Real World Learning

As much as I dislike the term ‘Real World’, as if education is a figment of the imagination, this week saw our students in Years 7 and 10 involved in integrated learning beyond the restriction of traditional subject areas and even the school gates – in the Real World. Year 7 students have spent the week at Inveresk and around Launceston on SOC2City and Year 10 students embarked on their STEAM Program. These programs provided students with an opportunity to use what they know and the skills they have amassed in a range of new ways. It’s a chance to work with others and use complementary talents to create something ingenious and unique.

So why are the SOC2City and STEAM programs so important? In 2017 in the USA there was, for the first time ever, a decrease in the total number of unskilled jobs. People who left school early and didn’t get any qualifications were in or entering a job market that was shrinking. That’s because many unskilled jobs are being automated and performed by robots. For example, the largest area of employment of unskilled workers in 2017 in the USA was as a driver: trucks, delivery vans, taxis, Uber etc. And as we know, driverless vehicles are being trialled in countries all around the world.

Our Year 7 and 10 students will be entering the workforce anywhere between 2022 and 2030. By then the workforce landscape will have changed – there will still be many of the jobs that are present today that students may well be aspiring to but there’ll also be new jobs that are only just emerging. The type of roles that automation and artificial intelligence won’t be able to take over are the humanistic ones that involve such competencies as caring, creativity, ingenuity, design, complex problem solving and collaboration.

In these two programs students are engaged in truly inter-disciplinary multi-skilled projects that rely on them using all of these skills and coming up with truly original and creative ideas and solutions.

Students won’t be restricted to only using certain subject knowledge and skills, rather they will be, and are, encouraged to use all of their accumulated and collective wisdom. In the same way, that will very likely be the case in their future when they enter the workforce and commence their first career job – the first of many according to futurists.
In many ways, these programs have been a chance for our students to do some real ‘on the job’ training for a future we can only imagine.

Andy Müller