies for Personalized, Learner-Centered Teaching from the Students at the Center Hub crossed my newsfeed. It’s a valuable resource to fuel conversations about the changing role and skill sets of teaching in a learner-centered environment. The competencies, “build on and push beyond the best existing teaching competencies and standards to capture what educators need in order to create and thrive in personalized, learner-centered systems.” I like how the framework adds value to an important conversation.
After exploring the framework and associated competencies, I wondered what leadership competencies look like in a learner-centered environment. What would be included in such a framework to “push beyond the existing [leadership] competencies and standards…”?
One new competency should be futures thinking. Do successful learner-centered leaders have a mindset for futures thinking? Does reading the signals and current trends in society, the economy and technology help create a vision for the most powerful learning environments? The idea of futures thinking as a new leadership competency is prompted for me by Amy Webb’s excellent book The Signals are Talking.
This from Webb’s book:
“If you are in any position of leadership – whether you’re the CEO of a large corporation…, a school superintendent, or the head of your household – you must strategically monitor trends and plan for the future.” (pg. 9)
While many school leaders consider themselves “visionary,” do they intentionally monitor trends, within and outside the domain of education, think critically about the applications of those trends, and use them, again intentionally, to create a desired future – to collaboratively design the vision of educational organizations? Is futures thinking a new and necessary competency? It just may be as we experience seismic shifts in society, the economy and technology.
Take a look at these three articles (and there are many more!) that provide a glimpse into the not-so-distant future we and our learners/children will inhabit. How should these developments impact the vision for change in our schools?
On a recent radio program, Bilger talked about retooling the education system in its entirety, including adding classes that are sure to transfer into the skills workers need for the jobs that will be there. He also discussed the need to retrain middle-aged workers so that they can participate in the economy, rather than be left behind. Bilger said that “projects are being developed for that.” Though he admits that many middle-aged workers are resistant to reentering the classroom, Bilger says it’s necessary. What’s more, they are looking at ways of making the classroom experience more dynamic, such as using augmented reality for retraining purposes, as well as to reinvent K-12 education. But such plans are in the seminal stages.
We are in the midst of an extraordinary period of computing platform revolution, a renaissance in artificial intelligence (AI), which is going to change the lives of billions of people around the globe. No other technology is gaining more momentum, seeing more progress — or inciting more fear — than the radical sharpening and rise of intelligent machines.
While the promise of AI has been known for years, the current pace of breakthrough is stunning. Machines are set to reach and exceed human performance on more and more tasks, thanks to advances in dedicated hardware, faster and deeper access to big data, and new sophisticated algorithms that provide the ability to learn and improve based on feedback.
AI has driven crucial progress in fields such as medicine, where it has spurred breakthroughs in disease diagnosis and the development of treatment plans. It has also opened up opportunities in transportation and manufacturing, ranging from autonomous vehicles to sensors that detect product defects imperceptible to humans.
In the very near future we won’t have the same jobs that we have today, but new jobs will be created. We must empower people with the right education and opportunities. I believe our greatest days are ahead of us, but this rests on embracing our most promising technologies — and shaping them — to lift people up and create opportunity at all levels.
Globalization and technology are accelerating both job creation and destruction. Some estimates have put the risk of automation as high as half of current jobs, while others forecast a considerably lower value of 9%. Still, all occupations will go through change: we found that on average one-third of the skillsets required to perform today’s jobs will be wholly new by 2020.
At the same time, education and training systems are not keeping pace with these shifts. Some studies suggest that 65% of children currently entering primary school will have jobs that do not yet exist and for which their education will fail to prepare them, exacerbating skills gaps and unemployment in the future. Even more urgent, underdeveloped adult training and skilling systems are unable to support learning for the currently active workforce of nearly 3 billion people.
The World Economic Forum, Singularity Hub and the KnowledgeWorks Future of Learning Forecast 4.0 are great starting places to develop competency in futures thinking. Then go read The Signals are Talking and take it to the next level!
Should we consider futures thinking a new competency for educational leadership? What if more school leaders embraced futures thinking in their practice?
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