Is college preparing students for work in the coming world?

In an interview of Laszlo Bock by Adam Bryant, published in the New York Times, there is a great quote that I think addresses some of the concern I feel about the current educational system:

“After two or three years, your ability to perform at Google is completely unrelated to how you performed when you were in school, because the skills you required in college are very different. You’re also fundamentally a different person. You learn and grow, you think about things differently.

Another reason is that I think academic environments are artificial environments. People who succeed there are sort of finely trained, they’re conditioned to succeed in that environment. One of my own frustrations when I was in college and grad school is that you knew the professor was looking for a specific answer. You could figure that out, but it’s much more interesting to solve problems where there isn’t an obvious answer. You want people who like figuring out stuff where there is no obvious answer.” – Laszlo Bock (Bryant, 2013)

That is not to say that you can not learn practical skills in school, but if you do not understand how they apply in the world outside of academia and why you are learning those particular skills, you are only learning half of the what you need to learn.

Reference:
Bryant, A. (2013, June 19). In Head-Hunting, Big Data May Not Be Such a Big Deal. Retrieved May 29, 2015, from The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/20/business/in-head-hunting-big-data-may-not-be-such-a-big-deal.html?pagewanted=2&_r=2&

Everyday, I learn something new…

Thanks to those that have provided a comment to my recent post. However, I have set up the comments section so that I review comments before they are posted, so please be patient we me, as I was inundated with spam comments.

I will be installing a spam bot blocker later today.

In September 2013, two Oxford researchers, Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborne published an article on the Future of EmploymentThe paper is well written, but long. The math gets a little complicated and the authors have commented that some of the results may be overstated. However, even if the results are only 50% correct, it could be very significant for future careers.

Recently, NPR has provided a simple method to see how susceptible certain jobs are to automation, at the website “Will Your Job Be Done By a Machine?” 

The reason I bring this topic up in this discussion, is the impact on education. Again, how should we prepare people to be successful and happy in a world with changing and challenging career opportunities? I do not have the answer; I am just trying to determine the correct question to ask.

How do we prepare the next generation for their future?

We have been discussing the educational needs of the next generation, but that is tough to determine when it is hard to determine what types of jobs will be around in 10 years.

The following link is just one of many stories addressing the concern that many middle class jobs may soon disappear due to automation and robotics.

Has anyone found an article that does identify future career opportunities?

Jobs Automation Will Kill Next

Online learning, the future?

There are a number of free (or nearly  free) online learning sites. I have spent a lot of time on Khan Academy, and it is a great site, but is that the future of education?

There has been a great deal of discussion on MOOCs, both for and against. On this site (jeffbohler.com – Rethinking Education), I would like to enable a discusson on the future of education, the business models that will enable it, the technology and methods that will support it, and other related concerns. I have initiated this discussion with a few of my former students who have graduated recently and have similar interest and questions about the future.

Below is a link to a list of free education sites from www.refseek.com. How many have you tried? What are the good things about each site? What could be better? What is missing from these educational opportunities? Please leave a comment about your thoughts on this very important topic.

A list of Online Learning Sites