All too often, students believe that attentively listening to a lecture in class, doing homework, and passing an exam, is sufficient evidence that they know the subject matter. That may be true with subjects that emphasize memorizing/recalling material, but the jobs of the future won’t be like that. Robots can memorize rules and apply algorithms faster and more reliably that humans. To really succeed in the workforce of the future you need robot-proof skills like creativity, problem solving, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication.
Today, technology is producing machines that utilize Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Truly, these are wonders of our modern age. But, many human jobs are at risk of being replaced by these machines that, from the outside, appear to be able to ‘think.’
The human brain has talents that machines can’t match. Those talents aren’t based on memorizing facts – they are the combination of insight, intuition, experience and creativity. Students who have been trained to solve problems, persist past frustration to achieve goals, embrace flexibility, imagine a world that ‘can be’ rather than simply ‘what is’ will ALWAYS outperform machines. Those students will always be high value/high performance members of teams and secure a place for themselves in the economy of the future.
The question is: How do students acquire these ‘robot-proof’ skills? Our answer is simple: make things!
It will come as no surprise to educators that student engagement with traditional pedagogy is low. We are not ‘turning on’ the vast potential of the brains of students with dry lectures and stale lessons plans. Humans have evolved to learn best when their hands are involved. WE SAY: USE THEM IN SCHOOL!
Making something combines the head and the hands to solve problems. The solutions to many problems are innovations that cannot be scripted or anticipated. The real world provides uncompromising feedback when it comes to making things. A maker mindset engages students to collaborate, articulate, imaginate and create solutions that can’t be programmed into a machine . . . and which have the biggest impact on student attainment.
Making at this level is not just tinkering – it’s thinkering! Every employer in high demand/high wage career areas desire workers who can think on their feet and work with their hands.
Who will fix the robots? Setup and maintain the complex machinery and processes that dominate the modern world? Design, develop and construct the economy of the future?
Makers! That’s who!
Kim Brand is a co-founder of 1st Maker Space, LLC and currently leads their Technology Support Team. 1st Maker Space Designs, Develops and Sustains Educational and Community Makerspaces throughout Indiana. They provide the equipment, training, professional development and services that have become increasingly important to innovative K12 schools, libraries and community centers. Learn more on their website and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.