As a parent of two school going children, I get a first-hand glimpse at what is being taught in school these days, and continuously marvel at how much schooling has changed since my pinafore-wearing, chalk-and-blackboard days.
For starters, I recall my pleasant surprise to see a “magic” whiteboard in my son’s KG class. Even at age 3-4, the children were exposed to electronic whiteboards and applications they could operate by touch.
Over the seven years since then, the school has replaced hardcopy newsletters first with emailed PDFs, then onto a portal, including self service for the kids (homework) and the parents (accounts, events etc). Progressive, expected even in this day of leveraging the web et al for keeping parents, teachers and kids connected.
But this is not all. My kids are learning about topics I never previously associated with pre-teen schooling.
Mind maps: the first time I even heard about mind maps I was a few years into my career, and thought it was a neat way of capturing notes and brainstorming ideas. I’ve used various mind mapping tools, mostly in the last five years or so, usually at the beginning of a project or when I can’t quite get clarity in an intuitive way.
My kids’ school teaches mind mapping at age 10.
Project management: Before the birth of PMP as an actual certification, we all did project management. Projects got created. They got done. I recall vague lessons in college about prioritizing, critical path and Gantt charts.
My kids’ were taught the basics of planning and project management at age 9, starting with planning the group writing of a mini-novel. In the later classes (at the ripe age of 11), they are handed a planner with instructions on how to best plan their “deliverables”. Planners are inspected and points given/deducted on how up-to-date their plans are.
Risk management: this was the latest shocker, but in a good way of course. My daughter’s class is learning about risk assessment and its consequent management. She speaks confidently of pros and cons of taking calculated risks, and the rationale behind making decisions where an element of risk is involvement. The school thoughtfully sent a consent form home ahead of tackling this particular skillset, and I must say I was impressed.
It seems this new generation, having dispensed with the tediousness of library and book based research, is focusing on managing the massive amounts of information that is available to them at a very early age, and learning the skills to navigate an increasingly complex, knowledge-based economy.
If I could just get such new generation to apply their newly gained skills to get dressed in time for school without the incentive of screen time ….